Tofu and Violence

Mixed Media Paintings and Photographs
2013
Inspiration: The Taste of Tofu

Tofu does not have an attractive look nor an exciting taste, but I enjoy it a lot. It looks so pure and it tastes so plain, drawing me into the long-forgotten, unadorned space deep in my heart. Tofu – so gentle, liberal and easy, with an unsettling boldness and sincerity hidden within. Tofu’s softness can be a strong power. When faced with unfairness or violence, it retains its serenity, because it is always at ease, understanding and possesses acumen.

A Tofu Monologue - Spiritual Consciousness in Times of Violence
( Mixed Media Paintings )

No matter how advanced our society becomes, it cannot stop all physical and linguistic violence. All kinds of brutal violence: between humankind and nature, in wars, child abuse, or between the two sexes. This series of paintings is inspired by tofu, a metaphor of a gentle and unspoken power against violence. I’d like to explore how our souls might express a spiritual strength and quality in times of pain. The two extremes are brought to confront each other, probing the viewers to consider the relation of the two. Neither taking it in nor fighting violence with violence is the way out. I try to propose that nonviolence is a power with wisdom; it does not mean one is weak.

Tofuese Monologues - Reflections on Fragility and Gentleness
( Photographs )

If I give you a brick of tofu, how would your hands respond to it before it breaks into pieces?

In this project, I gave a brick of tofu to a group of participants of different backgrounds, asked them to use their bare hands or any body parts to hold it, feel it, and exist with it. Photographs were taken as the skin holding it. At the end of the session, they were asked to write about their relationship with tofu.

It is just a piece of ordinary tofu. But in the intense moment of concentration, it reveals the most basic instinct in us all – to protect, to destroy or to manipulate. I believe that to be able to contact with your inner self again is a beautiful nature of gentleness.

Ending note: The life philosophy of tofu

Tasting tofu leads us to a moment of peace and tranquility. From the slower pace and the tiniest facets of life, we find sensitivity and thus comfort. This is the gentleness you can give to yourself. Like tofu, so plain, so cheap, so fragile, yet to me it is unruffled and fearless, modest and gracious. I hope that people in modern days no longer live by the Law of the Jungle - which believes that the strongest will dominate the weak; but to return to our origins: upkeep our manners, broaden our minds and be respectful. Gentleness and nonviolence may not further the developments of this world nor solves all challenges we are faced with, but I believe that it is very important to uphold and elevate our life and interpersonal relationships.

Claire Lee

2013


“豆腐與暴力” 藝術展覽概念
2013

前言:豆腐之味

豆腐外表其貌不揚, 平凡乏味。我卻喜歡品嚐它。它的白和清淡的口感, 帶我回到心靈裡被遺忘了的那片簡樸的精神空間。豆腐–它善解人意, 坦蕩, 安然卻隱藏一種誠懇無懼的精神。豆腐的溫柔可以是一股強大的力量。在不公平和暴力下可以懷着一份平安的自處和覺悟的智慧。

一個豆腐的獨白 - 一系列多媒體畫作

社會怎樣發達也不能制止身體和言語的暴力。不論人跟大自然, 戰爭, 人際關係, 抑或男與女之間血淋淋的各種身體上和心靈上的暴力。 通過創作, 我嘗試去探索在痛苦中的精神自處。我嘗試以豆腐喻為溫柔和非暴力的力量去正面面對暴力。兩者作一次強烈的對衡。牽引觀者的神經並思考兩者的關係。盲目接受和以暴逆暴亦不是出路。我嘗試表達非暴力可以是一種有智慧的力量, 而不是軟弱。

豆腐人獨白 - 一系列照片

若我給你一磚豆腐, 在它碎掉之前, 你的雙手會如何反應?

我找一班來自不同背景, 性格年齡的人。給他們一磚豆腐, 要求他們各自用自己的方式, 沒有道具下只可用手或其他身體部位去盛載它。並感受它的存在。同時, 我拍下照片。最後請他們各自寫下與豆腐之間的聯想。只不過是平凡的豆腐, 卻在這剎那的專注中, 展示一份發自人內心最直接的保護, 破壞或玩弄的天性。我相信能夠再次跟內心的自己對話, 亦是一份給自己的溫柔。

結語:豆腐的生活哲學

吃豆腐, 能走進一種慢而聚焦, 平淡而幸福的精神狀態。 當你放慢與心靈同步, 當刻你便再次感覺自己, 親近自己, 這便是對自己的一種溫柔。如豆腐, 如此乏味低廉脆弱, 在我眼裡卻能展示出一份平靜卻無懼, 樸素但高尚的品格。但願現代人不單單只在乎弱肉強食的生存之道, 而是回歸人待人最單純的禮儀, 胸襟和尊重。溫柔和非暴力未必令世界更發達或解決困難, 但我相信去維持和提升生活和人際關係的更高價值。

李美蓮

2013