If you were to describe 2020 in one colour, what would that be?
Would black be your answer? If so, this predictable response is normal as culture and society has correlated black with countless negative connotations.
近期，或許只有法國藝術家皮耶·蘇拉吉的作品才能夠充分表達我們對未知的不安。厲為閣（Lévy Gorvy）為皮耶·蘇拉吉所舉辦的個展「皮耶·蘇拉吉:黑出晦冥」(PierreSoulages: Outrenoir) 細說了 藝術家100年來滔滔不絕的傑出創作足跡。蘇拉吉1919年在法國出生，自小被洞穴畫作及古代雕塑所薰陶 。他追憶說：「人類最初在黑暗的洞穴中繪畫。他們本身可以用白色石頭來繪畫。不過，他們特意選用黑色石頭。背後原因我們難以理解，但此事帶來的影響變得廣泛，造作了用黑色來繪畫的常態。這的確是不可思議的發現」！
However, if we could adopt Pierre Soulages’s attitude and ideology towards black, perhaps we could find a sense of release and serenity from our exhausted minds. A great learning source would be Lévy Gorvy’s celebratory exhibition Pierre Soulages: Outrenoir. For 100 years, the artist’s matured expression revolved around the color black. Throughout his triumphal career, the marriage between canvas and black paint created surprising visual outcomes. In retrospect, the colour choice can be traced back to young Soulages’s childhood. Since age 7, his paintings of abstract branch patterns inspired research into prehistoric drawings. His admiration and curiosity on cave-paintings and statues provoked a lifelong dedication of pure black paintings. At this point, you may wonder what is the fascination with the color black? For Soulages, his fascination revolved around the thought that “man went into completely dark caves to paint. They could have painted with white because there were white stones all over the ground, but no, they chose to paint with black in the dark. It’s incredible, isn’t it?”
接著，藝術家便開始探索黑色的潛能。它既是顏色，又不是顏色。對於當時年紀及經驗尚淺的蘇拉吉來言，用黑色顏料來創作既興奮，又滿載挑戰。他表示：「我喜歡黑色的權威。它是一種不妥協的顏色。 暴烈的顏色，卻又內斂。當光在黑色中映現時，它會改變它、使它變質。它打開了一個全然自我的精神領域」 。
For the rest of his career, Soulages strenuously explored the possibility of blackness. Enticed by masters such as Cezanne and van Gogh, Impressionists influenced his artistic language in expressing abstraction and hues. In 1947, Soulages’s attempt with walnut stain served as a significant hallmark in his prolific oeuvre. He began to incorporate everyday materials in displaying depth of hue, and opacity. Indeed, the broad wide strokes in Peinture (1953) capture the artist’s gesture and movement. From top to bottom, each stroke conveys the artist’s strength, grip and most importantly, the functionality and purpose of his tools in the painting. The controlled strokes and layering in Peinture exhibits movement under control. The result emphasized his belief of “limiting possibilities and compression by creating paintings using his own brushes and scrapers”
自1940年，皮耶·蘇拉吉的作品集開始變得豐盛。當其時，著名後印象主義藝術家塞尚及梵高的名譽已深受矚目，地位非同凡響 。當藝術家參考塞尚及梵高的作品時，他逐漸了解到抽象風格的力量和真諦。大師巨作的奪目色彩配搭更促使了蘇拉吉去發掘顏料和光線之關係。1947年，蘇拉吉在作品中融入了核桃色油彩 。接著，《 識珍》展覽中的《繪畫 195 x 130 厘米，1953年7月28日》展示到粗獷筆觸與核桃色輕盈重疊，明顯地表露各種媒介的特質。筆觸從上至下，表達出藝術家有節制地利用各種媒介。顏料與帆布共舞，反映出藝術家的別具用心 。對蘇拉吉而言： 「形式越簡單，表達力越強！」。
From 1960 onwards, Soulages’s study of dark tones, light and texture would be imperative to his matured paintings. Since 1966, his method of “free-floated” paintings (hanging works without frame or side-trimming the canvas) captured everyone’s attention 3 . Using such a unique method of installation, people were able to gather around the painting, seeing its back and front, allowing them to engage within the autonomy and purpose of the canvas.
