• 2010-11-01

    Hong Kong / October 2010 / 靳叔

    靳叔是我的前輩,他今年在香港《明報週刊》連載報道一篇有關我的文章,這篇連載於9月和10月雜誌的長文,主要介紹了一些我的書籍設計作品。原文更長,是他應我之邀,為我的新書做的一篇評論文章,現全文發表,再次感謝靳叔眷顧。
     
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    Jianping He - Out of the Ordinary
     
    In 2000, I curated “Discover Cities” poster exhibition the cultural event called “Berlin in Hong Kong”, then did an exchange visit in Germany, I met Jianping He while I was visiting the Berlin University of the Arts. This trip allowed me to get a rich life experience in foreign art cultures, indeed for the first time I could appreciate the works of Jianping He at the design studio in the University, he designs posters with portrait imageries produced by himself, which has a very strong visual impact, eye-catching large needles inserted into black and white human figure, triggering the observer’s thoughts, the audience are bearing the pain and indeed reconsider the idea of injustice while the theme of international political amnesties are revealed.The side effect of this work is having his name imprinted in my heart.
     
    Later on, while I was participating in an exhibition called 100 Contemporary Posters in Germany, Berlin, I saw some more of Jianping He’s work. One of them entitled “Chinese Fashion, Chinese Culture”, he applies a faceless portrait of Mao to represent the fashion and culture of that era, well-put and powerful. Although before the launching of this work, there was the faceless Japanese cartoon Dragonball character by Freeman Lau and Sui Jianguo’s headless Mao sculpture, three minds thinking alike yet each of them are brilliant. I was told that untill now Jianping’s Mao poster cannot be exhibited in Mainland China. Last year, he created another sweating Mao poster for the exhibition of global warming in Taiwan, his political metaphors are subtle, indeed this poster was exhibited in Taiwan as part of the territory!
     
    In the past decade I could see how I was impressed by Jianping’s posters, with lots of facial features, head or limbs to reveal the theme. Having a stunning visual impact as the eyeballs and ears in Clon poster series, or the interpenetrating visuals like “Fusion” and “Solidarity” posters, revitalizing the gracefulness of human emotions. He also tried other constructing elements of creativity, especially typography, east and west, traditional or simplified, all creating an extraordinary unique style. In between 2003 and 2004, most of them were having art as the theme, like “China image” with a personalized image created.
     
    In 2010, in the Hong Kong Heritage Museum International Poster Triennial, I was one of the judges with another four designers form overseas, under very high level judging criteria, Asian designers were having outstanding entries, in which Chinese designers were having golden, silver and jury awards, two pieces of Jianping’s works was included in the winning list. Both pieces were using portraitures as creative elements, Mao was once again his source of inspiration. In one of the posters he did for the Taiwan Poster Design Association “Mother Tongue”, connecting the faces of leaders of the two parties. The poster simply constituted the human figure and chinese text by bold lines, with the two faces fused by the word “love”, self-evidencing creativity, more brilliantly the three judges could understand the poster even they didn’t read chinese, indeed they all appreciate this piece of work.Jianping induced creativity from another political ideologic figure in the poster entitled “Harmony Between Humans and Nature”, he developed  a metaphor between Marx and plastic bags, their merits and damages to human and nature, the poster is bold and powerful, with superb photographic techniques he amazed the judges, the sense of third dimension picture of Marx built by black and white plastic bag is purely shocking.
     
    After leaving the college Jianping designed a lot of books, most of them are design related. The book “AGI - New Voice” caught my attention, AGI is Alliance Graphique Internationale, an international professional organization which is difficult to join. The book was entitled as New Voice, collecting the work of new members requited in 2004 and 2005. Jianping He was accepted as a new member in the AGI conference Berlin in 2005, after changing to German nationality, he was added on the list of German members.
     
    Unlike another enterprise publication designed for customers, the design association provides larger creative freedom and encourage designers to make breakthrough pieces, indeed achieving a high quality level. As a new member this is a rare chance to perform, Jianping successfully attracted the attention and appreciation from others in the design world.
     
