The Art of Dr. T. F. Chen:Neo-Iconography
About four years ago, as the Statue of Liberty was celebrating Her centennial birthday, Dr. Tsing-fang Chen, a Taiwanese artist living in the States, exhibited his one hundred paintings of a special Neo- Iconographic series on the subject of “The Spirit of Liberty” in New York. He painted them with his own style — “Neo-iconography” 一 to commemorate the occasion. Through this controversial and successful exhibition, Mr. Chen^ artistic talent began to be admired by world-wide renowned artists and American high-ranking officials, thus establishing his reputation. Soon afterwords, similar art shows were held in the major cities of Holland, Germany, France, USA, and Taiwan etc., all these were so successful that made his name more eminent and widespread.
The Taiwan Museum of Art recognizes him and his art. We invited him to show a major collection of his “Neo-iconography” from September fifteenth to October twenty-eighth at Gallery A3 and Gallery A5. The catalogue of this exhibition is published so that museum visitors and art lovers can gain a better understanding of Mr. Chen’s art.
Mr. Chen was born in 1936, Tainan County, Taiwan. Studying art since his youth, he nevertheless graduated from the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, Taiwan University. Painting, literature, and music are his preferences. He once was a delegate to the World Moral Rearmament and advocated Chinese culture. Granted a scholarship by the French Government, he left Taiwan in 1963, and stayed in Paris for twelve years, earned a Ph.D. in art history from La Sorborme, and spent seven years at L’Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. During this period, he learned much about painting and consecutively held many art shows. Meanwhile, he wrote articles about current trends of European contemporary art for vernacular magazines. After staying twelve years in Paris, he moved to America in 1975 and in 1983 became American citizen. When in the States, he engaged strenuously in the research of art and painting. In 1978, the term “Neo-Iconography” was given for his paintings to stand for his artistic ideas. Converged in his art work are images of the East and the West, past and present, tradition and con- temporary, to forge new meaningful expressions, a personal and unique style, thus making his art unprecedented.
The diverse schools within international art forum keep changing so frequently that we often feel confused by their dazzling radiance. Explaining his idea of Neo-Iconography, Dr. Chen says，“Essentially， Neo-Iconography is based on recognizable images remanaged and recombined creatively. It is a kind of new artistic presentation converging all types of fine arts, Oriental and Occidental, past and present etc., employing popular and symbolic images scintilating in the human mind to give a skillfully innovative expression”. Thus, Neo Iconography could be classified as an aspect of Post-Modernism. Such a bold attempt has drawn much attention to him and aroused an uproar in art circles.
By visiting Mr. Chen^ exhibition, we discover that he selected largely from human history <<icons,,> cultural images with symbolic meanings, for his visual vocabulary; and by montage, transformation, combination, appropriation, transplanting time and space, assuming situations… to express his ideal and ideas, in various artistic ways, using freely all sorts of possible techniques. It is a kind of conceptual art conveying message, at the same time an art endowed with particular themes and certain consciousness of an unrestrained creative mind. Even though Chen^ paintings are products of imagination, the way of his creating and his expression belong to Post-Modernism in character as well as in taste.
In order to manage well this exhibition, our vigorous Dr. Chen has spent much time and energy in preparation of art works, and also come to and fro between the States and our Museum several times to discuss details and offer assistance. I am grateful to him for such enthusiastic effort that made this exhibition successful both in arrangement and display. It is believable that Dr. Chen^ <<Neo-Iconography>,, togather with his philosophy on art, will bring a revolutionary change which will contribute to the development of art, here in his homeland and abroad.
