凝視與穿越:藝術典藏中的高雄百景

2020.07.01 - 2021.01.03 石鼓風景光廊:高雄市文化中心石鼓燈箱展示區/風景典藏體驗展:本館B01展覽室


避免集體失憶的方法
跟著典藏來趟時光旅行吧!

 
隨著時代變遷,每個城市的「地平線」都會不斷地起落變化,高雄亦同。而從古至今,每個時代的藝術家都會對他們生活的世界相當有感,並用他們的畫筆、相機記錄眼前的風景畫面,那些畫面就像唱盤針淺淺地印刻在你的腦海中。當時間恍惚流逝的時候,所有曾經熟悉的景象,都可能逐一被新的建物所瓦解或遮蔽,你我終將活在一個全然陌生的世界中。
 
跟全球各地美術館一樣,高美館也收藏了與所在地相關的大量時代物證,為自身的地理位置標示了座標,指出了存在價值。而典藏中關於「城市」的各式圖證,包括超過百件與高雄相關的風景繪畫或攝影,都已逐步累積成他館無可取代的地方重要史料庫。
 
109年9月1日是高雄從「打狗」被正名為「高雄」滿100週年,高雄市立美術館特別配合市政府的「高雄一百」系列活動,分別推出《凝視與穿越 : 藝術典藏中的高雄百景》系列之《石鼓風景光廊》與《風景典藏體驗展》;透過超過百件的典藏作品與影像,高美館將串構出充滿在地符號的記憶迴廊,並帶你穿越高雄的今昔。
 
趁著還有感,趁著還記得,趁著部份景像依稀還在眼前,讓我們重探屬於高雄人的時代記憶吧!


石鼓風景光廊
主辦單位 | 高雄市政府文化局
策劃/執行單位 | 高雄市立美術館、高雄市文化中心
展出時間 | 自2020年7月1日起
展出地點 | 高雄市文化中心石鼓燈箱展示區
 

風景典藏體驗展
指導單位 | 高雄市政府文化局
策劃/主辦單位 | 高雄市立美術館
展出時間 | 2020年9月1日(二)-2021年1月3日(日)
展出地點 | 高雄市立美術館B01展覽室


典藏桌遊教具盒與遊戲密笈說明連結
https://www.kmfa.gov.tw/JournalsDetailC003620.aspx?Cond=254e9837-c00d-430e-8162-46a94592f183

 



展覽承辦單位/人員 
桌遊製作:樹德科技大學動畫與遊戲設計系
石鼓燈箱展規劃與執行:典藏部陳秀薇、賴逸芸
風景體驗展規劃與執行:研究發展部羅潔尹
教育推廣活動規劃與執行(詳細活動時間請詳見官網):
► KAOHSIUNG FONG JING團遊:教育暨公共服務部楊貴雯
► 「時代說書人」帶狀講座:教育暨公共服務部顏絃仰
展覽協力:研究發展部金恬綺、胡丹齡
展覽空間設計:展覽部郭鳳如
展覽平面設計:富得(宋眉蓉)

 
感謝本展所有典藏藝術家的協助,以及樹德科技大學蘇中和主任、鄧樹遠老師、陳長勇、林榮標導演團隊協助本館製作《藝遊未盡》桌遊教具盒,顏博政老師提供繪葉書,林育如小姐提供鄭獲義老師所繪高雄老地圖、董青藍與顏明邦老師提供攝影參考圖、盧昱瑞導演借展「大舞台戲院」消失地景的縮時攝影等,這些都是本展彌足珍貴的時代參考圖像,特此致謝!
 