    When I received and opened the parcel from AGI, I immediately think of Jianping and his “Clon” poster when I saw the black book with an ear grown on the spine, the ear at the cover should be the same image as the one in the poster, with a different image processing but showing the same creativeness. Yet this is not the main focus of attention, as it’s really hard not to feel shocked when you see a book with an ear on the spine! When you hold this book with an ear in your hands, and imagining how it’d going to look when it’s on shelf’s, with the ear sticking out in between the books, from that moment I constantly pay attention to Jianping’s book design.
     
    I guess “New Voice”, this ear image being coherent is the consequence of Jianping choosing the theme after having the imagery concept. While the the legibility of typesetting on the cover is no longer the concern, as the concept is not difficult to be understood by designers, they’ll all use their ears listening to the innovative voices.
     
    In 2007 Jianping designed another AGI new members portfolio, the book has a collection of the member’s work at To Kyo To conference held in Japan 2006. Jianping was still telling a story thorough the form of the book, but comparing with the previous ear book it’s more subtle and simple. A clear white book without graphics, texts, illustrations or any color, but silver plated edges. Like the works of new members in the last year, the black and white contrast seemed to be unintentional, while actually it was carefully calculated, on the margin close to the spine there’s the name of the book To Kyo To. The alphabets are the standard font of the conference, formed by tiny dots and which Jianping made use of the dots by penetrating the dots from cover to the back, every page of the book is no longer a flat surface, if applying a light source from the cover of the book, a line of glowing type will be formed by the shadow. The layout within the book has no legibility problem by leaving a wider margin close to the spine, there the whole book displayed an extraordinary styling in which it has an echoing relationship to the Tokyoto local culture with it’s character.
     
    If we stack the two books “New Voice” and “To Kyo To” together, it creates an extraordinary effect, they have the same thickness, with black and white covers and black, white and silver sides, one with an protruding ear and the other with hollow font, seems mutually exclusive but harmonic at the same time, I had no idea if these were considerations while Jianping’s designing the books, how a system is created in among the issues. These two books are differentiated as their own system among the other AGI members portfolios, while the two done by him are like brothers.
     
    In 2009 Jianping designed another portfolio for a designer, he is both the designer and editor in most of the publications he did, the autonomy of the designer is therefore increased by the strengthened collaboration of publication design and the merging of designing and editing. In the theme and contents structure he can express his unique point of view as a designer, this can be seen in the book “Small Studio”. In the design industry there are not many studios with more than 10 members, those with more than 20 can be considered as a big company. Small studios with only a few members are actually the majority and an important force of the industry.
     
    Jianping edited “Small Studio”, collecting work from 100 young small studios from around the world, as these designers are young, Jianping, who also runs a small studio, are seen to be reckless and rude, not respecting the elders (while he is respectful and polite), are resisted, abandoned, envied…but they are fresh, active and creative, they injected new blood to the design industry, which cannot be neglected by society. This conclusion is similar to the point of view I’ve mentioned, that good design is not likely to be resisted, as I do believe in the existence of public opinion.
     
    As Jianping has an unique insight into small studios, he created an interesting design for the book. Simple white paperback book with a small black and white image on the cover, the exposed spine with bold small studio characters, increased the texture and layers behind the white netted threads, together with the rough edges there’s an irregular feeling to the book. While you turn the pages the small scraps of paper will be amusing you by silently falling onto the ground, stuck on your clothes, lovingly laid on your palms and even dig into the book…like small studios hanging, existing around in different gestures.
     
    At the same year, Jianping designed another design portfolio “6+6 “B4, by the name it explains itself as a book including two groups of 6 designers, yes, it’s a collaborated catalog of 6 Taiwanese designers and 6 German designers. Originally it’s not special at all to design a catalog like this, each participant has a certain amount of works and different styles for sure, the reviews and descriptions are not hard to handle with even distribution. The different thing is all the information is from two different places, with different cultural backgrounds. Can Jianping reveal creativity in this?
     
    “6+6” is a white paperback book, the width of the cover was shrunk down by forty percent, with the number 6 printed on the cover and a chinese ink character six at the back. Clearly he showed another universe at the form of the book. Opening the book it’s again not out of the ordinary, the combinations of wide and narrow pages, using two different kind of paper, the wide pages are printed with color imageries, the others are text printed in black and white. According to the designer, the concept was inspired from the paper sponsors, the two different kind of papers came from different sponsors, with one kind more than the other, he made use of this limitation to form an exquisite idea, in which it also reflects the communication between different cultures.
     
