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10~The very best one can achieve will be a heroic life. Author:Cheng Nai-Ming
11~Finding a place for hosting for a better obstinacy  Author:Cheng Nai-Ming
12~Creating vivid imagination of freedom Author:Cheng Nai-Ming

10~ There is no a happy life. The very best one can achieve will be a heroic life.  

About Ping-Cheng Liang’s  Four Seasons      

-  鄭乃銘  CANS 09/2009

Taiwan Contemporary Art IVCansART News

No.56  Sept/2009

Cheng Nai-Ming    

1.Ping-Cheng Liang is a heroof life after all.

1~However, what this hero aspires after is neither wealth nor a vast territory but being the master of his own world. Rather than hardships of drifting and homelessness experienced, the most precious thing in one’s life would be keeping theoriginal aspiration unchanged after such hardshipsand strive without cease to be yourself. Ahero like this would radiate broad-mindedness from the innermost.

Thebeginning of prose poem ofXin Qiji’s “Melody of Forever in Happiness” reads“Overlooking the eternal presence of rivers and mountains,never discovered again is the heroism once seen in Emperor Sun Quan. Those waterside dancing halls, singing podiums and places of romantic interest have long been destroyed in storms,”and a clear exposition of this would be evenif “back in the days of armored horses and metal halberds, what imposing was their vigor that could prance thousands of miles like a tiger,”a hero is unable to bring the wheel of time to a stop but bound to become advanced in years with tracks and traces left behind to be battered by the wind and the rain. However, although there exist regrets and painful recollections in Xin's passages, nothing seems to be feeling sorry for himself. After the distinguished and admirable past was washed away by the wind and the rain, one would fully understand the confidence and ease Su Shi depicted in his prose poem “Pacified Storm,”“Looking back over the bleak passage survivedand the return in timeshall not be affected by windswept rain or shine.”Such a state of mind will inevitably make me think ofPing-Cheng Liang, the person himself as well as the context crated by his artworks.


bat     2007     camphor wood       270x90x55cm

2.When talking about Ping-Cheng Liang's art, we must talk about the person himself.​

2~Liang tends to flee from home! And such two run-aways happened to mark the start of the peaks in his life later on.Bornin Pingtung, Taiwan in 1958, the artist was found talented in art in his childhood and began to receive focused training under the instruction of a Taiwanese senior watercolor painter HeWun-Ci. Based on Liang’s recollection, though talented in art; however, his scholastic records of other courses were poor. After graduation from Dao Ming Junior High School in 1973, he failed the entrance exam to high school as a matter of course. He went to a cram school preparing for a second trial to the exam in the following year. But the problem was that he spent more time lingering out here and there than staying in the cram school.“I learned all sorts of bad habits during that period,” said Liang. To him, the outside world was indeed more attractive than textbooks. To the surprise of many, he fled from home. After running away for seven days, Liang was found by his mother in Cishan, Kaohsiung County. Liang returned, became well-behaved and finally was admitted to Department of Advertising Design, Kaohsiung Vocational High School of Commerce after taking the exam. Liang failed the entrance exam to university after graduation from high school and decided to become a conscript and do military service. After his discharge from the army, Liang passed an exam and was admitted to Fine Arts Department of Chinese Culture University.

“I don't know how to describe the thoughts in my mind at that time. After entering college, I suddenly had a strong desire to study. Perhaps, it was because of many teachersin our department, such asJun T. Lai (Lai Chunchun), Guo Dawei, and Rita Chang (Chang Yuanqian) were young and just finished their studies to begin the teaching career. I feel that it was those teachers who helped to open a door for me, a door to art.”said Liang.In1982, Liang and several fellow students founded an artist group “Stupid Bird.” In the following year when he was a sophomore, Liang won the 8th Young Artist Award organized by LionArt Monthly, a well-known art magazine in Taiwan. After his graduation in 1985, he taught at Fu-Hsin Trade and Arts School. To educate and train talents wasreally an attractive job to him butthe system made him hesitate while hestill had a deep passion for artistic creation. Such mindset kept encouraging him to travel abroad. In 1989, Liang set out on a study tour to Studio Art Program at New York University. He handled skill subjects at ease but the language and academic subjects became thorny problems again.As a result, according to Liang,the life outside the classroom beckoned him strongly and he would rather spend time outside the school to experience aesthetics of everyday life which was far more inviting than classroom rules.

During 1991 to 1997, Liang was back in Taiwan taking up ordinary jobs in interior design and architectural planning as his profession and achieved tremendous success. Unfortunately, hit hard by recession, his business turned sour and Liang began to suffer both physical and mental pains. Liang gave a sigh and said, “The most unbearable would be to face those who had helped me. Such qualmswere really painful and made me extremely jittery.” Liang sent himself into exile. His second running away from home was during this period.Wandering from one place to another,Liangeven spent the night in parks. This time the one who “relieved” him was his wife, a beautiful woman with wisdom. His wife never gave him up and finally discovered him in high mountains after going alone through untold hardships.Such profound love was the key to the turning point of Liang’s transition.