風景圖像選介
 
圖片說明
約翰‧湯姆生(John Thomson, 1837-1921)為19世紀最重要的攝影家之一。他忠實的紀錄了19世紀東方各國的風土人情,他的攝影作品成為重要的社會人文記錄,並為紀實攝影之先驅。 西元1871年,經由基督教長老教會馬雅各醫師的引介,湯姆生造訪了福爾摩沙美麗島,他從打狗港(今高雄)上岸,為打狗港寫下美麗壯觀的影像。本系列作品是約翰‧湯姆生1865-1872年間展開東亞攝影之旅的作品,其中包含了台灣原住民、打狗港、台灣府、中國廣東、福建、上海、北京、湖北、四川,以及暹邏吳哥窟及吳哥城遺址,從鏡頭下看福爾摩沙與亞洲紀行,紀錄人物、生活特色等今日已消失或變化的景與物,亦為重要文史資料。

約翰.湯姆生 打狗瀉湖 攝影 數位輸出45.3×49.3cm 1871(2012年取得授權輸出)
圖片說明
張萬傳先生之繪畫多源自生活的觀察與經驗,除了愛魚畫魚,古老的建築常引發其思古之悠情,中外建築皆然。此件風景油畫「高雄教堂」畫的是台灣第一座天主教堂–高雄玫瑰聖母堂,豪邁的筆觸將混合哥德式和羅馬式風格的尖塔建築特色具現出來。此作另有較大幅的油畫作品為收藏家收藏。張萬傳繪畫的風格獨特,筆下充滿動勢,色彩則奔放厚重;重形色鋪衍的表現及自身情感的流露。他的一段話可以充份表達其創作理念:「色彩與筆觸的揮灑是一內蘊熱力展現;面對繪畫主題的呈顯,著重的是一內省式的自剖;其目的不在勾勒物件的形體,而是在表現物體的精神,這是非常主觀和超自然的。」

張萬傳 高雄教堂 油彩、木板33.2×23.3cm 年代不詳 藝術家家屬捐贈
 
圖片說明
此件係張啟華先生留世最早作品,為其就讀東京日本美術學校時暑假返鄉所作,並曾獲該校美展首獎,亦曾入選第七屆台展。「福聚樓」為高雄酒家濫觴。畫中昏黃的午后,閒散的路人悠遊於街道,「福聚樓」門前數人或蹲或立,狀似閒暇。街道近灣處,數人駐足圍觀一畫家寫生,依張啟華生前所述,此人乃為廖繼春先生。 
帆船與「福聚樓」為時代圖像留下歷史見證。張啟華先生以黃褐色調描繪帆船與街道,深沉的墨綠織染天空,「福聚樓」牆上映染些許昏黃,舖陳出斜陽夕照,華燈將上的詩境,寒暖對比色調與明暗層次,使深邃的畫面不失明晰的空間。其用彩大筆塗抹,筆、刀兼施,極具厚實感。線條瀟灑、流暢,顯露輕鬆自在的心境,猶如其豪放不拘之性。構圖上,由船的帆頂至蹲踞福聚樓前人物成一斜線,串連街道主要景物,並連繫左右二邊景像,成一「N」字起伏線,統御全幅之關係。輔以錐形表現「福聚樓」之透視,近街道盡頭,寫生與圍觀的人們適位於該錐形之尖處,且與街道倒「V」頂點重疊,配合該處明暗對比,成為畫面一視覺重心,又將此重心與街道其他人物連成一曲線,增進空間及街道變化。

張啟華 旗后福聚樓 油彩、畫布 79 × 98.5cm 1931藝術家家屬捐贈
 
圖片說明
這幅作品鮮活地描繪了民國四十年代台灣邁入都市化的情景;新式百貨洋樓是商區中心點,舊房舍雜錯其間,加上老式木質電線桿,擾亂了上空的視野,而路面上的三輪車、腳踏車、汽車各自運行,整幅亂中有序的景象,畫家處理亦變化有緻。

宋世雄 雜沓 水彩、日製紙40×54 cm 1955
 
圖片說明
作者以鳥瞰的角度,拍攝出當地的建築與聚落特色。傳統的閩南式建築櫛比鱗次,其中有高高隆起屋瓦間的馬背,還有平房的形式錯落相間,人煙稀少的風景中,只有三個建築工人忙於工事,其它的人大概都出海工作去了;遠方的山景是高雄的都會區,樸實而寧靜的漁村和都市的塵囂遙遙相對。此張照片記錄了旗津地區,饒富地方特色與歷史意義的時光,這些古厝在今日看來已成絕響,不復存在,但永遠是歷史上不滅的追憶,象徵高雄成長的足跡。(文/李幸潔)