    I just received the new book “Book Worm” from Jianping, which is an exhibit portfolio. In the exhibition 56 worldwide designers are selected with different numbers of publications they designed. The works are shown in alphabetical order, including all the exhibited works with the picture and brief introduction of the designer. Jianping made use of a free layout and editing the positioning according to the designers style, achieving an enjoyable reading experience for readers.
     
    This fits exactly the criteria of the books I love, light, soft, easy to turn the pages. A thick book with 364 pages and 8 pages of cover with the same type of paper, folded together to form a curved to cusp-shaped spine. This way of stacking is often used in thin saddle stitch bindings, yet now it’s thread-bound and became a unique binding feature. Indeed the strips on the sides look like a worm, the book is published in english with the name “Book Worm”, the creativeness of the design might came from that. When the readers gently twisting the book, the “Book Worm” will be actively wiggling.
     
    Each of the books designed by Jianping is extraordinary, he won’t show you anything mediocre, ordinary imageries or boring ideas. Its is a  extraordinary experience to hold and  flick through one of his books.
     
    Prof. Tai-keung Kan SBS
    Graphic Designer, Hong Kong
     
    Translation: Becky Wong (Hong Kong)
    Proofreading: Allan Andrew McEvoy(UK)
     
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    見平設計不見平‥‥‥
     
    2000 年,我在《香港在柏林》文化交流活動中策劃了一個 “城市-發現”(Discover Cities)海報展,並赴德交流訪問,在參觀藝術院校(柏林藝術大學Berlin University of Arts)期間,認識了何見平。這個旅程令我獲得豐富異國文化藝術生活體驗,同時更珍惜在他鄉遇見來自故國的青年設計師。我在柏林藝術大學校內的設計工作 室中,第一次欣賞到何見平的作品,他運用自己攝製的人物意象設計海報,視覺感染力很強,眾多鋼針插入肌膚中的黑白人像引人注目,又惹人深思,對於要表現的 國際政治犯特赦的主題,要讓觀者忍受著內心的痛楚,進而對不公義不公平的思想反省。這作品給我的副作用,就是使何見平這個名字印記在我心中。
     
    後 來,我們在柏林參觀了德國當代海報100幅的展覽,再看見一些何見平的作品。其中一幅題為 “中國時裝﹑中國文化”(Chinese fashion, Chinese culture) 他以無臉的毛像代表那個時代的時裝與文化,非常有力而貼切。雖然,在這作品面世之前,已有劉小康海報中出現過日本卡通人物龍珠髮型拼合無臉毛像,之後又有 隋建國的無頭毛裝雕塑,三人所見略同,亦各自精彩。據說何見平的毛裝海報至今還是無法在中國(大陸)展覽。去年,他又為台灣主辦的地球暖化海報展,創作了 流汗的毛像,他所表現的政治隱寓也許比較含蓄,在台灣展出也該算是在國土上展出吧!
     
    在過去十多年來,我看到何見平的海報作 品都令我印象深刻,有些常以人的五官,頭像或肢體表現主題。有具震撼力的視覺效果如 “克隆”系列海報的眼球和耳朵;或綜合交錯的視覺意象如 “融合”和 “團結”主題海報,所煥發著人類優美的感情。他亦嘗試其他元素建構的創意,尤其是文字,不論中西,或繁或簡,均可衍生出具不平凡的獨特風格。03與04年 間多款以藝術為題,或 “中國印象”等文字海報又做出有個性的意象。
     
    2010年,香港文化博物館舉辦國際海報三年展,來自 海外的四位設計大師和我一起擔任評審工作。在非常高水平的評審尺度下,亞洲設計師參賽作品成績優異,其中華人設計師獲多項金獎﹑銀獎及評審獎,何見平有兩 件作品就在獲獎名單中。這兩件佳作都是以人像為創作元素,毛像又再次成為他的靈感。在一張他為台灣海報協會 “母語”主題展而創作的海報中,連合著國共兩黨領袖的臉孔。海報單純地以粗克線構成人像與漢字,相異的臉相以 “愛”字連成一體,其創意不言而喻,更妙的是三位不識漢字的西方評委也一看就明白,因此而獲得全部評委一致的讚賞。
     