在1966年，藝術家開始嘗試以「自由浮動」的方法來展示作品。此方法是讓畫作處於無框架的狀態下懸掛。藉此，藝術家能夠誠邀觀眾在展館內圍繞作品前後 ，自主地讓人鑑賞。與此同時，這種展示方式更能夠特顯畫布、顏料和藝術工具的結合，增強藝術家為作者的身份。的確，要與皮耶·蘇拉吉的作品建立關係、交流，甚至完全解讀都是較為困難的。蘇拉吉的畫作均是探索黑色的未知數。他令光線遊走在畫布與顏料的簷蓬間，產生細微的視覺變化，從而超越黑色實質，創造出光與黑色的流動。 自60年代起，藝術家的創作忠旨便是要擴大對「超越黑色」的領悟。「超越黑色」為藝術家獨創的詞彙，是要來形容在人類認知上超越黑色的可能性。透過作品集，藝術家想鼓勵觀眾用黑色顏料去審視個人對黑色的偏見，從而擴寬我們的視野。
When viewing a Pierre Soulages’s in person, many may find his black paintings ambiguous. In reality, Soulages was working with surfaces and hues of black. The artist guides light within the canvas and the paint. A light that is very subtle, yet able to transcend the notion of outrenoir, a state that is beyond black, where light transmuted black. (A term coined by Pierre Soulages in 1979) 4 . Hence, Lévy Govry (Hong Kong) latest exhibition in collaboration with Pierre Soulages Pierre Soulages: Outrenoir continues to display and explore the possibility of black paint. As the artist painted until his passing, this series is also a celebratory of his perseverance and dedication. In particular, the structured black and blue hues in Peinture 102 x 165 cm (2020) is an agglomeration of his pinnacle years. It is in reference to his cobalt blue stamp series in 1986. As light is cast upon Peinture, our optical senses began to trace the motion of light, reflection and darkness, which is presented by the painting’s layering and flatness, a composition that was based on the artist’s experimental technique and the result of his tools.
Back of Peinture
202 x 143 cm, 8
Acrylic on canvas
© Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York / ADAGP, Paris
本次展覽中，「繪畫102 x 165厘米」成為了全場焦點。 油畫於2020年完成， 從結構和顏色運用，觀眾可發現此油畫正是呼應1986年的郵票系列，並是結合多年來的深造技巧。作品中的強硬筆觸正是用刮刀把紫藍色與黑色顏料厚塗在畫布上，所呈現的非凡效果，如同顏料在畫布上滑翔。光線微微的折射在顏料表面，彷彿在提示漆黑中的變幻彩色。縱使大眾對蘇拉吉的作品集有所疑惑，可是，在他的視野中，黑色卻是代表宇宙的開端及無盡的可能性。假如沒法創作，他才會覺得自己身處黑洞，被綑綁。只有有機會繪畫，他才感受到自由。或許，當我們改變以往對黑暗的認知和思維，便能脫離黑暗的綑綁。
As an acclaimed French abstract artist, he faced an abundant uncertainty throughout his career. However, he was reminded of the infinite possibility with darkness, a symbol of origin of life and of colour. As Dominique and Brett Gorvy noted, “paintings, though, could outlast even his bones, even his name. And so, he thought, although my time in this modern world is limited, because I can paint, I am free.” Perhaps if we adopt similar bravery and persistence alike Pierre Soulages did, we could discover light as we navigate in total darkness.
- 皮耶·蘇拉吉作品回顧展，2009年12月22日， http://www.artspy.cn/news/view/2181
- Alfred Pacquement and Brooks Adams著，《A Century》, 厲為閣2019年出版
- 皮耶·蘇拉吉，《黑出晦暝》, Barbara Anastacio, 27 January, 2015,
- Benoit Raimbault, Pierre Soulages, Minimalissimo, 2010年冬，
- A Century, Levy Gorvy , Pierre Soulages, Levy Gorvy, 2019
- Pierre Soulages: Outrenoir , Barbara Anastacio , 27 January, 2015,