董青藍 旗津古厝 攝影 黑白相片50.8×60.9cm 1967
 
圖片說明
此件攝影作品取景於高雄市左營區知名的觀光勝地~蓮池潭的自然風光,畫面上古色古香的涼亭,仍保留中國建築特色。此件作品以層次感豐富的空間感,與風格獨具的元素,在對比鮮明的光影烘托之下,呈現出如水墨畫中恬淡而怡人的美景;尤其是前景的垂柳如簾幕般向下低垂散落,更增添幾分浪漫與柔情,水面上的波光粼粼,顯現出動感與活力。(文/李幸潔)

黃澍民 蓮池垂柳掩半屏 攝影 日本三菱牌放大紙39×55.8cm 1972
 
圖片說明
正如作者所言,他在赴日進修後對畫面上的色彩對比、主題對稱與均衡有了更深刻的體認。在這件作品上繽紛多彩的筆觸佈滿畫面,有許多地方並不在表現景物真實樣貌,而是在強調不同色彩於並置時所產生的各種效果。雖然所有的用色都柔和而略顯保守,但豐富明亮的色調卻使畫面洋溢著兒童畫般的活潑氣氛。(文/劉智遠)

詹浮雲 高雄港 油彩、畫布 91×116.5cm 1989
 
 
圖片說明
此件作品所描繪的對象是高雄市主要的河流-愛河,這是高雄居民心中最具特色的景點之一,尤其現在經過設計與規劃之後,河岸風景更加多姿多采。畫面中巧妙的以L形相互交叉,構成-綠色與藍色帶,形成堅實的結構;前景的幾棵樹和路燈,相對於背景小巧的樓房與橋墩,大與小的對比感不僅呈現出空間感,也別有一番細膩雅致的情懷。作者以生動的筆法與鮮亮的色彩,表現出愛河的活力。(文/李幸潔)

陳瑞福 愛河 油彩、畫布60×72cm 1993 藝術家捐贈
 
 
圖片說明
出身於茄萣海邊的林天瑞先生,對海情有獨鍾,這幅作品描繪的是夕陽西下的西子灣景緻。構圖上,右半邊的大型岩礁為前景,其餘岩礁略作平行佈列,大小、明暗暗示了透視遠近。全幅作品以暖色調為主,滿天的雲彩映照在岸邊岩石上,藍綠色調的海水與墨綠褐的礁岩虛實相應。畫中並以畫刀刮抹出西子灣的白浪與紅彩,林天瑞先生使用畫刀之筆觸簡潔流暢、力道美妙,畫刀行進中利用顏料厚度重疊堆砌,自然形成陰影暗線,推演畫面空間效果;厚彩重顏堆疊的畫面,有時粗糙,有時斑爛,凝煉的筆觸與肌理,是畫家累積多年顏料揮灑的經驗,賦予刀筆瀟灑精準的生命力。

林天瑞 西子灣 油彩、畫布45.5×53cm 1997 藝術家家屬捐贈
 
 
圖片說明
無論從近、中、遠景處各種景物的描繪來看,都可見畫家在寫實表現上的精準。然而,碼頭岸、船隻、車輛、房舍等方向過於一致的排列,長距離、大角度俯瞰下的景物變形,尤其是不尋常的橙、紫兩色的大片平塗,卻賦予畫面一種超現實般的奇異感受,也使此作更富有迷人的魅力。(文/劉智遠)

王國禎 高雄港(2) 油彩、畫布 130×162cm 1997
 
圖片說明
洪天宇的「空白風景」以台灣地區的風景為主要圖像,討論議題提示人類對大自然的破壞,充滿環境關懷意識。作品中留白的部分,指涉沒有生命的人工物、無機物。「空白風景」有著作者強烈的意見,以他最能掌握的繪畫為工具來表述他對大自然濃重的保護甚至是捍衛的企圖。 
此件作品為2013年作,一如作者其他的空白風景作品,在畫面上只對屬於自然的部分進行寫實的描繪,因此僅見的色彩是海水、稀疏的樹木以及天空。其餘因人類介入而出現的非自然物,全部塗以白色,再加上輪廓與結構的處理,使觀者得見所遮掩的物體的形狀及屬性。這些「空白」是刻意的「覆蓋」,積極的「空白」,使被覆蓋物欲蓋彌彰。高雄作為一工業都市,過去工業發展中帶來的人為干擾,在本作中以大比重的「空白」呈現,是為工業高雄做出另一種抒情的描繪。