    在 “人類與自然”的主題海報中,何見平又從另一位政治思想巨人誘發出創意。他以橡膠袋與馬克思作類比,兩者對人類和自然的功過,大膽而有力,加上何氏精湛的攝影意象技驚眾評委,黑白橡膠袋構成了富立體感的馬克思頭像,令人震撼。
     
    離 開大學之後,何見平亦設計了不少書籍,大部份都屬於設計類的書。最初引起我注意的一本新書名為《AGI- New Voice》,AGI是國際平面設計師聯盟,一個不容易被接受成為會員的國際專業組織。這本書以 “新聲”作書名,是將2004與2005年新會員的作品結集出版。何見平就是在2005年柏林舉行的AGI大會上被接納為新會員的,因為他是入了德籍,所 以他歸屬在德國會員名單中。
     
    有別於為客戶設計一本企業書,設計協會的書刊可給予設計者較自由的創作空間,設計者能做出突破性的設計是受鼓勵的,當然同時要達到高水平與高品味。作為一位新會員,這是一個難得的表演舞台。怎樣去令人注目欣賞自己,何見平是做到了。
     
    當 我收到AGI大會寄來的郵包,打開見到那長著耳朵的黑色本子,我就馬上想起了何見平和他的 “克隆”耳朵海報。封面中的耳朵應是與那海報中的屬同一圖像,只是經過不同的處理,又表現著相異的創意。這也並不是最主要引人注目的重點,而在乎你很難對 在書脊上豎起一隻耳朵的書籍不感到錯愕吧!當你將這長耳的書拿在手裡,又想到把它插在書架上的時候,耳朵在書叢中伸出來的有趣樣子。從那一剎那開始,我就 常注意何見平的書籍設計了。
     
    我估計 “新的聲音”這個與耳朵圖像很相配的書題也是何見平先有圖像意念而後點題的結果。至於封面上的排字是否洽當易讀,這些已不再重要了,反正在設計師群中不愁沒有知音,他們都會豎著耳朵聽聽那些創新的聲韻。
     
    2007 年,何見平再次設計了另一本AGI的新會員作品集,書中又結集了2006年在日本舉行的 “東京都”大會的會員作品內容。何見平還是主要在書本的形體上造文章,但與前述的耳朵書相比,就顯得內歛又平凡。白白淨淨的一本書,並沒有印上圖形﹑文字 ﹑插圖和任何色彩,只在書口上燙了銀邊,與去年新會員作品集的開度相同,一黑一白是否一個刻意的對比,好像很不經意,其實經過精心的計算,在接近書脊的版 面上排上 “TO KYO TO”(東京都)的書名。英文字母是大會的標準字體,以小圓點成筆劃的設計,何見平就將全部小圓點,由封面至封底貫穿成一排厚厚的立體形態,使書本的每一 頁都不再只是平面的平面,若在封面上以燈光照明,可在書的黑影上映出一行光亮的字體。內頁版面的圖文只需從書脊近處留著較寬闊的空間,就不會破壞了閱讀功 能,相反地予以全書的版式一個不平凡的風格。感覺上,這本書的性格亦與主辦地的文化有相配合和呼應的關係。
     
     
    如 果我們把 “新聲”和 “東京都”兩本AGI刊物疊放在一起看,會產生一種不平凡的效果。它們大小與厚度相等,封面封底一本黑一本白,書口一本白一本銀,一本凸出耳朵,另一本鏤 空了小圓孔字體,似是互相對立,但又是非常諧和地成為一體。我不知道何見平在設計的時候,有沒有考慮這個問題,一個系列的出版物如何形成其家族式的系統。 這兩本書與AGI其他的會員作品集雖顯示一個家族,而何見平這兩本就好像一對親兄弟。
     
