Wang Houtoang "Kung-Fu Ink" , Exhibition Prrview
June 1 – June 30, 2024 / Curator: Ethan Cohen; Co-curator: Gan Yu and Xingde Sheng / Exhibition Assistant: Chere Hong
 
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Kung Fu embodies the essence of martial arts, while Ink stands as the core of calligraphy. Kung Fu ink is divided into five colors, representing a fusion of culture and martial arts, harmonizing the unity of heaven and earth. This serves as the central theme of Mr. Wang Houtang’s martial arts calligraphy exhibition. Additionally, Mr. Ethan Cohen has combined the themes of Kung Fu and calligraphy, naming it "Kung Fu Ink." Mr. Cohen's choice of name not only emphasizes the exhibition's theme but also astutely conveys the notion that Kung Fu ink is the soul of Chinese calligraphy and painting.

Qi is the life force of kung fu. As Mr. Wang practices, he channels qi throughout his body, beginning from the dantian (lower abdomen), allowing his chest and gallbladder to open. Qi courses through him, reaching from his back to his shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and finally to the pen and ink. With each stroke, qi merges with the ink, imprinting Chinese characters onto the white paper. This flow of qi mirrors a series of kung fu movements, evoking imagery of time's passage, rushing streams, and swirling clouds and mist. The characters brim with vitality and energy, serving as a medium for Mr. Wang to express his heartfelt emotions. The characters are full of vitality and energy, and through them, Mr. Wang expresses his feelings from his heart. Kung Fu is an accumulation of energy over time. Mr. Wang was born in Shandong, China, and is a practitioner of martial arts, literature, and culture. He began practicing martial arts at the age of 7, studying under Li Yingqi, a close disciple of Lin Shiyin. Lin Shiyin, a third-generation master of Lin iron sand palm, is renowned for his expertise in China and abroad. At the age of 7, Mr. Wang also began practicing calligraphy, inheriting the art from his family's heritage. In his youth, he was deeply influenced by the art of the famous father and son pair of painters and calligraphers, Wang Zhongnian and Wang Shu, under whose guidance his calligraphy skills greatly improved. For the past twenty years, he has practiced calligraphy for four hours a day, three hundred and thirty days a year, accumulating thirty thousand hours. In his book "Outliers," writer Malcolm Gladwell pointed out, "the reason geniuses are outstanding is not because their natural talent is superhuman, but because they put in continuous effort. 10,000 hours of practice is the necessary condition for anyone to turn from the ordinary into a world-class master. 10,000 hours of practice is what it takes for anyone to go from ordinary to world-class mastery." He called this the "law of 10,000 hours." Mr. Wang has surpassed this milestone with over 30,000 hours of diligent practice, resulting in the creation of Kung Fu Ink.

Kung Fu Ink originates from the Kung Fu brush, a tool wielded by Mr. Wang with remarkable prowess. Crafted by hand, his iron brush weighs over 40 pounds, yet under his skilled hands, it moves with remarkable fluidity, delivering bold and forceful strokes. These vigorous movements, akin to those of martial arts, exhibit a seamless interplay of Xingshi and Yunqi, transitioning between strokes and character formations, resulting in a distinctive style of Kung Fu calligraphy characterized by grace, dynamism, and uniqueness. Each stroke is executed with precision, exuding vitality and energy, as if choreographing a captivating martial arts performance on paper. Unrestrained yet disciplined, weighty yet elegant, agile yet solemn, Mr. Wang's brushwork embodies a harmonious fusion of essence, spirit, and qi, resonating with the tension of bone, blood, and flesh. Within the ink and pen lie the lyrical colors and aesthetics of individuality, culminating in an awe-inspiring synthesis of Kung Fu and calligraphy—an artistry that captivates and inspires.

Moreover, a kung fu practitioner is indispensable for the creation of kung fu ink. Like his approach to kung fu, Mr. Wang engages in calligraphy practice. Through this art form, he not only refines his physical techniques but also nurtures his mental faculties. The act of calligraphy becomes a holistic practice, blending the elements of brush, ink, body, and mind into the essence of kung fu. It transcends mere artistic expression; rather, it embodies a way of life—a quest for the harmonious integration of kung fu and calligraphy through the medium of kung fu ink. Mr. Wang's practice takes place on a six-acre plot of land situated in downtown Yantai. Here, amidst a landscape adorned with exotic flowers, mountain springs, and tranquil ponds, he has constructed a residence and garden. This idyllic setting serves as a nurturing environment for his pursuit of kung fu ink, allowing it to flourish in harmony with nature, infused with the essence of the sun and the moon. Thus, the cultivation of kung fu ink unfolds within the simplicity and beauty of a rustic life. Since then, an iron pen has traversed the globe ceaselessly. Mr. Wang has garnered international

Bruce Lee famously stated that the pinnacle of kung fu mastery lies in being akin to water—formless and fluid. Embodying the essence of water demands clearing the mind, a state achieved through expression. Mr. Wang, a devoted practitioner of kung fu, seamlessly integrates its principles into the flow of ink. This fluidity allows him to channel his emotions onto the paper, facilitating a connection with newfound vitality and reflecting the true essence of kung fu ink.

Mr. Wang finds solace in studying and transcribing the 'Heart Sutra,' which expounds on concepts of emptiness, nonexistence, impermanence, and the direct perception of one's true nature. Upon beholding one's true essence, marvelous imagery emerges. At the Kung Fu Ink Exhibition, Mr. Wang meticulously transcribed the Heart Sutra using a vibrant brush, inscribing each character with precision. Each word adorned a separate sheet, each sheet measuring four feet in length, totaling 260 characters. This endeavor epitomized the essence of Kung Fu ink, showcasing the revelation of true nature and the emergence of wondrous imagery.

