The Unified Stroke

Calligraphy © Henry Lo Hon-yiu

 

盧漢耀 | Henry Lo Hon-yiu

Long fascinated by his late father’s traditional Chinese calligraphy, Hong Kong shufa artist Henry Lo Hon Yiu cultivated a keen interest in this art from an early age. Over recent years, he has ventured into new territory, developing a singular and fascinating technique, described below. The University of Hong Kong Museum and Art Gallery mounted a 2008 exhibit of his work, including a noted catalogue, The Unified Stroke, featuring 41 shufaIt may surprise some readers to learn that while he is an accomplished shufa artist, he is also a longtime practicing Hong Kong barrister. An alumnus of Hong Kong University in philosophy and political science, he is currently President of the HKU Arts Alumni Association. During his student years and after, among his many honors, he served as President of the HKU Students’ Union, and from 1987-2002, as a member of the HKU Court.

 

香港書法家盧漢耀,自幼受父親熏陶,雅愛中華書法,尤其鍾情草書。近年來致力於新的藝術探索,形成自己別具一格的草書手法(詳見下文)。2008年底,香港大學美術博物館展出了盧氏41幀草書作品, 並出版作品集《方圓一脈——盧漢耀書法》。除了其卓有成就的藝術家身份,盧氏亦是一位香港執業大律師,畢業於香港大學哲學系和政治系,曾任香港大學學生會會長。1987至2002年間任香港大學校董。1993至2002年間任香港大學畢業生議會副主席。現為香港大學文學院校友會主席。

Henry Lo Hon-yiu and The Unified Stroke

Chinese calligraphy, or shufa, has been a traditional art form for millennia, practiced by beginners, amateurs, and masters. On the sidewalks and parks where Chinese gather at leisure, one can even see practitioners writing with water on concrete, their brushes not the usual maobi, literally “fur pen”, but sponge-tipped wands dipped into buckets or basins. The characters live briefly, then evaporate. Emperors and scholars alike were known for their skill with hand, brush, ink, and paper. Shufa is one of the arts in which the whole being participates—heart, mind, body, and soul. Through this medium the full presence of the artist, as well as his surround, become inescapably manifest. All he is and has been, and all that includes the present moment, may flow out through his strokes. In shufa, there’s no place to hide, no room to second guess, no refuge of revision. It remains an art of the immediate, nonetheless expressing the totality of the past.

Traditionally, the paper on which the artist writes is laid flat on a large table, unmoving, anchored by a stone weight at its top. Henry Lo Hon-yiu, however, suspends his paper vertically. In concert with the air, it speaks through its resistance, yielding when the brush presses, but also shoving back. As the fibers of the brush skate across, plunging, sweeping, or flicking lightly, a unique colloquy occurs, each strength in conversation with the other. No longer the relatively passive recipient of each stroke, the paper assumes a far more active role, the air itself gaining voice, implicating all it inhabits. Thus a respiration occurs between hand and space, action and reaction—a wavelength of being in which both artist and world utter their essences. What remains on the page is nothing less than the track of that dialogue—a tide, a living pulse. For all these reasons, the artist has rightfully named his practice “The Unified Stroke”. Its very unpredictability, and the purity of its form, create an atmosphere enticing the transcendent, and with it the sublime.

 

盧漢耀與“方圓一脈”

中華書法藝術源遠流長,為各路愛好者所喜。在中國的公園裡,或路邊的休息之所,時常會見到練習者以毛筆蘸水,即刻在水泥地上書寫,一旁放著盛水的桶或小盆。漢字稍縱即逝,遁入空氣。多少帝王文士曾以這手、筆、墨、紙的功夫而聞名。書法是整個存在的藝術,是心、腦、身體與靈魂的結合。藝術家的全部氣質借此彰顯出來,毫無保留。他的過去和現在,直到最後這一瞬,皆有可能從筆鋒流露。在書法中,你無處藏身,不容第二次猜想,沒有修改的餘地。它是即時的藝術,卻傳遞著整個過去。

在創作時,傳統的書法家一般將紙擺在寬敞的案幾上,由紙鎮固定。而盧漢耀先生卻將紙懸空而掛。紙與空氣協奏,以阻力發聲,隨毛筆的壓迫而讓步,再將之推回。當筆毛在紙面上劃過,起落,回轉,或微微搖顫,一種獨特的對話便發生了,每一個作用力都在與另一個交談。紙不再被動地接受一筆一劃,而是積極地參與進來。空氣也獲得了自己的聲音,暗示內部的力量。於是,在手與空氣之間,作用與反作用之間,生發出一種呼吸,一個波長的存在——藝術家和外圍世界在此中同時吐露精華。留於紙上的則是這場對話的真切記錄——一次潮汐,一回脈搏的跳動。由此種種,藝術家為他創作方法的命名“方圓一脈”便再恰當不過了。它不可預知的特性和純粹的形式使通往超然成為可能,而莊嚴之美與之同在。

 

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