    2009年,何見平設計了另一本設計 師的作品集。他設計的大部份書刊都是身兼編輯的雙重角色,在書籍設計的眾多合作角色關係上,設計與編輯二為一體的情況下,設計師的自主權就加強了。在選題 與內容的結構上,他可以發揮獨特的主見,《小工作室》(small studios)這本書的編輯取向就顯而易見,他的設計也充分發揮了這個特點。在設計行業中,超過10位成員的設計公司並不多,有20人以上的就可算是大 公司了;只有數位成員的小工作室,其實是行業的大多數,是設計業的重要力量。
     
    何見平編輯《小工作室》,結集了100家來自 全球的年輕小工作室。這些設計師因為年輕,何見平認為(他自己也是小工作室的主人)常被視為魯莽無禮,目無尊長(他是謙恭有禮),會被抵制﹑被遺棄﹑被嫉 妒……但他們是鮮活靈動的,富創意的,他們給設計注入新鮮的血液,也讓這個社會無法視而不見。這個結論是與我前述的觀點類同的,但我又認為優秀的設計師是 沒有可能被抵制的,因為我相信有公論的存在。
     
    由於何見平對小設計工作室的獨特見解,他把《小工作室》這本書設計得饒有趣 味。簡單白色的平裝書封面中間印一幅黑白小圖,露線的釘裝書脊裡印了small studios的粗克體,隔著白線網,增添了層次質感,加上毛邊書口,就讓你有不規整的感覺。當你翻開書頁,版面設計並不奇拔,有些白色的細小紙屑會與你 開玩笑。它們會無聲地飄落地上,或討厭地粘在你的衣服上,又或痴情地依偎在你的掌中,還可能調皮地鑽進書中……就像小工作室那樣,無論如何以各種姿態存在 著。
     
    同年,何見平編輯設計了另一本設計作品集《6 + 6》,顧名思意使人理解這一定是一本6位設計師加上另6位的設計作品集。對,是6位台灣設計師與6位德國設計師聯展的圖錄。本來,這樣一本設計圖錄,並不 特別,都是每位參展者有數量相若的作品,也肯定各自有不同的風格,文字說明和評介亦會分量平均,不難處理。有一點或者不一樣的,就是所有這些素材都屬於兩 個不同的地方,都屬於不同的文化背景。何見平是否在其中找到創意呢?
     
     《6 + 6》也是一本平裝白色的書,封面的寬度只見是窄了約五分之二,印著黑色的6字而封底則印著有墨跡的 “六”字。何見平在書的結構上顯然另有乾坤。翻開書本,果然亦不平凡,寬頁和窄頁穿插著組合,分別用兩種紙材,寬頁全部印著彩色圖片,窄頁上是黑白文字。 據設計師說,這個意念是來自紙張贊助商,兩種紙來自兩家贊助商,一種紙數量多,另一種數量少,他將這個難題轉化為不平凡的結構,變成別出心裁的優良設計。 這個意念也似反映著相異文化的交流。
     
    剛收到何見平一本新書《書香》,這看來是一本展覽作品集。這個同多的書展,選展了56 位世界各地設計師設計的不同數量的書籍。作品集就以字母排序,將各位設計師的展出作品編在書中,作品前附印設計師照片和簡介。何見平運用完全自由的版式, 因應著設計師的風格編排作品圖像,使讀者獲得愉快的讀圖經驗。
    這是一本正合乎我愛書標準的書,輕﹑軟,翻閱的觸感自在。厚厚364頁的書加 上8頁相同紙質的封面,摺疊一起造成了圓弧漸變到尖角形的書脊;這種摺疊法常用於較少頁數的騎馬釘裝法,現改變成線裝處理,創出了裝幀的特色,加上書口的 條紋變化,側看就成了書蟲的形態。整本書是用英文出版,書名 “Book Worm”(書蟲),不知設計師的創意是否由此而來。當讀者輕輕扭動著本子, “書蟲”就生動地蠕動起來。
     
    無論哪一本何見平設計的書籍都會使我們不見平凡,他不會給你看見平庸的技巧。平凡的意象,或平平無奇的創意﹔他常常給我不平凡的欣賞經驗。
     
    靳埭強2010年香港


     

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  • 書香不錯
  • 见平老师继续加油!!