在四年前，當美國自由女神立像一百週年紀念時，我國旅 美畫家陳錦芳博士，以其所創「新意像派」（Neo- Iconography)之「自由女神」百幅連作，在紐約展出以示慶 祝，曾轟動一時，獲得若干國際藝術家和美國政府高級官員的 重視和讚譽。此後復在荷蘭、德國、法國、美國及台灣等重要 城市展出類似作品多次，因之他的成就和聲譽更加響亮，爲中 國人在國際藝壇上爭得榮耀和好評。
台灣省立美術館重視陳錦芳先生其人其畫，特邀請於今年 九月十五日至十月廿八日在A3,A5展覽室舉行「新意象派」繪 畫特展，同時將其百幅作品印行專輯問世，社會人士得以參 閱，相得益彰，堪稱藝壇盛事。
陳氏爲台南縣歸仁鄕人，民國廿五年（一九三六）出生， 台灣大學外國語文學系畢業，對繪畫、文學、音樂均極愛好； 曾當選代表我國靑年，參加世界道德重整會議並宣揚中華文 化。一九六三年返台不久，獲得法國政府獎學金到法國留學， 在巴黎大學硏修藝術史而取得了博士學位。在繪畫方面，他在 巴黎藝術學院硏習了數年，嘗相繼舉行畫展，並爲台灣藝術刊 物撰寫不少歐洲藝術動態文章。在巴黎生活了十二年之後，於 一九七五年搬到美國，至一九八三年他成爲美國公民。在美期 間，他更積極地從事繪畫的硏究和創作，於一九七八年想出了 「新意象派」這個名詞以把握他的創作理念一其作品綜合傳 統與現代，取中外古今而出新意，風格獨特與衆不同，是一項 創舉。
國際畫壇各種流派不斷在變，常有令人眼花瞭亂，目不暇 給之感。陳氏所創的「新意象派」，據他自己解釋：「簡單來說， 新意象派是奠基於可辨認之形像予以創新的重新駕馭和組 合，這是一種溶滙古今中外之藝術於一爐，吸取人類心靈裡閃 耀著的象徵形像，而巧妙地創新表現的新藝術。……」照此解 釋，「新意象派」應被認爲屬於「後現代主義」（Post-Modern- ism)的繪畫，是一項大膽創新的嘗試，故給藝壇帶來振撼， 引起各方重視。
看了陳先生的展出作品，其中很多係取材於人類歷史上具 有象徵意義的「文化形像」（即意象Icon)，加以剪接、變貌、 有機組合，或時空移位，或境况假設，自由選用各種適切的技 法作畫以載道的觀念藝術，也是具有特定主題及某種意識的藝 術心靈之自由幻化所產生的藝術，雖然完全是想像的產物，但 其創作方式及表現手法，正是後現代主義的特點及趣味所在。
精力充沛的陳錦芳博士，爲了辦好這次的展覽，此前除了不斷加緊準備作品外，還數次專程自美返國，來本館接洽、協 商和提供協助，致籌備與展出都順利成功，故特此致謝。相信 其所創「新意象派」及繪畫觀，對國內乃至國際的現代繪畫發 展，或可有革命性的改變和提昇，我們將拭目以待之。
Born in Tainan, Taiwan, 1936, T.F. Chen graduated from National Taiwan University. Awarded a scholarship by the French Government, Chen went to Paris in 1963 where he stayed for twelve years, obtained at La Sorbonne, a M.A. degree in French Contemporary Literature, and a Ph.D. degree in History of Modern Art with “very honorable mention” while attending simultaneously at L’Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts for seven years. In 1969, summing up his philosophy in “Five-Dimensional Universal Culture”, Chen initiated “Neo-lconography” for his pictorial creation which leaded to produce series of artwork, such as 100 paintings on “The Statue of Liberty”（1986)，50 paintings on “The Eiffel Tower”（1989) and 100 paintings on Van Gogh as
“Post-Van Gogh Series” etc. T.F. Chen has held more than 70 one-man shows in Europe, America, and Asia, and has published several books including “Notes on Paintings in Paris” (1969), “Ten Years of my Pictorial Voyages”（1974)，“The Spirit of Liberty,) (1986). Chen was elected as chairperson for Fine-Arts Section in International Conference on the Arts, (AAI, Paris 1987, New York 1988). Now Chen lives in SoHo (150 Spring ST. NYC 10012) and his artwork is permanently displayed at Lucia Gallery (SoHo) and Gallery New World (Taipei, Taiwan)
In 1983, T.F. Chen obtained a medal, an “Achievement Award in Arts and Humanities” of Taiwan-American Foundation，with the following comment: u… Having received long and complete academic education in arts, Tsing-fang Chen, converging East and West, both in artistic creation and philosophical approach, established ‘Five- Dimensional Universal Culture’ in theory and ‘Neo-iconography’ in artistic expression. Thus brings eminent contibution to both realms.”
陳錦芳一九三六年生於台南。台灣大學畢業後考取法國政 府獎學金，於一九六三年赴巴黎留學。在法十二年，先後獲得 巴黎大學之法國現代文學碩士及現代美術史之博士學位（特優 評等）之同時在巴黎美術學院進修七年。一九六九年完成其「五 次元世界文化觀」並在藝術創作方面建立「新意象派」（Neo- Iconography)之畫風。其不斷推出的連作包括「自由女神」 (百幅1986) ;「巴黎鐵落」（五十幅1989)，及「後梵谷系列」 百幅連作（1990)等。陳錦芳已在歐、美、亞三洲舉行過七十 次以上個展，並出版六本藝術書籍包括「巴黎畫誌」、「畫遊十年」、「自由的精神」等。陳錦芳榮任AAI舉辦之國際藝術會議 美術組主席（1987在巴黎，1988在紐約舉行）。目前陳錦芳定居 紐約蘇荷區，其作品經常展出於蘇荷之「露琪亞畫廊」及台北 之「新世界畫廊」。
一九八三年陳錦芳榮獲第一屆「台美基金會」人文科學獎 牌，其評語爲「…浸淫長期而完整的藝術學院敎育。其藝術創 作，思想歷程以東方、鄕土爲出發，融合西方文化，獨創『新 意象派』畫風及『五次元世界文化觀』，對人文哲學、藝術潮流有嶄新的貢獻」。
Posted in 2015/01