進入了曾貞源的駐村工作室，目光一下子就被牆邊擺放的鮮豔作品吸引過去，仔細端詳起來，好似地圖中的某一角風景。大片的鮮綠、正紅裡，這時是山脈起伏、草原湖河 ; 強烈對比外的深藍、黃與粉，那處又是海岸沙洲、日昇月落。大膽的配色裡更瞧見像是布巾一般的黑白物件拼貼其中。
When entering into Ceng Zhenyuan´s art residency workshop, one gets attracted by the bright artworks placed on the wall, which, when observing the details, resemble something seen on maps. Large sections of green in the middle of red areas represent the mixture of mountains and lakes, where as the stark contrasts of blue, yellow and pink are the sandy coasts, the Sun and the Moon. Amidst the canvases of bold colors, one can also see black and white objects as if pinned on them.
"It is the kind of cloth which covers the seats in a banquet restaurant", I suddenly hear shouted.
"Or the quilts which people take outside to dry in the sun", Ceng himself now laughs.
正攻讀清華大學藝設系碩士班的曾貞源，高中是多媒體科系背景，在大學才真正進入純藝術領域，卻更勇於嘗試與數位結合，除了在繪畫中添加影像拼貼、也進行現成物件與投影融合的裝置藝術。一方面也表示實驗精神可能源於自己去到了南部待了些日子，表示南北部藝文風情大不相同，坦言南部展覽活動多做實驗性質嘗試，頗有豪放不羈的氛圍 ; 在北部則感受到多走向精緻路線、俐落且面面俱到。曾貞源看似內斂，在談到南部的藝文經驗時，一度雀躍了起來。
With his background in multimedia, Ceng, who now studies in the master of the arts program at Tsinghua University, focuses solely on arts despite his brave attempts in incorporating digital properties into his works by not only pinning images onto his paintings, but also by continuing to merge ready-made objects and projections as installation art.
On top of that, Ceng also conveys experimental spirit which might have originated from his days spent in the south. Admittedly, the artistic styles differ from north to south; where the southern exhibitions tend to be more experimental and unconstrained, the northern ones lean more towards exquisiteness and fall for the thorough finesse. When talking about his experience in the south, seemingly introverted Ceng jumps for joy.
Ceng has a habit of strolling the streets and alleyways slowly with his camera, documenting the interesting sights and even photographing the activities of his friends and family.
He grabs the material consisting of cut-outs from photographs he has taken on A4-sized paper which are yet to be pinned to place: pictures of wedding ceremony´s banquet hall flannel chairs and padded quilts left to dry in the sun, out on the streets. He is to incorporate these everyday objects into his painting as the curvy scenery of the mountains and as the forests of the valleys. The transformation of an object´s construct into a colorful scene done in this way, which breaks the audience´s understanding of that object, via contrasting visuals, is the most eccentric point of interest in his works.
When asked why the surroundings became a motif for Ceng´s artwork, the story dates back to a trip he took with his friends when he was still in high-school. On that trip he saw the shock that a landslide caused by a typhoon had done to Alishan mountain, and wanting to study the formation of land, he revisited the same site the following year. Without time having played any tricks on the material itself, the scenery had looked different from what he remembered, the same way as the streets seen on Google´s Street View maps look different from their present state. This kind of visual impression, experience altered by space and time, became the target for his observations.
In order to come up with the psychedelic scenery of the present day, Ceng has gone through many attempts in transforming his creative process. This can be seen in his series of black and white works starting from 2016, turning into darker tones of oil colors in 2017, eventually having a go at distinctive contrasts in 2018. What exactly is the story behind this series of color changes?
The spark came from when he attended traditional etiquette event, in which the colors of different instruments felt gorgeous to him and he started to pay more attention to the colors in life, wanting to incorporate those into his works. After all, creative process is about exploring and digging it deeper, layer after layer, thus always coming up with new kind of comprehension and scenes that are impossible to imagine in the planning phase.
Because of this turning point, one can not help but to ask: is the topic going towards traditional folk art? Ceng shakes his head – for highlighting the folk art was not intentional, but just something which came from the top of his head. He is again looking for the kind of everyday experience which exists in nature. Perhaps it is the colors you see when returning home: illuminated signs or flowers swaying in their pots – all of these colors are remarkable similar to what Ceng uses in his paintings.
People who see his works smile, for Ceng really captures the concealed bits and pieces of everyday life in his scenes unlike many of his contemporaries who paint colorful scenes of nature, devoid of any imperfections.
Ceng used to commute back and forth between his home in Taoyuan city´s Yangmei District and Hsinchu city. Apart from being often stuck in traffic, there was another problem with the need of storage space for his works that had been building up over time. After consideration, Ceng decided to apply for a residency in Hsinchu Railway Art Village and reside in Hsinchu instead, now having more time to become familiar with the city, occasionally visit the temples or the Chulian Market and experience the traditional Hsinchu way of life.
前陣子更因機緣認識新竹在地藝文店家 ── 江山藝改所的店長，曾貞源受邀到店內做小型展覽。說起這檔展覽，曾貞源所做的部分裝置藝術使用日常現成物，店家場地不似展場空間容易區別藝術品的空間，讓不少進來的客人在認不出的情況下，一時「無意間移動了」藝術裝置，沒想到這件事竟生成了曾貞源一個新的哲理難題：藝術裝置若在不同的空間環境下改變了觀看的方式，那如何維持作品所要表達的原意呢？當我問到鐵道藝術村年末的駐村藝術家展覽，曾貞源如何佈下他的裝置作品？言談中可以感受到重心從「如何呈現裝置作品」變成「如何認得出是裝置作品」了。
Ceng was lucky to meet the manager of Jiang Shan Yi Gai Suo bookstore, as he was invited to hold a small exhibition inside the store. One part of Ceng´s exhibition was a set of installations which utilized everyday objects. However, as the venue inside a shop is different from that of a conventional exhibition space, many of the visitors did not know what to expect from the surroundings. The philosophical question Ceng had not thought of when coming up with his "Unintentional space moved" installation, was: if the different exhibition spaces alter the way an installation work is seen, how is one then to maintain the work´s original expression of an idea.
When I asked, why Ceng´s installation works are covered with a cloth in the Hsinchu Railway Art Village´s resident exhibition, I understood from the discussion that the paradigm had shifted from "how to present an installation work" to "how to recognize, that it is in fact an installation work".
Has Ceng Zhenyuan found a solution to the problem?
It is for everyone to see in the Hsinchu Railway Art Village´s resident exhibition in the end of the year.
2018 日日-曾貞源 許佳琪雙人展，众藝術Zone Art，桃園，台灣
薩拉曼卡國際繪畫交流展，ZINK Espacio Emergente，薩拉曼卡，西班牙