Embryo Square Chair     2007     beech wood     45x45x36cm

3~​I am pretty much enchanted with his “Whisper in Forest”Series created during 2006 to 2008.Froma general point of view,creations in this series are inspired by natural creatures. To be honest, as a wood sculpture creator “trained”in Sanyi, to carve birds, objects, figuresor plantswould be by no means difficult.What Ipraise the mostwould be Liang’s ability to set aside traditional customary practices of treating such subject matters. Even the style of a commercial artist from the axe marks was removedto allow representations of artworks tobe back to the artistic sect of visual lines and exhibitcharacteristics of line letting-out and drawing-in of ink-washingpainting butwith an architecture themed as surrealistic fantasized beasts. Strictlyspeaking,artworksinthis series are of greater wood heavinessthan those in the “Book & Illegible Book”Series.However, they seem to be more rhythmic among the ups and downs of lines.In particular, with the exquisite sculptureskills Liang displayed, charm and grace of leaf veins and cuddled-up pupae are depicted.Should this part be over-treated, customary slipperiness in Sanyi wood sculpture will be resumed. The approach Liang adopted is to enliven and convey through skills the fineness of emotion rather than carve the subject in a precise and sophisticated manner.I think that although this is not the flagship series chosen by the gallery to promote, these simple creationsmanifest Lian’s interpretation ability and rich artistic emotion of the artist. I believeamong all Liang’s artworksthis should bea subject that allow the imagination to extend infinitely.

In contrast to fantasy and imagination in the “Whisper in Forest”Series, the “Book & Illegible Book”Series and the “Utensil & Anti-Utensil” Serieslookmore concrete and narrative. From a perspective of the overall creative context, it seems to me that creationsin these two series,the subject of “Utensil & Anti-Utensil,” in particular, show signs of design that Liang excels in. Although Liang has addedintegration of different materials into his creations and deliberately broken the established images of existing utensils,once the standardized mental picture of a utensil is broken,deconstruction of shapes or practical functions with an ambiguously resisting yet welcoming attitudewill not be enough.The concept of “object” in the essence connotation of utensilsshall first be removed followed by endowing with the abstract philosophy of “deity.” Liang is now in the first stage, but I personally feel that he has not yet entered the second stage. This is just like Chinese gardens with broadness and subtlety of the landscape incorporated while Japanese gardens with naturalismdrawn into graveldisplays. Both have dealt the issue of preserving formswhileabstract philosophy of the nature is addressed as well. I hope Liang, during his art creation, shallmake choices of his own when and how to keep or discard “obstinacy.”Art creationsare inevitably to show self-characteristics of the artists. However, the artist shall not be bound by self but exhibit broad-mindedness in the creations. It takes wisdom rather than strength to decide when to keep and when to discard the self.

Inregard to the “Book & Illegible Book”Series,I would like to analyze it from a different angle. Although storytelling is a bit over-manifested in this series,Liang has given much more of his mind to this subject when compared with other artworks. Since his childhood Liang has not achieved much success in studying. Knowledge is by all means what Liang has been aspiring after, but such aspiration is more of a process of climbing hills and mountains. Despite this, the knowledge Liang acquired from social experiences and interpersonal communications has become good grounds for him to rely on. When tangible books are considered to be intangible wealth of knowledge, one may see the accumulation of time and realize that knowledge is not easily obtainable. This would be one of the implicit spiritual connotations Liang would like to convey through this subject.I have two personal insights after “reading”the “Book & Illegible Book”Series, loneliness and wandering, with time as a space to contain these two. What Liang has presented in this subject include books and pieces of paper, but a close look may reveal that they are more of dried leaves in the nature, browned as if scorched by the passing of time. Liang treated these book pages to make them look like transparent cicada wings. At this moment, time becomes a transparent wing and one can see the past loneliness and have a glimpse of agitation and perplexity in the future. I notice that in the subject of “Book & Illegible Book,” Liang always added mild worries to it. When one has become knowledgeable, one may have higher standardsfor instinctive moral sense. For Liang, his life was once glamorous but became dreary shortly afterwards, and he might have sufferedmore from the wandering of his state of mind than physical injuries and hardships. ThoughLiang can talk about his stories in a relaxed manner now, behind the passing of time, the past vicissitudes have become tattoos on his body! One may regard books as ladders of time, water loss, yellowing, falling and wandering of life,and perhapswhat he has been striving forwould be the clarity and transparency to let go his hold of himself.

