Supported by Ministry of Culture; Bureau of Cultural Affairs, Kaohsiung City Government
Organized by Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts
Exhibition Date: July 4th (Saturday), 2015 to November 20th (Sunday), 2016
Exhibition Venue: Gallery 201, Children’s Museum of Art
Participating Artists: Cindy Wang I Hsuan; Chiang Po-hsuan; Chiaos; Yu Tung-sheng; Abugy; Lin Shih-jen; Po Chiao-ling; Xu Bing; Hung Croter; Chen Hung-mien; Lu Boris; Zhang San and Liu Tom
Writing is an everyday task that no one can avoid. Examples include writing your name and practicing the block characters that make up your homework. Do you know where Chinese characters came from?
When you, your classmates, your father, your mother, and your teacher write characters, the characters are all a bit different. Sometimes, depending on the time, the atmosphere, and the situation, calligraphers will write different kinds of characters. For instance, when people write to the Emperor, their characters are neat and convey an attitude of great respect. But when people write to their friends, they are relaxed and their characters are messier.
Adults often say: Your characters should be neat. Don't be lazy; if you make a mistake, you must erase it and write it again. But you should note that some of the most famous works of calligraphy in history contain characters that are written wrong and also have mistakes that were erased and written again. So why do they have such a great reputation?
A brush can be used to write calligraphy, and can also be used to make paintings. Artists often say that painting and calligraphy are closely linked. What do you think?
Do you want to know the answer? Come in and take a look at this garden of characters; you will have a lot of fun.
A message for parents and teachers
Literacy and reading from childhood allow a person to absorb limitless information and use writing to convey tremendous knowledge. Communication is based on an understanding of writing. Sometimes a person is very familiar with reading a particular Chinese character, but cannot remember how to write it. People think, "I just haven't written it in too long." But if you think about it, is it really like this? Actually, literacy in Chinese implies only "recognizing characters," and not "knowing characters." The goal of those who like to write characters and try their hand at calligraphy is to enjoy play through exhibition activities. In the process of play, appreciation, and creation, calligraphers and painters experience why characters are the way they are at a visceral level, grasp the interesting way that characters are constructed, and learn to appreciate the beauty of calligraphy.
This exhibition consists of four units, which explore Chinese characters and the art of writing. All ancient characters originated from pictorial forms, which is why the earliest characters, which were written on bone and tortoise shell more than 3000 years ago, are still partially intelligible, and they reveal that the original concepts of their construction were derived from the myriad forms of the natural world. "Where do characters come from?" leads us into the world of Chinese characters and challenges our imagination. We often say that characters resemble the people who wrote them, and the curves of strokes evoke the turns of personality of their creators. The different forms of different calligraphic styles all have their own charm. "Expressions of characters" ponders how different calligraphic styles can be paired with different spatial and architectural functions. Many calligraphic classics have been made during the course of history; why do certain famous works have such magnetic appeal for viewers? "Timeless characters" relates the story of a famous calligraphic work. How should we look at writing that has drifted away from its practical function? Should we consider it a purely linear work, or, when combined with the painting, see it as a manifestation of the adage that "painting and calligraphy derive from the same source?" Infinitely varied characters" conveys characters' diverse shapes and forms.
To be sure, characters are not only vehicles of language, but also bear witness to the development of civilization, and calligraphy consists of the crystallization of writing. This exhibition seeks to act as a wedge; apart from providing a small glimpse of the history of writing, how writing technology has changed life, and how characters influence people's driving habits, the exhibition also attempts to bring back some of the wonders of long-ago times: It takes back viewers to the origin of writing, and lets them personally experience the simple pleasure of writing in its most ancient form.