Newsletter No. 424

8 No. 424, 4.10.2013 文物馆馆长 苏芳淑教授 是什么原因让你放弃在美国的美术馆高级馆长 职位,来到中大任教? 美术馆馆长和教师的工作表面来看非常不同,但目标 都是为了教育。美术馆的对象是普罗大众,通过展览, 引起他们的兴趣,提升其欣赏艺术的能力。教学则是较 专注于教导学生,培育新一代的艺术人才。两者同样重 要,我在美术馆工作了颇长时间,碰上这里的艺术系有 教席空缺,我想转个方向来从事艺术教育也不错,就是 这样执起教鞭。 为何偏爱研究青铜器和玉器史? 是机缘巧合吧。内地于七十年代末改革开放,不少有关 考古的新发现得以向外公开,那时我适值进入哈佛大 学研究院进修艺术史,指导老师正是专研中国古代文 物的,顺理成章我便开始了这方面的研究。再者,说故 事不是该从头说起吗?玉器在新石器时代已出现,距今 五千多年,青铜器则是三四千年间,正是了解中国古代 文化艺术的起源、特点和早期成就的好媒介。 中大艺术系的优势是什么?有哪地方需要加强? 优势是中大设有文物馆,能让艺术系学生亲睹馆藏和 各类展览,就近仔细琢磨每件艺术品的特点,效果比看 照片好多了。我经常带本科生和研究生到文物馆上课, 他们的反应很热烈,这种切实看着艺术品来学习的机 会非常难得。艺术系的师资也非常雄厚,从中国古代玉 器和青铜器、书画、宗教雕塑、陶瓷、篆刻等,以至当代 中国艺术史的专才都有。香港近年冒起的新进艺术工 作者,不少是中大毕业生,有的作品用的是传统中国手 法,但表达的题材却是近现代香港的。艺术创作需要大 的空间,但现时学系地方不足,局限了录取学生人数。 香港艺术学生与外国有何不同? 香港学生的创作意欲十分强,那份热情不逊于外国学 生,但对钻研学术却不太积极,不爱深究艺术创作的背 景和文化。外国学生则对不同文化深感兴趣,乐于一一 认识,深入研究和分析。 可有为文物馆定下发展路向? 文物馆的使命是作为大学的教育工具之一,对象不限于 艺术系学生,而是全校师生和职员,以至市民,通过展 览、讲座、出版书籍等,感染大家,提升欣赏中国艺术文 化的能力,珍视中国艺术今天之成就。我们最近聘任了 两位副馆长,并重新整合了展览及研究、藏品管理、文 物保护、场地设施、教育推广等各项工作,未来会继续 致力推广中华文化艺术,并加强与艺术系的教研合作。 能告诉我们一些欣赏文物、艺术品的入门要 诀吗? 我想在看展品前,不妨先花少许时间看看解说,这样能 有助你了解它的创作因由、社会背景和作者心境,自然 更能领略它的特点和艺术成就,也有更多得着。 请谈谈你在西九文化区管理局董事局的工作。 参与西九工作的原因,是希望把多年的美术馆管理和 艺术教育的经验提供予当局参考,并在不同的阶段提 示决策者不可忽略西九作为教育、推广和培训的功能。 我期望西九日后落成启用,是像华盛顿、巴黎的艺术区 般,有公园、艺术、文娱表演场地、展览区域,成为一家 大小都爱流连的地方。 Prof. Jenny So Director, Art Museum Before joining CUHK, you were the senior curator of an art gallery in the US. What brought you here? A curator may be different from a teacher, but they share the same goal—to educate. An art gallery aims at kindling public interest in art and raising the appreciation of it. Teaching focuses on nurturing new artistic talent. Both jobs are equal in terms of importance. I had worked in an art gallery for a long time when the opportunity to teach in a fine arts department emerged, so I took up the challenge. Why are you interested in history of Chinese bronzes and jades? By coincidence. Following China’s open door policy in the late 1970s, new archaeological excavations were publicized. At that time, I was studying art history at Harvard Graduate School. My supervisor was a specialist in ancient Chinese antiquities, so I naturally followed the same path. Besides, stories should be told from the start. Jade appeared over 5,000 years ago in the Neolithic period, and bronze, 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. They are the best media for understanding the origin, characteristics and achievements of ancient Chinese art. Where are the strengths of the Department of Fine Arts? Which areas should be enhanced? Our strength lies in having the Art Museum which enables fine arts students to examine closely the features of the exhibits in the permanent and other collections. This is way more effective than letting them study photos. I always bring undergraduate and postgraduate students to the Art Museum for tutorial. They are very enthusiastic. It’s indeed a rare and valuable experience. The department also has a wealth of teaching talent in topics from ancient Chinese jade and bronze, Chinese painting and calligraphy, religious sculpture, ceramics and seal cutting, to contemporary Chinese art history. Quite a number of emerging Hong Kong artists in recent years are CUHK graduates using traditional Chinese artistic methods to present themes on modern Hong Kong. The greatest limitation of our department is inadequate space for making art, which prevents us from admitting more students. How do Hong Kong’s fine arts students compare to those overseas? Hong Kong students are very passionate about creating—definitely no less than overseas students, but they are not too zealous about doing academic research, and learning about the background and culture behind artistic creation. Foreign students, on the other hand, are more interested in understanding and analysing different cultures. Any plans for the future development of the Art Museum? The mission of the Art Museum is to serve as one of the University’s media of education. Our service targets are not only fine arts students, but also CUHK staff and other students, as well as the general public. We hope to cultivate appreciation for Chinese art and its accomplishments through exhibitions, lectures and publications. We have recently appointed two associate directors and integrated our work in exhibition and research, collection management, conservation, facilities and equipment, education and outreach. We’ll strive to fulfil our mission and strengthen ties with the Department of Fine Arts in teaching and research. Could you share with us some tips on appreciating works of art? My suggestion is to read the illustrations before viewing the work. It will give you information such as why the piece was created, the social background and the creator’s mind, etc., which would help you to appreciate its special features and accomplishments. You’ll end up getting more out of the work than you expected. Please tell us about your work for the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD). I serve on the board of WKCD Authority to contribute my experiences in art gallery management and art education, and to remind the authorities not to neglect the education, promotion and training functions of the West Kowloon project. I sincerely hope that WKCD will be a place where people of all ages like to hang out, like the art districts in Washington and Paris.

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