4~Liang’s“Mask”Series during 2007 to 2008 are still based on the natural formsof plants, cocoons and fruit cores while horns and wings in the masks mainly come from germinating plants in the real world, or new life forms out of metamorphosis of existing creatures. Masks, of course, can be regarded as a personal farewell bid to old days,aspirations for new generation, and, of course, a disguise of one’s genuine innermost world. Liang has been livinga life of a hermit in mountains and his creations are completely based on transformation of the natural world. However, what he depicts are actually his mind, his memories, his redemption and his aspirations while the nature, at best, is a platform for his representation.

When explainingboring and digging-out in his wood sculpture, Liang said, “Upon seeing such a heavy piece of wood, I become very unhappy. I dig it, bore it through and make it lighter, and aesthetic feeling appears.”Based on his statement, this is gravity release. But I would put it in another way. In my opinion, such a repetitive creative language comprising physical labor and concentrate attention, is redemption of his obstinacy.Digging-out means reducing weight and boring refers to tolerance. Schopenhauer Arthur (1788-1860) once said, “There is no a happy life. The very best one can achieve will be a heroic life.” Rain or shine in a life may be regarded as accidental, but it is actually inevitable. ForLiang, I think, his heroic life is that his wife never giveshim up or feels disappointed with him. At the timehis wife retrievedhimfrom his run-away, his heroiclife began to come into being slowly while his happiness started at the time when he was able to make creations forhimself.

To me, an artist who can live and create with all his heart is a blessed person.


Right Tai Chi      2006      camphor wood      59x56x36cm

5~Even with a calm facial expression, Liang could not conceal disconsolation and being hard on himself when recollecting the past.He told me that he has a good friend in Kaohsiung andduring his exile, he once came to Kaohsiung and called that friend. The friend was in an important school meeting. Thrilled to hear Liang's voice,the friend said, “Where are you? Stay where you are and wait for me. I’ll come to see you in 20 minutes.” When they met, the friend took out some money and said, “This is my proctor fee in the morning. Here’s 2,000 for you and I’ll keep 1,000.” Liang became speechless instantly! The friend was also one of his close relatives who had sponsored him. Even thoughthe friend’s promotion opportunitiesin career might have been spoiled by Liang,the friend never complainedand did not hesitate to share with Liang the funds on hand.

Home and school education never taught what friendship was, but rightat themost dismal moment, Liang felt the depth of friendship, and it was the first time he learned that dismal did not necessarily mean desolate. “Today, to recollect those daysin the past, I’m sincerely grateful for experiencingsuch failures.I used to be selfish, narcissistic, and striving only for myself. I did not know how to love others. But the sudden failureswere so painful that I didn't even have the leftover strength to yell. The reason for self-exile was, after all, inability to face pangs of remorse and I was still thinking of myself. Difficultiesweretangiblesetbacks while lessons learned by such reverses were intangible. It was at that point I found out the happiness that had long been ignored by mewas not gone with the changes. It was a blessing to me though I never prayedfor. I have started to change completely my attitudes toward things and people around me because I suddenly realized that my ‘obstinacy’ in the past was too great.”Liang, though failed in business, with the consent and support from his wife, finally had his long-cherished wish to move to Sanyirealized.All the outside troubles at this junctureturned to be profuse motivity for his art creations. At last he could feel free to sow the seeds of his dreams in the piece of dream land that he is most familiar with.

Liang stayed in Sanyi for 10 years. Though withwood fragrance and woodcarving sounds fluttering in the air, Sanyi is not a place that would nurture creativity but a cradlefor skills and an area where people can easily be indulged in success achieved through skills. Liang's aspirations for art creation would not beeasily accomplished in such a place and this would be the reason that caused his unhappiness unknown to others.Having beenstrongly attached to sculpture, Liang never thought of other possibilities. However, what Liang was not aware of wasthat something would lead to a new transition to hislife has been waiting for him in the corner.

Foundations of Liang's aesthetic preparatory training include his skills in watercolor painting and advertising design plus experience in interior design and architectural planning, which allow his watercolor artworks to exhibit strong design intentions. Based on my personal observation, Liang’s creations during the Sanyi period are rich in such flavor thanks to these foundations.In 2001, Liang started to combinewoodcarving with lamps to produce many utensil-like carving installations. Creations during this period can only be said with a bit fun. When compared with traditional Sanyi woodcarving products, Liang’s works are with a little more deliberation, but full of annoying self-assumedinfallibility.During this period of his creations,each of theready-made light and the wood sculpture stands aloneon its own showing lack of mutual integration.

