1980年代，日本艺术中的「绘画回归」，主要以「斜行格子」绘画作为大宗，其中代表人物即是日本国内外知名的中村一美（1956年生），他观察外部世界的不确实性与灾难，从而展开自己的艺术世界。而做为一位专业画家，他从未停止努力实验着多样的艺术空间，其作品受到许多艺评人持续的关注。其中，他透过斜行系列作品，以五感感官诱导出规律的构造，最后依循画笔笔触，瓦解了斜行的形式。特别是他《存在の鸟350 A Bird in its Existence 350 (Cisticola Juncidis) 》（2019）此系列内，传达出具象与抽象间绘画起源的意象，让我们可以看到，其中飞翔的鸟就像穿梭在前世今生般，传达给人们古代文明的命运与信仰一般的存在象徵，而中村一美在绘画画面整体的笔触速度，充满着不可思议的生命力，以及跃动动力节奏的符号化，看似是对非现实世界的抽象性意象，然而，却是此抽象性意象能让我们还原、再现出最具体「真实世界」的意象。
Moon, Junghee (Associate Professor, Tainan National University of the Arts)
In the art history, the trend of “abstraction” has been evolving as a contrast to “figuration.” The same oppositional relationship also exists between Surrealism and Abstractionism, between Western Abstractionism and Eastern Abstractionism. The development of East Asian Abstractionism could be traced back to the 1930s, when Japan accepted concepts of the school of “abstraction and creation,” and to the time after WWII, when “informel art” and Abstractionism emerged on both sides of the Atlantic in the context of the modern art. All these cannot be ignored in interpreting East Asian abstract painting. Interpretations of the abstract works shed light on how the artists ponder the real-world issues, and attempt to create a new artistic world.
Lee Bongreal (1937- ) is one of the representative painters in the first phase of Korean abstract painting in the wake of WWII. His artistic philosophy takes root in the informel art before taking a “monochrome” turn that distinguishes him from all other monochrome painters. In 1967, when pursuing studies in France, Lee Bongreal witnessed how an individual transformed with the changing social structure in “minimal art.” He adopted the image of grid wooden windows commonly seen at traditional Korean houses in the living space of Korea. With the “grids” of the interior windows, he minimally drew a dichotomy between the outer space and planar one of inner feelings. After the Korean War, as a stranger from North Korea to which he could never return, he expressed deep nostalgia for his homeland via artistic creations. Lee Bongreal’s works during the 1970s were thus filled to the brim with nostalgic emotions. In the 1980s, he underscored the planarity of the two-dimensional with the “grids” (Space, 1987). Since the second half of the 1990s, he has been dedicated to deconstructing the grids with the full force of his inner energy through his works. Ultimately in 2010, his canvas abounds with energy condensed from synergy of simple, pure color tones, and a natural space of fluid lines over a long period of time.
In the 1980s, there was a “comeback of painting” in the world of Japanese art marked by “oblique grid” paintings. Kazumi Nakamura (1956- ), renowned at home and abroad, is then one of the most representative artists in the field. He crafted an artistic world from his observation of the uncertainties and disasters in the outer world. As an assiduous painter, he continues experimenting with a miscellany of artistic spaces, and his works have received significant attention from art critics. The oblique series, for example, renders regular structures from the five senses, ultimately breaking the oblique form with each brushstroke. The A Bird in its Existence 350 (Cisticola Juncidis) (2019) series conveys the imagery in between figuration and abstraction that breathe life into painting. The flying bird, as if traveling through time and space, tells of the destiny of ancient civilizations and religion-like existence. Nakamura deftly applies brushstrokes with such a speed that displays an astonishing vitality. The symbols of dynamic rhythms seem to capture an unreal world with abstract imagery, which however allows us to restore and represent the most figurative imagery (of the real world).
In the second half of the 1980s, Lee Jin Woo (1959- ), an opponent of conceptualized art, maintained that the artistic act of painting was a form of prejudice in itself, and that only by discarding “painting” (as an act) could one create a new artistic form. Therefore, Lee Jin Woo has been experimenting with the physicality of traditional Korean paper to collect forms of “time” in his paintings. In other words, he ingeniously takes advantage of its fiber texture by building up layers of the paper, which absorbs pigment with the passage of time. The Untitled (2019) series provides a glimpse into how he seamlessly brings out colors in their intrinsic nature and traces of the passing physical time. With this method of expression, he endeavors to shape an abstract space where the human being attempts to “obliterate the self” under physical pain. Through repetitive superimposition, he connects the physical, real world constructed from paper and charcoal with the physical time until a certain point in the abstract space comes into sight.
The exhibition seeks to explore the East Asian abstract painting, and present a wide diversity of abstract ideas, and formal and contextual evolutions in Japan and Korea during the 1980s. It also examines how the abstract painting in East Asia collided with the anti-art, conceptual art, Japanese Mono-ha, and the Korean monochrome painting in the 1970s. As painting appeared to be losing its power, there was a rethinking of the coherence between “extraction” and “breakaway from imagery.” The 1980s saw a restoration of the essence of painting, which inspired reflection on “modernism.”