早前在The Gallery by SOIL舉行的「The New Wave 新浪潮」漆藝展覽，展品包括有日常使用的器物，也有形態各異、使用新的漆藝技法的藝術品。當中展出多位來自不同國家的當代漆藝家的作品，有些形態如雕塑，有些則像油畫般充滿詩意，打破昔日對漆的印象。例如法國的藝術家Célia Debras喜愛探索漆的運用，並將漆融合當代建築的元素。她的《Weightlessness》系列，結合天然漆、木材和棉花結合成似重還輕的雕塑。如銹鐵般的質感、粗糙與凹凸不平的外表，打破了漆予人光滑亮麗的印象；不規則的摺疊和流線型的線條，與輕巧堅固的特質形成對比，讓人想起Zaha Hadid富現代感的建築。
It appears to many that lacquerware is something sublimely unreachable, isolated with a sense of solitude. Yet the lacquer work by artists Akito Akagi and Jun Anzai come across to me as approachable and dynamic — Akagi’s tea caddies have a metallic touch to the appearance due to the various mineral powders added in the lacquer, and Anzai’s small and lightweight vases have a surface that sometimes resembles bronze. The warmth and quiet texture of these lacquer work is simply captivating. The lacquer made from the tree sap signifies the generative power of nature, and its application on different media materials such as leather, paper, wood, and cotton has been a subject of study and experiment to a lot of contemporary artists. Blending traditional techniques with contemporary skills and aesthetics, these artists are bringing endless possibilities to lacquer art.
Recently, a lacquer art exhibition themed “New Wave” was held at The Gallery by SOIL. The exhibition brought together contemporary lacquer artists of diverse cultures and showcased a number of lacquer tableware as well as some inventive collectibles and artworks that are crafted with contemporary lacquer making methods. French artist Célia Debras, who is known for integrating lacquer in contemporary architecture, debuted her collection, “Weightlessness” in the exhibition. She created the collection with the unusual material combination of natural lacquer, wood, and cotton. The rustic texture and rough surface of her creations pose a drastic contrast to the traditional smooth and glossy lacquer works, while the irregular shape and delicate contour offer an element of surprise that resembles the modern architectural works by Zaha Hadid.
The exhibition also featured the work by the Beijing-born Wei Nan who developed an interest in lacquer and woodwork when she studied as an exchange student at Saga University in Japan, and later on ventured into the world of lacquer sculptures. Having been exposed to different cultures, Wei has developed her own artistic philosophy and a unique sense of aesthetics. She relies greatly on intuition and often creates without a sketch. To her, getting to know the materials is the essential first step of the creation process. As a contemporary artist, Wei embraces non-traditional techniques and is known for experimenting with mixed media. Her sculpture work, which is notable for its abstract form and astonishing contour, combines the hard and durable lacquer with elastic fabric and leather, instead of wood or cloth which is commonly used, posing an interesting juxtaposition that’s worth pondering.
The Japanese lacquer artist Mine Tanigawa is also lauded for her abstract style. Her signature creations are composed of lines and curves that are associated with brush strokes seen in ink drawing. Two years ago, Tanigawa had her first solo exhibition “Brush” in Hong Kong showcasing some humble yet modern pieces created based on the motif of the brushstroke. The expressive and carefree floating strokes is the manifestation of the long-standing language and culture. To Tanigawa, simplicity is the essence, and plants and nature is her source of inspiration. She once said in an interview that her work is the artistic representation of the breeze and wind flow of her hometown. The scent of freedom and lightness is expressed through the structural form of lacquer works. The long creation process that involves the application of lacquer and polishing makes her aware of the moment, her emotion and breath, and the flow of time. Going beyond structural form and shape, the lacquer art renders to the world the magnificence of nature in a unique way.