In 2002, Liang launched the“Flying”Series, in which, the issue of “weight-reducing” wasaddressed. Volume and heaviness have always been issues in the sculpture art and how to show off skills without heaviness in visual perception will challenge artist’s material manipulation and skill exercising. In the “Flying”Series,Liang depicts with wood the wavering of plants he perceives in the nature and digging-out was the method he usesfor weight-reducing and alleviation of wood heaviness. Such a skill in artistic language has become one of the main features of Liang's art. I noticed that in this series of creations, Liang has revealed more about what he actually thought in his mind. With thorns exhibited in his artworks, Liang has disclosed the inharmony in his interpersonal relationships tothe society while his restless aspirations for flyingcould also be seen despite being difficult to deal with. Loneliness was obviously the portrayal of his state of mind at that time. However, in creations during this period, artist's extraordinary attempts as well as uncompromising creation essence uninhibited by the environment were no longer hidden. Starting 2005, Liang has become more prominent through his artworks in “Illegible Book” Seriesand “Utensil & Anti-Utensil” Series.In 2006, the “Book & Illegible Book”Series has entered a completely purer and clearer level, and his unique artistic language has also become more mature. Strictlyspeaking, the first year of Liang’s art shall be considered starting from this time. In 2007, Victor Ou (Ou Xianzheng), founder and owner of Taipei InSian Gallery and an important judge of talent in Liang’s artistic life, visited Liang in Sanyi. Impressed by Liang’s artworks, Ou suggested he move to Taipei. About fifteen days after this meeting, Liang’s whole family settled down in Taipei. With the shift of his base for life and art creation,Liang has established cooperative relationship with the gallery. Compared with other artists who were still in uncomprehended and ambiguous relations with galleries, such a relationship has allowed the seedsLiang sowedon his artistic dream landto germinate.

11~ Finding a place for hosting for a better obstinacy​ About Liang Ping-Cheng’s Art

CansART News No.76  May/2011

by Cheng Nai-Ming

Ping-Cheng Liang Solo Exhibition   InSian Gallery

If summer would return to the mountain and if God allows us to meet once again, so let the fern leaves become green. Green again to let the stream flow and years be like jade again. At that time nothing has yet happened, no sign is yet implied for anything. The remote early morning is a less inked sketch. You merge from the dark gray crowd casting on me a timid smile. If I had known that I couldn’t forget you, I would have been more careful and have tried my best to carve that old summer day, deeply and slowly carving out a sophisticated and exquisite copperplate. Every nick would have been cherished, if I had known that I couldn’t forget it all my life.Etching by Xi Murong, 1978

1. For six years, or 2,100+ days, this man has always been loyal to his decision.

1~Maybe this exhibition might have taken place at an earlier time. However, the Gallery has a high expectation of Liang Ping-Cheng and feels that he will be better than better. This explains why the exhibition has been planned and prepared prudently without an exhibition period fixed in the first place. After Lichun, February 4, the beginning of spring in East Asian cultures, the Gallery advised him: It is the time. Please come and show your exhibits. This may sound easy, simple and plain, but this man has been waiting for it for 2,190 days, or as long as he lives, to be true to his heart. Just to have his dreams realized.

During the past six years, legendary artworks that Liang has completed with his burins are by no means merely what we see here in the well-lit exhibition hall. A whiff of indescribable commotion can be felt among the carefully selected exhibits displayed in arrangements with interesting charm, and such commotion seems to have confirmed once again Liang’s less explored inner personality. Once inside the exhibition hall, with eyes taking in legends created by Liang, one may unwittingly think of the “Etching,” a Chinese free verse, written by Xi Murong years ago. The obstinacy depicted in Xi’s verse is indeed similar to Liang’s attitude towards art, capricious yet bigoted, resolute but glancing behind, with tenderness in his heart of hearts longing for comfort and unwillingly blunt white feather. Existing exclusively in the innermost, such commotion is also one of the many messages revealed in Liang’s tremendous solo exhibition this time.

Alum precipitates contaminants while burins depict all the days passed

I asked Liang, “I’ve been wondering whether the days you experienced in the past have contributed the most to your art?” He gave a straightforward answer, “Definitely. Though I’ve never admitted it to others, what I’ve gone through, to certain psychological extent, has daunted me to get along with other people. It would be difficult to give explicit explanation of such fear from my heart. It seems to be kind of uneasiness of deep fear to come into contact with others. That was why I felt rejoiced when I got my wife's support to go to Sanyi and concentrated on the wood sculpture that I loved. I was grateful that it was the wood I would be face to face with rather than the people as in the past.” What Liang has said can be verified by artworks in the “Mask” Series exhibited this time. When Liang first thought of depicting masks in his creations, the search for reference material was tiring and demanding. The various mask patterns he reviewed during that period were just overwhelming. But the more he perused, the more depressed he became.