洪天宇 高雄港 壓克力顏料、畫布174x174cm 2013
 
 
 
























 

石鼓風景光廊 | 高雄市文化中心石鼓燈箱展示區

典藏品藝術家(作品圖像展出) | 
方永川、王國禎、何文杞、吳光禹、宋世雄、李明則、李洸洋、林天瑞、林慶祥、侯聰慧、洪天宇、洪政東、洪清雹、洪傳桂、張金發、張栢烟、張啟華、張萬傳、梁丹丰、許叁陸、陳大和、陳文龍、陳水財、陳甲上、陳瑞福、陳寶雄、傅彬霖、黃朝謨、黃澍民、董青藍、詹浮雲、劉清榮、劉欽麟、蔡高明、鄭獲義、盧明德、簡天佑、顏逢郎、羅清雲、蘇連陣、約翰.湯姆生(以上依中文姓氏筆畫排序)

※更多作品資訊請參考《凝視與穿越:藝術典藏中的高雄百景-石鼓風景光廊_展出作品圖像清單》(請點選此連結)











 

 
 

展覽專文

凝視與穿越:藝術典藏中的高雄百景 為你解壓縮時空故事匣


撰文:羅潔尹(高美館研究發展部主任)
刻劃老城市的歷史迴圈


Sharon Zukin在《裸城:純正都市地方的生與死》(Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places)書中昭示了一個城市(她以紐約為例)的變遷宿命,往往是一個「不可逆」的過程 。當你生活周遭的景象快速在腦海中覆蓋、取代或刪除,甚至被「都更」到眼前一片「重開機」時,你該如何記憶這些成長過的世界?

選舉期間,曾聽到人們為了高雄「又老又窮」這句話爭辯不休;身為高雄人的我,並沒有跟著激動不已,因為一直在想,這城市「老」,不好嗎?

城市「老」跟「窮」沒直接關係,畢竟世界上許多古老城市風韻迷人,是旅客觀光旅程的唯一指標,為老城帶來了珍貴的觀光資財。

「窮」不「窮」,取決於人們精神上能否獲得富足;畢竟「歷史感」才是人類靈魂最可靠的養分;城市有多「老」,便代表了她的歷史年輪刻上了多少迴圈,隨歲月增生的文化厚度有多厚,當然,更代表了這個城市可供傳頌的故事之豐富程度。

無人傳唱故事的城市,在地平線消長、地景不斷更迭的過程中,人群最後只能落得集體失憶,呈現出另一種心靈上的「窮」;即使到處流竄著「愛」或「LOVE」之類的催眠符號,都只能是短暫的自我麻醉,無法解心靈上的渴。

不斷移轉中的城市地貌

高雄在各個不同的時代中,因為建設模式與管理者的不同常常呈顯出兩極化的性格,因此也有著不同的代表符號。就像外地人所無法理解,明明旁邊就是海,但高雄的「海洋意象」為何如此內隱?其實長年被戒嚴與海岸線軍防區隔離開來的高雄,亦是直至近20多年前才在市府主導下,透過海邊活動或舊港區倉庫群改造等「介入」,港務局逐步釋放海岸管制權後,人們才能穿梭與貼近著這條蜿蜒的海岸線,並擴大了「看海」的眼界。

但對藝術家來說,政治控制一直都無法封閉他們的心靈想像。自高美館藏品中可歸納出各不同世代的寫生框景排行榜,其中以從不同角度俯望有「撒拉森頭」(Saracen Head)暱稱的旗後山,可說是絕大多畫家取景的首選;那方蘊含了古人「旗山夕照」的絕佳畫面,堪稱「高雄」意象最具代表性的完整視角。

