⟨ Craft ⟩

An expression floating in air

A sculpture emerges from the soil

texts / Ron Lam
translation / Iris Heung

日文中有「ゆるい」(Yurui)一詞,原本指緩慢而鬆弛,近年來常被用來形容藝術作品——不嬌揉與矯情,不會用力過度,不刻意粉飾,或者,用雕塑家沢田英男的說法,就像是「從泥土中自然生長出來的東西。」

沢田英男說,他希望製作出像雜草般的作品,自然而生。這位曾經立志要成為西洋雕塑的藝術家,曾經為西方精致仔細的石像而著迷,取得德國政府的獎學金留學後,卻才深深體會到日本文化感性面的美。比起具象的西洋雕塑,他更被日本美學的留白所打動。本來以大自然的一事一物作藍圖,而往細微處鑽的雕刻刀,漸漸給解放出來,他隨心地一雕一削,「自然」從他手裡塑造出來。

看沢田英男的雕塑時,總禁不住站遠一點點,把包圍它的空間都納進眼內,彷彿它所處空間都是屬於它的,彷彿牆壁的餘白都是作品的一部分。「失敗的時候,就是添加了多餘事物的時候。」他雕刻的人物往往是臉目模糊的,你看不到他們的表情,但表情就在空氣裡。沢田英男握著雕刻刀的手緩慢而鬆弛,只有最輕柔、具餘裕的動作,才能在雕刻木材的同時,雕刻著空氣。

The Japanese word “ゆるい”, pronounced as “Yurui”, is originally an adjective which means slow and loose. In recent years, the word has gained an unlikely popularity to depict art pieces as unpretentious, or in other words, art that is not exaggeratedly sensational. According to sculptor Hideo Sawada, such art appears as if “something organically emerges from the soil”.

Sawada wants his works to resemble wildflowers that grow naturally in the wild. Before being attracted to the tenderness of Japanese culture, Sawada was once a westernized sculptor who received a German scholarship and embraced the precision of European sculptures. Getting touched by the minimalistic Japanese art and its mastery of blank space, he had then walked further away from western aesthetics which tends to replicate the minute details of the naturalistic environment. Following the core of his heart, Sawada focuses more on the manifestation of nature rather than a sheer representation.


Admiring the sculptures by Hideo Sawada, one cannot refrain from taking a few steps back to take in the surrounding space, as if the blank wall behind the work was an intentional backdrop to the entire viewing experience. “Redundancy is what disrupts the beauty of a work.’ The characters he sculpted do not carry distinctive facial features, their facial expressions are hardly noticeable because they have transformed into a certain vibe that lingers in the air. You can imagine how Hideo Sawada uses his carving skills in a slow and lax manner in creating such tender touch on his works. It is not only the wood that he carves but also the aura surrounding it.