All the masks with different purposes, stories and facial expressions in front of him looked as if disguises to obscure the true innermost self so that people wearing a mask would be able to put before the public the appearance they chose. Such masks were utterly not what he wanted. It was because Liang discovered that the subject he wanted to present, strictly speaking, was not masks to be worn in specific events as defined by the traditional society. To Liang, what he really cared about was man’s real form or appearance. However, the real form or appearance in Buddhism refers to nullity or formless. Such a concept was wonderfully interpreted by Liang in his “Mask” Series. In artworks of this series, boring-through approach was employed in most of the masks he dealt with except for one in which digging-out was used. With either methods used, depiction of facial features and emotional state on this small wood block was completely ignored to present a delicately pruned bare surface with a slightly thick layer of gold lacquer applied making it attractive to viewers’ eyes by breaking away from a mono color scheme. However, in terms of Liang’s representations of the “Mask” Series, I would like to indicate a few points worth pondering about. On the one hand, he adopted the formlessness-being-the-real-form approach when treating the face; on the other hand, when depicting the countenance, he did not deliberately make any reference to specific life forms but added wings to them. As Liang put it, “I like to add wings very much. For me, wings stand for infinite imagination.” Based on Liang’s statement, wings represent extensions of different imaginations, but a closer look at the way Liang treated the wings shows that the wings in Liang’s creations are not open but folded, which reveals that extremely conflicting contradictions may exist all the way when Liang deals with psyche and mental folding. For one thing, he longs for wings to fly high with and evade certain impacts; for another, he tidies up the wings carefully, which seems to silently disclose his worries of being trapped by real life plus perplexities yet to let go.

Allow me to elucidate it further. For one thing, stimulated by life experiences, Liang has had hesitating psychological distance from people, in particular, those with certain social roles. Since these people tend to wear masks, the lack of real form and appearance would arouse misgivings. When he transforms such psychological thought into art representations, although forms and appearances are restored to originals to realize true mind and to see true self by completely removing roles of social masks, Liang still has commotion in his mind aspiring for being able to fly away at any time. Now that formlessness is in essence the release from one’s innermost, or being impediment-free, why should there be a pair of wings for escape? Further deliberation makes me to think that the approach of giving up the five sense organs, seven passions and six sensory pleasures which portray life forms to present a formless perspective as clear as a mirror while folded wings are also there getting ready for flight. All such more or less hint at struggles, fights and confrontations in Liang’s mind. The implicit information contained in the artworks particularly allows us to detect the artist’s attempts and efforts to put emotions to his tranquil innermost. It always seems to me that when creating this series Liang duly exercised exquisite self-reflection and self-examination to deal with the contradiction complex in his innermost but not to an exaggerated extent, exhibiting a psyche snapshot very much to the point and elevating the series to a level worth rumination.

2. Books bound in a flurried manner turned out to be mosses on youth

​2~Traces of the commotion in Liang’s innermost hidden behind the passing years have been best manifested in his “Book & Illegible Book” Series. In his wood sculpture creation, Liang has never yielded himself to the confinement set by concepts of realism when depicting the subjects. Liang has strived for form deconstruction in both “Book & Illegible Book” and “Utensil & Anti-Utensil” Series, and such an intention to ease restrictions on forms has allowed creative representations of more freedom. But breaking away from reification in realism does not mean to practice “laissez-faire” in art creation. On the contrary, I have noticed from Liang’s sculptural artworks an access he took from real objects to accomplish deconstruction of forms with his personal interpretation of such objects taken in by eyes. Once the frame is removed, embodiment of his idea to shapes and practical functions of the subjects would become possible, and thus unique sculptural art language of his own can be presented. Among all Liang’s creations, artworks in the “Book & Illegible Book” Series can be considered the ones best allow viewers to first appreciate with their sense of vision followed by hearing the minute rustling sounds flapped about by the wind with bated breath. Such satisfaction to the sense of vision and hearing have been fully manifested particularly by this series.


eagle     2006     camphor wood      85x30x60cm

3~Liang knows it very well that it would be difficult to make the artworks thin and transparent with the medium he has chosen because of inherent restrictions by weight and color sensation of wood. This explains why Liang depicts books taking forms of open-book leaves. Lift-up book leaves not only take away the heaviness but bring in better readability to the vision.

In Liang’s artworks of “Book & Illegible Book” Series, there exist serious themes worth further discussion. Firstly, as a nature-loving artist, Liang, no matter in Sanyi in the past or currently in northern Taiwan, has always established his workplace close to nature, lending him opportunities to grow the habit of learning from the natural world. To Liang, nature is like an opened-up book which treats the multitudes impartially but takes an inactive role. In other words, the multitudes, in particular those with self-consciousness, shall look at the book leaves and meditate on their own. Based on life experience to express his thoughts and emotions, Liang has found an unusual but appropriate cut-in for these creations. Secondly, the material of book leaves comes from trees. Trees, after chemical transformation that changes the nature thereof, continue to serve the multitudes in a different form of life. The key lies in that it is knowledge brought about to humans by such changes making trees to become the largest knowledge platform. Actuality and spiritual deepening linked up with all the above and would be something of interest.

