ARTCO Issue 270
Author : Lin Yi-Hsiu, 林怡秀 born in 1984 in Taiwan
Previous: Feature Editor, Contemporary Art (現代美術) By-Monthly
Current : Managing Editor, ARTCO
The most important stages throughout Liang Ping-Cheng creative career is perhaps his study in New York after the departure from his teaching position in Fu-shin Trade & Arts School in 1987 and the years of living in seclusion in Sanyi. In 1983, Liang won the Eighth Lion Art New Artist Award. In 1985, he dived intoJia-ren Gallery in 1985 without any literature. All he had was a few buckets of paints and a bottle of sorghum liquor.The moment the gallery was opened, he drank the alcohol and started his improvisational painting. After a 27-day confinement, all the floors and ceilings were covered with paints. He aspired to reach the peak of the art world that he imagined when he decided to quit his teaching job. Once he arrived in New York, he realized that creative art is sparkling, large or small, on the foreign land all the time. Artists on the road are as amazing as the pieces hanging in white squares. After the stimulus in New York, he decided to return to Taiwan and take a break from his creative journey by doing interior and architectural design. Liang floated around for a few years before rediscovered his passion as an artist when he settled down in Sanyi, away from the hustle and bustle. He then developed a creative language of his own in wood sculpture.
“For me, wood sculpture is merely switching a paint brush with a sculpture knife and replacing a canvas with wood.” Liang’s wood sculpture comes with a composition distinctively different from the tradition approach of presenting solidness in form and thickness of wood. Liang was wondering whether this was the only way to express wood, so he tried to uncover a different of wood, i.e. finding its void and lightness. In the process of releasing the weight of wood, he also took the burden off his chest. Different from clay or painting starting from nothing, wood sculptors need to understand that wood was once alive whilst exercising their own imagination. This is what Liang often describes as “going with flow”. He believes that he is uncovering, rather than sculpturing. This going-with-flow approach is,in fact, similar with his improvisational painting in Jia-ren Gallery at a young age. Liang said, “Artists should set their visual memories free, nesting into the atmosphere of time and space. As I simply swapped a canvas into wood and used a sculpture knife instead of a brush, there is a lot of paintingness in my current works.” Liang’s wood sculpture is known for surface works, such as fine dots, diamonds and waves. They are like his personal signature developed over the years. He describes these sketchy marks as the clothes he puts on wood after he has given it a shape. “Wood sculpture is not different from painting to me. The expression of imagination and feelings is what matters.”
Liang displays a series of new works in IT Park with the title “Synthesis合”. The Chinese character “合” contains the meanings of meeting, gathering, integration and closure.Visually it is the combination of two symmetric items into one. The centerpiece comes in the pair of two hollow flakes, resembling hair sticks, fish bones, animal claws or even keys. The shell form and the sketchy texture create a sense of interlacing times and spaces. Synthesis 合is about the transition of the perception between to be and not to be, positive and negative. When Liang was working as an interior and architectural designer, he was already emphasizing the importance of “leaving blank” within the shell. It is something that cannot be expressed with paper and building materials. For example, how do people walk through the hallway? How do they move between the dining table and the work surface? He mentioned that when he was doing interior design, he was not after the superficial looks or elaborations. A good designer is to plan for a living space to avoid a sense of alienation or narrowness. “Once the purpose has been determined, we can think about how the form and function.” In the series “合”Synthesis, Liang formally proposes the concept of “space of void” and “space of it”. The first thing is to capture the sensation in a metaphysical way, before showing it in the physical way with skills and techniques.” All the wood sculptures by Liang are the sublimation of his own memories. He said,” Creativity does not come out of nothing. It is based on your visual experience.” For instance, he observed the posture of ferns, the spiral of shells, the anatomy of flora and fauna, things and objects from day to day when he lived in Sanyi. However, it is also important to temporary let go of past learning and habits when you start to create a piece of art, so that you are not limited by inertia. Liang has been working with wood for almost 16 years, and he remains passionate with this medium that was once alive. He hopes to continue with his in-depth and single-minded approach. “Because only life is a universal language. If even I use brass and stainless steel to make copies, the original shapes are always based on wood. That said, works change when mediums are different. Playing with mediums comes as the second nature for artists. In my eyes, all the mediums are equal. It will be difficult to answer the question such as “which color is the most beautiful”. Am I sculpturing wood or is wood shaping me? The creative process is in fact interactive.”
Ping-Cheng LIANG 梁 平 正