花朝綻放的自由香氣-張頌仁

Liberation by Floral Fragrance-Chang Tsong-zung


‘食色性也’的真諦在近世科學的透視鏡下掀開了新頁。味蕾的普世魅力背後還隱藏一個秘密,就是味覺享受其實源自於嗅覺。實驗室聲稱:口腔的味道,九成以上來自嗅覺。所以‘香氣襲人’才是‘性也’之本。難怪歷代雅士偏愛時花。

 

十二花神之美各有千秋,不過重點不在花貌,而根本在於花香。花香之幽、暗、清、濃,烘托了花貌的雅、秀、麗、豔,使人心蕩,讓人神迷。

 

在時代政治蕩遷和資本消費炫目的世代,多元意識型態對思想與感官的支配競出奇招,人的真性何以自持,實在是藝術家最須關切的首要大事。中國在九十年代開始全面接受消費文化衝擊,藝術思潮在‘八五’以後又一次面對全新的挑戰,大多藝術家的神經立即被新政治經濟的文化意義所挑動,為此調整創作的焦點,而當年還是新晉的蔡錦也在其列。不同的是,蔡錦感受到的新風不在於思潮激變,而著意在新時代經濟競相爭取的感官空間、感性魅力。她在這裏嗅到了一絲自由的空氣。那不是新自由商業的空氣,也不是對舊生活的反抗,而是來自徹底擺脫一切抽象思潮的人性空間。路邊腐朽的美人蕉葉在不經意之間驚動了肉體的慾望,使蔡錦不顧一切地投入她對這個感覺的描述,企圖在重複的畫題下陳述一個人性的真諦。肉體的感性慾望突然把人與天地的生命結合一起,神奇地解脫了所有的社會束縛。她在鄉村路邊嗅到了花神的召喚。

 

花朝節在每年二月中旬,訂於華夏情人節的元宵之後一個月,當天舉國為百花慶祝生日。花朝節傳統的深意,或許正是為了食色之性的人性慶祝生日。在聲色和口腹之慾的背後,在花貌與風月的情景的掩護之下,花氣不動聲色地開啟了人性的感性如來,動員了被神教和政教所壓抑的天地之心,由是打開了超越社會制度與任何宗教信仰的自由天地。十二花神的秘笈看來竟是季節的花香, 襲人的香氣才是慾望的鑰匙。人性本來的情慾,不由得意識型態支配,那是與生俱來的自由。

 

難怪蔡錦對各路花仙花神的迷戀!

 

 

                                  序花仙集於中华人民共和第六十八年國慶日

Confucius says the desire for food and sensuality is basic to human nature, and under the scrutinizing lens of modern science this truth takes a new turn. The universal seduction of taste is found to hide a secret; laboratory science has now discovered that over ninety percent of culinary taste is accounted for by the sense of smell. No wonder classical Chinese poets have described how fragrances ‘assault’ the senses, and why over the centuries the blossoming of seasonal flowers has been a popular excuse for literati parties. The Twelve Monthly Flower Goddesses celebrated by Chinese folk culture have always been equally celebrated for the loveliness of their blossoms and their distinctive fragrances.

 

China of the 1990 was marked by dramatic political upheavals and the sudden onslaught of consumerism, and competing ideologies started to make alternative claims on people’s senses and modes of thought. Artists were naturally stimulated by the new reality, and one of the main challenges for creativity was for artists to stay true to themselves amidst the radical changes. Cai Jin, a sensitive soul, was among the innovators, but what stimulated her art was not the social-political changes surrounding her. The fresh freedom she sensed came neither from the opening of the economy nor from social rebellion, but from a space for human nature that radically diverges from that claimed by any ideology. The encounter of a row of decaying banana plants in the countryside awakened a carnal sensuality so powerful that she plunged into a painting career that over the years produced an extended series of works exploring the magic of this experience. It was as though the body found a natural communion with the world that was free from any constraints of society. Unexpectedly and wonderfully, Cai Jin had responded to the calling of the Flower Goddesses.

 

The traditional Flower Day Festival comes a month after China’s lover’s festival, the First Lunar Full Moon Festival, and it celebrates the birthday of all flowers. One might speculate that this birthday festival was designed to celebrate human nature, a nature that is grounded on food and sensuality, as Confucius says. Underneath the banality of carnal pleasure and bodily necessity is hidden a truth that mobilizes humans in a way no religion or ideology is capable, because it offers a space for personal freedom that lies beyond the human world, and co-exists with social life. The secret creed of the Twelve Flower Goddesses seems to be encoded in floral fragrance -- a key that unlocks desire and allows humans to connect with their truest nature.

 

It is no wonder that Cai Jin remains enamoured of the Flower Goddesses and continues to stay true to her Floral Fairies!

 

 

                Written on National Day, 68th year of the People’s Republic of China