When working on workpieces of this series, Liang skillfully manipulates color and luster of wood to create a classical atmosphere for the artworks to be presented in front of viewers. It seems to be a giant book rendered by nature to the multitudes, passing down from early generations, with yellowing leaves and creased corners, unlike those in an unread book, firm, fresh and crisp. Books from nature brought to us by Liang at the moment are like the ones in the ancient time, bound together leaf by leaf, old and beaten by temperatures and humidity from the environment and hand perspiration when flipping through plus reading notes from various readers. Closely interlocked and inseparable with one another, what these books have experienced makes it difficult to resume the books to their original neat and fresh state. However, perhaps traces left by time and the multitudes would contrarily highlight the vicissitudes of life and undeprivable self-esteem.

To ponder it further, one may discover that it is the annual ring that we use to determine the age of a tree while a tree shall go through years of weather before becoming the material for papermaking. Isn’t it the same as what it takes for the multitudes to accumulate knowledge? It also takes time to accomplish. In selecting material for wood sculpture, Liang not only chooses what to be used for art creation but spends efforts in exploring possibilities for infinite imagination. Maybe it is such efforts that allow him to go beyond the art in his wood sculpture and make known his attitudes towards the material used as well as communication conveyed by the material, which creates more space for dialogues. Had he not experienced significant ups and downs in his life, Liang would not have learned to hold a humble and restraining state of mind in front of nature and would not have sensitivity to feel the infinity of life.


meet      2006      Stainless steel      84x36x78&59x36x56

3. Vicissitudes passed may become retrospect

4~In elaborating his artistic context, Liang has always maintained independent of traditional stereotyped interpretation of wood sculpture art. He has tried to convey his concept through his sculpture (in both woodcarving and rolled-over stainless steel) art. In creations of “Utensil & Anti-Utensil” Series, utensils are no longer in their traditional real forms, while the representation of “living beings” by the forms of objects is by no means reckless. When selecting subjects to portray, Liang tends to find something expandable or imaginable in nature or day-to-day lives, perhaps based on seeds of a plant or a real-life social phenomenon from his observation. Once inspired, Liang will first let go the form of the subject, a “letting-out” process, followed by manifestation of poise and charm through “drawing-in.”

The approach adopted by Liang in shaping of “Utensil & Anti-Utensil” Series is to explore the spirit of impermanence and metamorphose, which, in fact, is a spirit running through all his creations. I am personally fond of the way through which Liang treats these creations. After transformation of the subject, the principle of “void” has been employed for shaping appeal, because the “void” breaks the heaviness of wood and allows the sense of sight of possibilities of penetration and connection.

For example, in artworks of “Platinum Triangle Fertile Land” and “Fe-Po,” one may discover how Liang removes heaviness from the wood. The former looks like a piece of roasted marshmallow with a stretched form that attracts one’s eyesight instantly, while the latter looks like a mythological beast letting out fangs and claws. Both work to the best of his ability of interpreting the materials. Furthermore, Liang has brought “Utensil & Anti-Utensil” Series to a level with representations reflecting his personal thought. First is to liberate existing forms of the objects and to construct a place for hosting his ideal after his mind being frustrated by the reality. That is why the “living beings” formed by Liang’s carving tools are virtual creatures, not human, not objects, but showing strong vitality. Digging-out, Liang’s approach in dealing with the forms of “Utensil & Anti-Utensil” Series, is in particular close to his personal experience after going through unwelcome turns of events in the past. Seen on these “living things” are recessed round holes similar to those in ancient helmet and armor and repetitive ripples, which are used to enhance self-expectations in attention training. A flat surface is generally considered more vulnerable to impacts for the lack of rigidness to take up stress.

A surface with dents, on the other hand, would relatively sustain higher external force. When working on such details, for one thing, Liang would like to highlight the richness of the material in use, on the other hand, his personal experience of being hollowed-out in the past has enlightened him that once hollowed-out there will be more room to accept and take in more, and he has realized how to cherish what he has. Liang, with such spiritual blessing, fully demonstrates his determination from his original nature to self-confidence, which also allows artworks of unrestricted imagination. I always feel that when one knows how to accept, he will be able to take in. The ones who can take in are those know what to part with, and the nature of life will then be enriched.