這個城市的命脈「愛河」也不遑多讓。早年沿河哪來的橋樑、豪宅或貢多拉啊?早期的河岸分布了沼澤、泥灘、鹽湖等,長滿紅樹林、林投、刺竹等植物,常見漁民捕撈魚蝦的「繒筏」航行其上;當時筏上高高撐起的弧型竹架,可謂是河上最優美的線條,而河邊有著供漁民儲放晒乾漁網的草寮,才是「河景第一排」;後來當這條河流轉變成運送木材至貯木池的路徑時,則又出現了另一種時代景觀。

高雄早期的鄉土書寫者照史(本名林曙光)在他所著《高雄人物評述》(第二輯)乙書 中,描述了無數饒富趣味的老高雄風雲人物(包括前輩畫家劉啟祥與張啟華),以及與他們相關的時代軼事;這些都是我們間接閱讀過去地景變遷細節的參考。

其中,他在〈高雄西醫濫觴莊媽江.李炳森〉乙文中描述了愛河早年的「釘子戶」;那是在「打狗川」時期,河中浮洲上方有著前金人許豬拒絕配合疏濬工程遷離的房舍,後來在殖民政府築港部利用四周挖濬讓浮洲自垮而消失的過程。

這些都再再記錄著今不可考的地景傳說,但也告訴了我們,無論多麼雄偉的建築地標,有朝一日終將成為地圖上一方抹除的標記。


逐一揭開記憶的篇章


從100年前的「打狗」走到今日的「高雄」,這個被大眾認知以工業起家、亟欲尋求產業轉型的城市,總被高溫、煩躁的艷陽煙塵覆蓋。

過去揮汗如雨的勞工族群,撐起了在地產業的一片天,而路上來去的卡車與貨櫃,是這個城市最顯眼的產業意象,因此才會出現「鋼雕藝術節」或「貨櫃藝術節」之類的代表性活動;但如果以為這就是所謂的「高雄」,那你就想得太淺了!

或許人們一直糾結在高雄港於世界商港的排名,但這個由潟湖、漁村建設開挖築港而成的大商港,過去滋養出城市豐富的人文與產業,讓城市有著多元的歷史面容。日治時期的哈瑪星臨港線鐵路,運載了大量物資出口的昔日榮景,亦非今日在鐵軌遺跡上放風箏、野餐、拍照,或在駁二、棧二庫中穿梭於時尚潮店的年輕人可以想像。

二次大戰時,高雄港被日軍自沉艦船以防敵艦(美軍)進入補給,戰後的打撈清淤意外地造就了後來高雄「拆船王國」的一時榮景 ;當年這些歷程帶給紅毛港居民商機,卻也留下難以刨除的傷痛(海域汙染與船體爆炸的危險)。如今遷村後轉型成觀光場域的紅毛港文化園區,再也看不見這些繁盛過往,大家也只能在鹽埕區落寞的五金街上,感受公園路身為全國最大二手機械五金交易市集的傳奇過往;或許,當港區觀光設施逐一完成,地價上揚後,這條老街便會走入歷史了。

然而高雄不只是個工業硬漢,過去清領時期的「鳳山八景」 或是日治時期「高雄八景」 ,這些對高雄風景的「認證」,在描述中還包括了時人對在地特有景觀的驚艷,包括大氣變化與自然生態等生動感受,可謂「沉浸式」的全身心詮釋;這些都讓後人可以感受到當時高雄迷人的氣息。

時序遷移,今日西灣夕照、澄湖煙波、蓮潭垂柳成為高雄最為大眾記得的少數「神情」;這些有如歷盡滄桑一美人般耐人尋味的景色,我們無法在熙來攘往的遊客人龍中溫柔感受,只能在沉靜的繪畫或攝影中細品慢嚐,而美術館的典藏,便是這些記憶篇章的揭角。

館內一幅前輩畫家張萬傳混用了泛印象派手法描繪的〈高雄教堂〉,揭出了位於五福路上離愛河口不遠處的玫瑰天主堂之過往。

每逢聖誕節,人們就興奮地擠入這間小小教堂中,但少有人意識到教堂下方竟曾是與河連成一體的河川地,當時在教友們有土搬土、有力出力的累積下,才填出後來興建教堂的一片地基。 雖然畫作不像泛黃繪葉書(明信片)般寫真,卻讓我們起心動念,想去一探那荒蕪年代中,克服不可能任務去「移山」填地的人們。