The Kung Fu Ink Exhibition, thoughtfully coordinated and generously aided by Mr. Cohen and Professor Gan Yu, is a bold effort to link contemporary visual experiences with traditional ink artistry, while retaining the traditional strokes of Chinese calligraphy. Moreover, the utilization of five-color ink and transitional water techniques in calligraphy has intensified the ink effect, fully showcasing the Kung Fu impact of QiYun in single-character calligraphy. This conveys the essence of Kung Fu and QiYun within individual characters, while also presenting the atmosphere and FengShui of the artwork visually.

The curation of Kung Fu Ink is distinctive, particularly in the rendition of the core piece, the 'Heart Sutra,' which encapsulates the ink style known as "five shades of ink." The exhibition hall itself transforms into an expansive, otherworldly realm of ink painting, enveloped by drifting clouds and swirling mist. The entire exhibit is intended as an artistic masterpiece,
inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the ethereal essence of the 'Heart Sutra' and the enchanting beauty of Kung Fu ink.

(Article by Sheng Xingde)

功夫,是通住武道至境的唯一修 习手段 ; 水墨,是 書法的核心 ; 功夫墨,墨分五色,文武一炉,乾坤 合一, 这就是王厚堂先生武术书法展的主题,而一 森 · 科恩先生 (Ethan Cohen) 将两者合一,称其 为 “ 功夫墨 “ 。科恩先生 创建此名不仅以神来之笔为展 览点睛,也把 “ 功夫墨 “ 是丹青之魂巧妙地表达出 来。

功夫,在本 质上是時间的能量累積。王厚堂先生出 生于山東,文武双修。他 7 岁开始練武,青年时 期拜林世英关 ⻔弟子李英奇为师,现为林氏铁砂掌第 三代掌門人, 铁沙掌功夫冠盖中外。同時,秉承家 学 , 7 岁开始临贴习字,青年时代又深受著名书画家 王仲年、王澍父子的 艺术熏染和指点,书法功力大 进。近二十年,一年三百三十日,一日四小時,如 是二十年,有近三万小時 . 作家格拉德威 尔在《 异 类》一书中指出, “ 人 们眼中的天才之所以卓越非 凡,并非天 资超人一等,而是付出了持续不断的努 力。 1 万小 时的锤炼是任何人从平凡变成世界级大 师的必要条件。 ” 他将此称 为 “ 一万小 时定律 ” 。王老师已是 5 万小時,功夫墨成矣。

功夫墨源于功夫筆,王先生自制 铁筆,重逾四 十磅,一枝 铁筆,在他手下,揮運自如,刚劲有力 的笔触,犹如拳法中的一招一式,武 术拳势中的 起伏、行 势、运气、使转、腾挪化為筆势与字势,创 作出一种 潇洒劲健、极具动感、别开生面的功夫书 法。每一笔每一划都充 满了生机与活力,仿佛在纸面 上展 现出一场精彩的武术表演,奔放自由,法度严谨,厚重不失飘逸,灵动不失庄严。精、神、气 的渗透,骨、血、肉的 张力,极具个性的抒情色彩 和 审美,尽在筆墨之中,功夫墨,功夫筆,筆墨功 夫成就功夫人,妙哉。而功夫墨,最 终当然源于功夫之人,王先生是練 功之人,他将練字也當作練功,而練功是練身,練心,書 为心畫,修身养心,筆,墨,身,心,融 合在功夫之中,是一种生活方式, 这是王先生的功 夫墨的真 实追求,他在生意成功之后,便在煙台市 区 购置了六英亩土地,建造房屋,修建園林,植奇 花异卉,引山泉,筑池塘,水墨在山水清音中滋潤,功夫在日月精 华中增⻓,功夫墨的涵养是平实的 生活之美。

李小 龙说,功夫的最高境界是似水无形 . 似水,便 须放空,而放空的方法是表达。王厚堂是練功之 一,将功夫傅于水墨的流動之中,不正是功夫墨的本 质吗 ? 不正是似水无形的最好解 释吗 ? 王先生喜 读心经,喜写心经,心经讲空,讲无生无 灭,无相,直⻅本性,本性⻅则妙相现,真空妙有 是也。 这次功夫墨展,王厚堂先生以五彩筆书心经,一字一纸,一纸四尺, 260 字, ⻅本真之性, 现妙有之相,是为功夫墨展 。

功夫墨展,由科恩先生和 喻干教授的精心策划和 大力帮助,是 对现代视觉图式体验和传统水墨连接 的一次大膽 尝试,既不失中国书法的传统筆法,又 将五色墨与 传统水量技法運用于书法之中,放大了书 法的水墨效果,并充分彰 现了气韵在獨體字书法 的功夫效 应,将功夫与气韵的信息承载在单字之中 ,作品的气埸和 ⻛水在视觉效果中显示 。

功夫墨的策展匠心獨運,心 经主體的创作体现 " 墨 分五色 " 的水墨 ⻛格,整个展厅是一个空灵广大又 渾厚 华滋的水墨世界,沉浸溶入,开放创新,四周 云煙流動, 满室穆穆以忱,整个展览當以一幅作品 观之,今人沉浸于心经的空灵之相,流连于功夫墨 的 实相之妙 。

(沈新德撰文)

 
 
 
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