11~Creating vivid imagination of freedomExhibiting magnanimous life philosophy

Insight of Liang Ping-cheng's Exhibition of Connection Series—Flipping the Space of “It”



Author: Zheng Nai-Ming  鄭乃銘

Editor-in-Chief of CANS Contemporary Art News Magazine, Former Chair of Art Group, Taiwan Liberty Times

Many believe wisdom grows with age, but it is not true. Only white hair and wrinkles increase with age. Wisdom comes from the combination of intuition and values, from making decisions and learning from them, from the ability to face failure and rejection. --Vikas Swarup: [The Accidental Apprentice]


flight151     2015     camphor wood     180 X 40 X 20

1. If success simply means to copy oneself, he would rather refuse it.

1~In fact, in terms of life essence, there left little room for Liang Pingzheng to reject. However, he still said no to the ease and comfort rendered by life as a return of only few efforts made because he was reluctant to perform standardized “production.” What he wants is to make “creation.” He had been waiting for an exhibition, which took him 6 years. The exhibition was certainly a success. But it was such success, just like most of those successful artists, inevitably made Liang fall into a predicament of “paying back” “orders” placed by clients of the gallery that invited him. He then had to choose between whether to maintain the established style welcomed by the market or to follow the strong urge in his heart and divert to creation? To find a way out, Liang eventually decided to refuse a life with ease and comfort and diverted from the tracks of rails laid for him by others. To derail is just to satisfy his imagination, pursue freedom and put his ideals in practice.

Carved from a piece of thick camphor wood longer than 200 centimeters, “2015 Flying-1,” a new wood sculpture, was unveiled in 2015. The method Liang adopted in creating this artwork has been known as a reduction approach, with which the whole piece of wood was trimmed to as thin as a piece of silk fabric, and once let go, it seems to stretch out a pair of invisible wings and slowly fly away. I do believe that this piece of artwork has best described Liang’s state of mind at the moment and conveyed some messages from his heart. In fact, Liang has made an attempt at this subject 16 years ago. The previous creation, as Liang put it, was not a satisfactory one in terms of skills employed and emotions expressed. The imagination in his mind was yet successfully depicted at that time and the artwork did not seem to be going aloft. Sixteen years later, he gave himself a second opportunity. This time, what he wanted to achieve would be more than just to make a heavy piece of wood fly! Strictly speaking, sixteen years ago, Liang might have tried to portray the theme of flying simply based on his skills. With the passing of 16 years, issues to be addressed would go beyond flying. The thing more important would be to convey through this artwork his current state of mind, which is a state of felicity, not drastic but mild and with high morale and endeavor of self-competition. Compared with the past, Liang has become more “respecting the nature”this time. Here, the “nature” does not refer to his inherent personality but characteristics of the material he is working on. This explains why the final sculpture is a 180-cm-long wooden piece, like a soaring snake, or a long ink-wash painting, or dynamic long rolling waves. Unlike the previous attempt, Liang’s focus this time would not be on manipulation of skills but embedding his skills into the creation.


Gold hoop  2015  Zeikova  245x85x50cm

2. Breaking away from conventions, once started, there are challenges ahead

​2~Being in the prime of life, the artist used to play a high-profile role in the business world. Without any standing in his mind, his major of fine arts in school at that time was nothing but a flash of light in a midnight dream. Going to Sanyi, Liang started from the basics of carving and slowly but surely he walked out of the haziness in his heart. Facing up to all failures in the past, Liang has built up the courage to say no to the easy access to the success in life. Let me explain it further. Based on his superb skills, Liang could have chosen to create those types of wood sculptures more acceptable to the masses. However, being in Sanyi has allowed him of more opportunities to get close to nature while interactions of living creatures thereof have guided him to treat life and the multitudes with an attitude of modesty. The life of all living things begins with “coupling,” but even with life, to them, termination and transmigration are still unavoidable. Such seemingly simple and ordinary phenomena in nature has prompted Liang to find himself a role and made him eager to apply and transfer his understanding to artistic representation. Inspiredby the process from vivipary to grown-up of living beings, Liang, as an observant artist of the environment, delicately depicts different manifestations of life forms with climatic influence. This is why Liang’s wood sculptures have captured snapshots of hidden cocoons and buds in living creatures and plants while characteristics of life forms and twists and turns in life courses have been delicately portrayed by Liang with unique woodcarving skills, not to mention the passage of time revealed by annual rings of trees. When such observations come to be artistic representations one by one, Liang’s choice to take a route breaking away from what prevails in Sanyi but communicating personal features has become obvious. Liang’s ability to refuse has already appeared at this time.

For example, in the “Book & Illegible Book” Series Liang created, attempts have been made to depict more than the outer appearances of objects and the contrast between the past and status quo can be seen in the same piece of artwork. The book to be portrayed is an output from trees because the paper to make book leaves comes from trees. But most of us just concentrate on the book itself without thinking of where the material of a book comes from.