所以路上正在寫生或是攝影的人們,可能都正在紀錄我們即將過去的今天;藝術家在不同年代中詮釋著他們看到的世界,為這個城市留下「我曾在」的證明,並深刻地帶我們回味了歷史、人文緊密交疊著的時空軌跡。


擷取城市的恆常圖像

雖說歷史類博物館中,大多藏有大量具「自明性」、能生動演繹歷史「劇情」的攝影作品,然而美術館典藏從「詮釋」的獨特性出發,收藏的大多是自成一格、有畫外之音的繪畫或影像,在不斷移動、起伏的時代價值中,為我們凝視了某一段時空中的「恆常」。

每張風景圖像都像是個壓縮過的時空故事匣,只有當觀者逐步「解壓縮」時,才能釋放出更多的訊息;當城市「地平線」不斷起落,時光恍惚流逝,熟悉的景象逐一被瓦解或遮蔽,你將會愛上這個「恆常」。

為了不讓高雄人在「家鄉」活得「漂浮」,高美館以圖像為人們接力傳唱一則則的城市歌謠;想追尋地方的共同記憶,怎能無視這些與地景變遷息息相關的藝術圖證?

展覽伴隨著高市文化中心吸睛的「石鼓光廊」以及《藝遊未盡》風景桌遊,為人們共組一個穿越時空、虛實相映、可瞭望高雄風景與人文變遷的「桌上旅行團」。然而,圖像畢竟是圖像,我們更期待大家能來趟「城市一日遊」的輕旅行,帶著「懷舊」的心情,實地踏查並深刻記住這個城市。

所以,穿上布鞋、揹上背包、打開地圖,繞進高雄的大街小巷來閱讀各區地景變遷,感受空氣中稀薄但迷人的舊聚落風情,看看歷史建物上優雅的窗花、牌匾,吃吃古早味、聞聞老味道;這些都是你無法google到的真實情感。

所以,藝術家旅行必須,寫生必須,而我們對於過去,好奇必須。(202007)



Opening the Story Box of Time and Space for You

Nita Lo (Head of Department of Research and Development, KMFA)

The Year Circles of an Old City
In her Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places, Sharon Zukin indicated that the changes of a city (using New York as an example) is often an “irreversible” process. When the world around you is no longer the one you remember for it has been quickly overridden, replaced, or deleted by new architectures and things brought by “Urban Renewal Projects” as if everything is “rebooted” like a computer, how can you remember the world where you grew up?

During the election season, I heard many heated debates about the description of Kaohsiung as “an old and poor city”. As a local of Kaohsiung, I did not feel agitated by this description for I was thinking—What is wrong with Kaohsiung being an old city?

An “old” city is not necessarily a “poor” city. After all, there are many old cities around the world that are enjoying invaluable tourism wealth for they are ultimate destinations attracting tourists with their fascinating historical heritage.

Whether a city is “poor” or not should also be decided by the spiritual wealth of people living in it. After all, the history of a city is the most reliable source of nutrition for the well-being of human souls. The age of a city is like the year circles of a tree. The older a city is, the more year circles it grows with a larger accumulation of heritage and a richer collection of stories to be told.

In a city where there is no story passed down from generation to generation and where the cityscape is always changing with new buildings replacing old ones, people will eventually end up with collective forgetting. It represents a kind of spiritual “poverty”. Even though the city is decorated here and there with hypnotizing symbols or signs that read “Ai” (Chinese word for “love”) or “LOVE”, it is nothing but temporary self-delusion without really filling the void inside people living in the city.

Constantly Changing Cityscape

Because of all the different development models and administration methods throughout different periods of time, Kaohsiung seems to exhibit two extremes in its nature. For example, it is located next to the ocean but its “marine image” has been latent for quite a long time. How come? This history is mind-boggling to people from outside the city. Actually, most of the coastal areas of Kaohsiung have long been reserved for military use since the period of Martial Law. It is not until nearly 20 years ago that, thanks to the guidance of the city government through “interference measures” such as holding activities on the seashore and renovating warehouses in the old district of Kaohsiung Port, the authority in charge of all the ports in Taiwan started to gradually release its control over the coastal areas of Kaohsiung, allowing the general public to travel freely along the winding coastline here and broaden their “view” of the ocean.

