Many love art. Some even want to be an aspiring artist. However, whether they have thought what the function of art is? Many would say that the aim of art is molding our hearts. Some even say that art can create your insight into our life. Throughout these years, many have given meaning to art. Anyway, what is the function of art? Let us listen to what Chan Yuk Keung, the former professor of the art faculty of the Chinese University said about it.
Print-making has its social function
According to Chan, print-making does not only has its function in the art field but also has a function in our society. “Print-making makes people become back to be human.” Prof. Chan Yuk Keung said. “While technology is booming, the human will become a robot. Print-making makes the highly alienated world to become back to a humanized world.”
“While print-making leaves people a hardship, the related result is not so large. In such a digitalized city, the youth will think that it is not rewarding to do print-making.”
When he teaches at Hong Kong Chinese University, Prof. Chan has used indirect painting to arouse the interests of the youth.
Printing-making is involved with different kinds of skill sets. According to Chan, print-making is very interesting. It is not direct. Painting directly on the paper is different from painting on the plate. It is very interesting. If the indirect painting combines with the painting and the students have learned print-making, the expressing way and ability will be different from those who just learn painting. It is because print-making involves the transference of the materials. Other media cannot take place of it.
“The boom of the graphics just makes those who are involved in the art world want to come back to the primitive arts world.” Chan expressed.
The Role of the Teacher in Chan’s Eyes
Prof. Chan has taken up the teaching role for many years. His whole life cannot depart from education. As a teacher of arts and an artist, how did Chan see his role? Chan said that as a teacher, other people were the priority. However, as an artist, he was the priority. While other art teachers will put themselves on the priority, Chan is different from them. He will accept the works of the student that he dislikes. He will guide the students to do something that he dislikes. He trains himself to be diversified. These two identities are continuously running in. He will think about what is beneficial to the students and put down himself.
Introducing Technology into the Production of Art
Sun museum has exhibited the works of different artists in the past. Every artist has his or her characteristics. Different artists will have different insights into his or her work. What is the insight of Chan’s work at this exhibition? Talking about his works, Prof. Chan said he did not like to do print-making directly. He did not like to come back to what he did in 80’. He would like to induce technology into the production of print-making. He would like to check whether there is a bridge between print-making and technology. According to Prof. Chan, the printing method nowadays is much more convenient.
For the source of this works, Prof. Chan expressed that it came from the earliest print-making model. He used the Wang Jie edition of the Diamond Sutra as the source of his idea. Diamond Sutra was the product of the Tang dynasty of the ninth decade. Chan just thinks about how can conjure that earliest printing technology with the present printing method. What Chan did was the kind of translation work. First, he scanned the image of the Diamond Sutra. Then he used the 3D printer. He conjured up the 3D printing technology and woodcut technology. When you used the 3D printer without the tape, there will have a printing sound. Chan thought that it was like the sound of chanting of the monks. He recorded those sounds and found a programmer to make the sound to be the graphic of sound waves. This graphic is just like a burnt wood, an unrecognizable item.
Chan said the unrecognizable item led him to carry out the ideals of print-making. As such, we can see that Chan’s work has a deep meaning. He made the connection between art and technology. Through technology, Chan found the deep meaning of his work and express it to the public.
Chan’s Life Roadmap
Chan said, his father is the first generation of emigrants from the Mainland. His first job is being a piano tuner. His father is not an artist. However, he changed his job several times. It is not distanced from the art. When Chan chose to study art, his sister worried about his living.
In 1983, Chan graduated from the department of fine art at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. After that, he traveled to the United States to acquire related knowledge. He has obtained his M.F.A from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan, U.S.A.
Before joining Hong Kong Art School, Prof. Chan work at the Chinese University of Hong Kong between 1989 and 2016; he was involved in teaching studio courses, coordinating the M.A. program, and supervising M.F.A students. Chan could not depart from education in his whole life.
Prof. Chan was responsible for the works of the “Hong Kong Visual Arts Yearbook” for many years. He had joined more than 100 exhibitions. His works have been exhibited in the United States, Germany, Australia, China, and Japan. He was one of the two artists representing Hong Kong in the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005 and was the winner of the Public Art Scheme competition in 1999. Starting from the millennium, his research focuses gradually developed towards public art that he had helped to realize City Art Square next to Shain Town Hall 2008 and consulted on the Public Creatives of East Kowloon District in 2017.
Prof. Chan is holding advisory positions in various local arts and cultural organizations, including Para/Site Art Space, Rooftop Institute, Hong Kong Shau Kee School of Creativity, Hong Kong Arts Development Council, Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Yale-China Association, and Asian Art Archive.