Contrasted with visual heaviness of the wood, lightness and thinness of the paper has been successfully introduced. Such sharp contrast has been manipulated by Liang with facility. In the artwork of “Illegible Book-60 Stone Mountain” in 2014, “the nature of wood” created by a stack of “paper” can be easily noticed, which not only exhibits a translucent glossy texture, but attracts viewers to get one step closer to scrutinize the fibers shining brightly on the surface of “paper.” The most amazing would be what Liang has portrayed in one piece of art include forms and appearances of paper, book and wood altogether. Presented in this artwork is the tension of rough and uneven surface of the paper moistened by humid air. As such tension turns into undulating curves, clear water and a camellia standing on a flower frog have been added in the depressed part, the “valley.” Having developed to this point, the book becomes an illegible book and the utensil becomes anti-utensil, transforming original stereotyped forms of actual things to scenery in nature. It is because of such liberation we will be able to witness the breakaway of physical appearance from traditional functionality followed by the metamorphosis into a new aspect. As Liang once put it, “To me, the piece of wood that I’m working on is a life worthy of respect. This is because each and every piece of wood in my hand to be carved comes from a tree; comes from a life. The life, at different stages, would have different meanings and aspirations and shall be appreciated carefully.”

粽子心103k荔枝木42 X 45 X 75cm2015.jpg

Combined series~Zongzi heart     2015     Lychee wood     42x45x75cm

3. <Connection Series>Creating vivid imagination of freedom and exhibiting magnanimous life philosophy

3~Among these new creations, I have also discovered that Liang’s artworks, when compared with previous ones, seem to be more relaxed and more intractable with a pleasant atmosphere exhibited. When establishing new cooperations and setting up new artistic directions, he has been obviously more confident to achieve accomplishments higher than those in the past. The reason why I think his recent works seem to be more relaxed is because he has put in some add-on-as-you-wish elements like those in children's games, which render viewers rich and interesting visual experience. In artworks such like “Golden Hooped Staff,” “Thriving Fish” and “Dumpling Heart,” the columns created by Liang look like giant naval vessels or remote controllers of radio-controlled aircrafts while those things inset on the columns, as described by Liang, have been inspired by plant seeds, bird wings, and animal paws.

4. Treat creations the same way treating yourself  Having something to say yet say nothing and difficult to leave it at that

4~Thinking how to make changes and breakthroughs to the constraints imposed by the environment. However, had he eventually chosen to stay in comfort but not to say no, he would not have been able to straighten out his potential. His attempt made at color black in “Black Eagle--Golden Handrail” and “Head--Stainless Steel Body--Bronze (Casting)” is a good example. What makes these two artworks outstanding is not the shape but Liang’s attitude toward the creations. Most parts of these two pieces are in black, but not just painted in black as what most people might have thought. To achieve the black texture in his mind, as the luster of lacquerware, Liang has purchased a lot of lacquerware to study and adopted an approach to dye the wood repeatedly during the process to let pigments enter deep into the material. Just as a spiritual and physical connection, the black radiates from the inside with vividness and deepness. Such a treatment allows viewers to perceive richness and slimness of the color under different lighting or from different angles rather than a monotonous black. Few wood sculpture artists may devote so much to talk from their heart through creation like Liang.

The unveiling of 2015 new artworks, one may discover Liang’s advancement of proficiency but not flippancy in skills. No longer deliberately showing off complicated skills that can be disillusioned with a glance, Liang has presented the trials and hardships undergone in past years and become more confident in artistic manifestations. However, I have detected a faint, indescribable and unwilling-to-say insecurity in the artist. For example, he has always remembered the “wings” in his mind. Another example would be some details in his new artworks of the Connection Series, the well-arranged, separate and corresponding pairs plus those add-ons attracted to the somas. All these reveal the possible sorrow and disappointment in his mind resulted from a sudden loss after excessively intimate relations. Nevertheless, in private, he earnestly hopes to be escorted and crowded around and fear the occasional visit of immense loneliness. I think this is more or less because of his past life experience, which let him to keep a “distance” constructed unconsciously and somewhat inadvertently. Such a distance may be interpreted as the safety distance interpersonally, or between “gain” and “loss” within his own discretion. At long last, with a distance in mind, one may expect how bad a trip and fall would be. Just like the unforgettable “wings” in his mind.

As Liang once put it, “Sometimes, I really want to have a pair of wings and maybe I would be able to soar to the heights.” To escape from the status quo or the reality may reveal the psychological pressure he has suffered. However, I always feel that wings may also represent the unremovable loneliness deep in his heart. On the other hand, maybe it is such tangible or intangible, existent or conjectural wings that have rendered to Liang’s artworks thrust and momentum at every stage to progress. This is just like only fluttering is not enough for a pair of soaring wings while the wind under the wings would be what it takes to fly high and far. It may be assumed that Liang would be more and more able to know where to stand either in moments of comfort and convenience or at times of challenge and controversy.

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