For artists, their imagination has never been confined by political control. Among the scenes depicted in the paintings and photographic works by different generations of artists collected by KMFA, one of the most frequent choices is Mt. Chihou. Nicknamed “Saracen Head”, this mountain is one of the top choices for most artists to paint from different perspectives in Kaohsiung. The breathtaking scene of “Sunset at Mt. Chihou” highly acclaimed since many years ago is probably one of the most representative images of Kaohsiung.

Another site equally popular among artists is the Love River, one of the arteries of this city. All the bridges, mansions or gondolas along this river were nowhere to be seen in much earlier years. Back then, on both sides of the river, there were only swamps, mudflats, and saline ponds overgrown with mangrove, pandanus, thorny bamboo and other vegetation. Bamboo rafts of local fishmen were frequently seen sailing along the river. On each raft, the bamboo frames used to hang and release the fishing net added elegance to the river view with their beautiful arc shapes. The straw huts where local fishermen sundried and stored their fishing nets were the “mansions in the front row of river view”. When the river was later used for transportation of wood logs to the log basin downstream, these views along the river were replaced by different views of a new time.

In his Comments on Figures in Kaohsiung (Book II) , Chao Shih (originally known as Lin Shu-guang) described the lives of many intriguing influential Kaohsiung natives (including senior artists) and anecdotes of their times, providing us references to indirectly appreciate in detail how the landscape and society in Kaohsiung have changed.

Among the articles in this book, the one titled “Trailblazers of Western Medicine in Kaohsiung: Chuang Ma-chiang & Li Ping-sen” told the anecdote about a “nail resident” (resident who refused to accept any compensation and relocate for a development project) during the Japanese colonization period. Back then the Love River was called the “Takao River” and Hsu Chu, one of the residents on a sandbar in the river, adamantly refused to move for a river dredging project. The colonial government then dug deep ditches surrounding the sandbar to make it collapse amidst the erosion of river currents.

This anecdote, along with others, are now unverifiable stories about the cityscape transitions of Kaohsiung. They also remind us that all the architectural landmarks in a city, no matter how magnificent, will eventually disappear from the map someday.

Reading through the Chapters of Memory

Kaohsiung has evolved from the “Takao” a century ago to what it is today. Known for its industrial development and eagerly seeking industrial upgrading and transformation, this city is often shrouded by scorching heat and fumes that make people feel fretted.

Thanks to its bullet-sweating labor force, Kaohsiung has been enjoying significant industrial prosperity. The trucks carrying containers and running on the road constitute the most noticeable industrial image of this city, which accordingly gives rise to such representative activities of Kaohsiung as the “Steel and Iron Sculpture Festival” and the “Container Arts Festival”. If you think these are what “Kaohsiung” is all about, then you will have to think again!

Even though the history of Kaohsiung Port among the top commercial ports in the world is something worthy of dwelling upon, its development from a fishing village nearby a lagoon to a major commercial port has not only enriched an abundance of social, cultural, and industrial characteristics but also brought this city diverse historical facets. The historical prosperity along the Hamasen Railway that was used to transport exports from downtown to Kaohsiung Port during the Japanese colonization period is now something beyond the imagination of those young people flying kites, having picnics, and taking pictures in the Hamasen Railway Cultural Park or visiting one chic store after another at the Pier-2 Art Center and KW2.

During WWII, the Japanese navy intentionally sank many large-size ships at Kaohsiung Port to block the US navy from entering for supply replenishment. The wreckage clearing of these ships after the war brought Kaohsiung unexpected prosperity of its “ship dismantling kingdom”. However, this part of history not only brought people living in Hongmaogang industrial development but also left some damage difficult to undo (pollution of the ocean and danger of ship explosion). As people living in Hongmaogang moved out and their village was replaced by Hongmaogang Cultural Park, the local industrial prosperity is now no longer seen. The legendary history of Gongyuan Road in Yancheng District as the largest hub of second-hand machinery and hardware trade in Taiwan can now only be faintly felt through a visit to the cluster of not-so-busy hardware stores on the Hardware Street, the remnants of Guongyuan Road. Maybe, after all the tourism facilities are in place in the Kaohsiung Port Area, these hardware stores will be closed amidst rising land prices and this old street will also become another part of history.

