WEEKLY

THE ROMANCE OF HANZI
戀上漢字

漢字,形同空氣般,環繞我們生活中的每個角落。漢字是想像力的體現,由象形文字到甲骨文,再慢慢衍生出現今的字體,可見漢字並非一朝一夕創造而成,而是透過一點一滴演變出來的。文字和語言都是活的,它們會隨着時代更迭所改變,反映不同地方和民族的文化底蘊。為了令人重新體會漢字的魅力,本地設計師區德誠(Benny)在元創方策劃「漢字展」,以亞洲各國設計師的漢字作品,展現文字豐富的生命力。

Benny是名符其實的「字戀狂」。早於七、八年前,他開始了一個「漢字計劃」,利用相機拍下日常生活的風景,並用照片來聯想不同的漢字。這一次,他集合超過一百位來自香港、中國內地、台灣、澳門、日本及韓國等地設計師的漢字作品,所有作品均以漢字為主視覺,再結合圖像及符號等視覺元素,突破漢字固有的界限。即便是漢字,不同地方皆有獨特的解讀及演繹手法。例如中文的「愛人」代表「情侶」、「戀愛對象」,但日文卻有「第三者」之意;中文的「怪我」一般會被詮釋為「責怪」,而其日文意思則有着天淵之別,解作「受傷」;「大家」在日文中,不等於中文的「各位」,而是「房東」的意思。近年日本社交網站更有人發起用「偽中國語」溝通,以漢字單詞組成句子。這些看似遊戲性質的潮流,其實同時亦在推進漢字的發展。筆劃相同的漢字,究竟還可以引伸多少個不同意思的解讀?一撇一捺又藏着甚麼玄機?這個展覽將會帶你見識漢字的萬千百態。

漢字的構造別具系統,有象形、指事、會意、形聲、轉注、假借六個法則。在平面設計中,漢字的運用普遍比起英文字和日文的平假名難度較高。密密麻麻、呈方塊形的漢字或許有其限制,卻能讓人從中領略到設計的美學。漢字講求平衡,黑與白、陰與陽、虛與實之間相輔相成,才能展現出氣韻。然而,漢字的氣韻不一定要用筆劃來呈現。是次展覽有不少創意之作,如「汁」的部首用了三滴醬油表達,看起來更實在,亦充滿質感。有作品將「目」、「耳」、「鼻」、「口」這幾個文字拼湊在一起,形成一張趣緻的臉。香港人喜歡把衣服、毛巾等晾在窗台,但原來飄揚半空中的毛巾,同樣可以構成不同的文字。除此之外,也有日本設計師把漢字分拆成簡單的數字、文字和符號,例如「引」字等於「31」;「活」字可分拆為「三4O」;「吾」則可解讀成「五O」。設計師天馬行空的創意,為工整又繁複的漢字賦予形態,突顯漢字的性格和美學。

漢字是屬於我們的文化資產,它們經歷數千年的演變,仍得以完好保存下來,着實有不可取代的重要性。當一切變得電腦化,人們逐漸執筆忘字,便是時候要重新思考與漢字的關係,開拓一片新的文字風景了。

「漢字展」
日期:即日至2018年7月10日
時間:10:00am – 8:00pm
地點:中環鴨巴甸街35號元創方二樓「智方」

撰文:王以珞
美術:王曉澄

Hanzi envelopes every corner of our lives just as air does. It is the embodiment of human’s imagination. From pictograms to oracle bone scripts, which then developed into the distinct characters, Hanzi is not created in a short period of time, but it is gradually transformed into the characters we use today. Characters and languages are alive as they keep changing over time, reflecting the cultural connotations of different regions and ethnicities. To allow people to re-experience the charm of Hanzi, Benny Au, a local designer, has curated the “Hanzi Exhibition” in PMQ, showcasing the vividness of Hanzi characters through the artwork of various Asian designers.

Benny is a typical “Hanzi Fanatic”. About 7 to 8 years ago, he started a “Hanzi Project”, which he would use a camera to capture the everyday landscape and then associated the photos with Hanzi. This time, he gathered a pile of Hanzi artwork from more than 100 designers from Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan, Macau, Japan and Korea for the exhibition. Taking Hanzi as the key art, all the artwork blends graphics and symbols together to subvert people’s normal perceptions on Hanzi. The same Hanzi character can have various interpretations and ways of expression. For instance, “愛人” refers to “couple” and “lover” in Chinese Hanzi, but means “the third party” in a relationship in Japanese Kanji. The phase “怪我” means “blame me” in Chinese, whereas the Japanese meaning is absolutely not equivalent – it means “injury”. Also, “大家” means “everyone” in Chinese, yet it refers to “landlord” in Japanese. In recent years, some Japanese people even use pseudo-Chinese to chat with each other on social media, which has been promoting the development of Hanzi. How many different meanings can be interpreted in one single Hanzi character? What message does each stroke carry? This exhibition is going to tell you more about Hanzi.

Hanzi characters are created systematically with six classifications, namely pictographs, ideographic, compound ideographs, phono-semantic compounds, derivative cognates and phonetic loan characters. In the area of graphic design, the usage of Hanzi is relatively more difficult than that of English characters and Japanese hiragana characters. Square-shaped with densely packed strokes, Hanzi characters may have their own limitations, but they also allow us to appreciate the aesthetics of design. “Balance” is considered as the philosophy behind Chinese characters. In order to present the artistic conception of Hanzi, we need to strike a balance between black and white, Yin(means “negative”) and Yang(means “positive”) as well as virtual and real. Yet, the artistic conception of Hanzi does not necessarily need to be presented through strokes. There are many creative artwork in this exhibition. For example, a designer used three drops of soy sauce to represent the “water” radical(氵) in Chinese, which brings the artwork alive. Another designer used the Hanzi characters “目”, “耳”, “鼻” and “口”, meaning “eyes”, “ears”, “nose” and “mouth” in English, to make a funny face of human. While Hongkongers love to dry their clothes and towels on windowsills, a designer made use of those towels to form two different words. In addition, a Japanese designer even separated Hanzi characters into different numbers, words and symbols. The character “引” is synonymous to “31”; “活” is similar to “三4O”; and “吾” is just as “五O”. The whimsical ideas of designers have increased the flexibility of Hanzi characters.

Hanzi is one of the most precious cultural assets of ours. It is of paramount importance since it has undergone thousands of years of inheritance. With the increasing computerization, there is an epidemic of so-called “character amnesia”. It is time to rethink our relationship with Hanzi, and to explore the new textual landscape.

“Hanzi Exhibition”
Date: From now until 10th July 2018
Time: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Venue: QUBE, 2/F, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central

Text: Elok Wong
Art: Agnes Wong

ISSUE #199

THE ROMANCE OF HANZI

 

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