However, Kaohsiung is more than an industrial stronghold city. It was also known for beautiful scenery such as the “Eight Scenes of Fengshan” during the Qing Dynasty or the “Eight Scenes of Kaohsiung” during the Japanese colonization period. These “recognition” titles of Kaohsiung’s landscape convey how physically and mentally “immersed” people back then were in the unique local scenery under different climatic and ecological conditions. Through these titles, people of later generations can have a vicarious feel of Kaohsiung’s glamor back then.

As time goes by, most people nowadays associate the landscape of Kaohsiung with only a few of its representative “looks” such as the sunset at Xizhi Bay, Chengcing Lake veiled by a fog, Lotus Pond with swaying willow branches. The other scenes among the above-mentioned titles have gradually faded like the beauty of a fine lady in her elder years after all the vicissitudes of life. The beauty of these forgotten scenes is no longer carefully and slowly savored by busy tourists but by viewers of paintings and/or photographic works depicting these places. Through the collections of art museums, viewers can read through all the chapters of memory about this city.

Among the collections of KMFA, Church in Kaohsiung, a painting by Chang Wan-chuan, gives a pan-impressionist depiction of Kaohsiung Rose Basilica and also reveals the past of this catholic church located on Wufu Road close to the estuary of Love River.

During each Christmas season, many people excitedly rush into this small cathedral with only few of them knowing that it was built on a patch of land reclaimed from the Love River by its members strenuously carrying sand and soil over themselves to fill the lot. Even though Chang’s painting is not a realistic rendition of the cathedral like a postcard, it can still inspire us to go back to those days to meet those believers who overcame what seemed impossible and built the church like the legendary Yugong (literally meaning “the old fool”) and his descendants who moved away the mountains in front of their house bit by bit.

Those who are painting from life or taking pictures on the street are probably also recording our present time that will soon become the past. Artists of different generations give us their interpretations of the world in their eyes, leaving evidence of “what was once there” for this city and taking us on a profound journey across time and space back to the past where history and culture was closely intertwined.

Extracting “Eternal” Images of the City

Different from the sizable collections of “self-evident” photographic works at history museums that can vividly retell historical “stories” of the past like a TV drama or movie, the paintings or images in the collections of art museums are unique in their interpretations, telling stories of the past beyond the images and allowing us to gaze at the “eternity” of a certain space or time despite the constantly changing and undulating values of different times.

Each painted or photographed image of the cityscape is like a story box of compressed time and space. Only when gradually “decompressed” by viewers, more stories will be extracted from it. As the skyline of this city is constantly changing amidst the fast passage of time and all the familiar sights are either destroyed or replaced, you will fall in love with this kind of “eternity”.

To make sure that local citizens of Kaohsiung will not feel “rootless” in their “hometown”, KMFA is holding this exhibition to relays the stories of this city through images. It is impossible to start a pursuit of collective memory about a place like Kaohsiung without artist records, such as works collected by KMFA, of its landscape changes, isn’t it?

Together with the eye-catching “Corridor of Landscape on Stone-drum Lightboxes” at the Kaohsiung Cultural Center and the board game of “Kaohsiung Landscape in Transition: Exploring the Museum Collection through Art Game”, this exhibition can serve as a “2D tour group”, taking viewers through time and space, through reality and virtuality, to better appreciate the scenic and social transitions of Kaohsiung. However, images are just images. It is hoped that each of you will have your own “one-day excursion in the city” to different places of this city with a heart filled with “nostalgia” to better remember this city in person.

Therefore, put on your sneakers and backpack and then use a map to navigate your way around in the streets and alleys of Kaohsiung, exploring the changes of its skyline and the subtle glamor of its history in the air, observing the elegant designs of windows and plaques of historical architectures, and savoring traditional delicacies and local atmosphere. These are all the real-life sensations you cannot find on Google.

As traveling around and painting from life is a must for an artist, so is having curiosity about the past for all of us. (202007)

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