一紙情深

「鳳嬌」催化紙的可能
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2020 / 1月

文‧蘇俐穎 圖‧林旻萱


孩提時拿筆學寫字,運筆之際,掌緣與紙輕觸摩娑,筆尖在紙張上留下深淺字跡,較之今日電腦打字的普及,寫字不僅古雅,還有著難以言喻的情感,在字裡行間流洩。

打從蔡倫造紙伊始,紙與人類的生活相互牽絆,一同譜寫著文明演變,但這份羈絆,卻在今日邁向式微。

不忍紙文化的殞落,「樹火」的伴侶「鳳嬌」,以累積超過一甲子的基礎,邀請各方勇於跨界,探索現代生活中,紙的萬千可能。


為了回饋社會,老字號的長春造紙廠,在25年前成立了樹火紀念紙博物館,在這個大隱於市的空間,向大眾開誠布公地分享累積數十年的造紙工藝。

不過,這不過是個起點,就在2018年,距離樹火咫尺之遙的地方,本來是一間紙鋪的街屋經過重新改裝,搖身一變,成為「鳳嬌催化室」的基地。

樹火的誕生,是樹火紀念紙文化基金會執行長陳瑞惠對父親的一個紀念,成全了長春棉紙廠創辦人陳樹火想打造一座紙博物館的未了遺願,新長出的「鳳嬌」,則取名自陳樹火的髮妻陳賴鳳嬌,象徵了夫妻的形影不離,陳瑞惠將新品牌託付給女兒李依耘,希望藉著家族力量,守護紙文化的綿延不斷。

紙鋪翻新,重賦新使命

在人潮熙攘、店家爭相競艷的長安東路,鳳嬌低調得讓人稍不留心就可能錯過。然而一旦推門而入,首先迎來的便是出乎意料的驚喜。

從天垂降、型如雲朵的裝置藝術,正是耐久的塑料纖維,以造紙技術相遇的完美結合,這一開門迎賓的象徵作品,明確傳遞出了這一新品牌、新空間的企圖。

老宅的前身,是同屬紙廠關係企業的老紙鋪,經過建築師洪浩鈞的巧心構思,原本的木作裝潢卸除以後,大膽裸露出斑駁的磚紅牆面,左手側是同屬前朝遺蹟的紙櫃,右手側的那一面,則特地包覆上僅有0.6公分寬的金屬網架,搭配可自由拆卸、移動的鐵板,方便用於展覽、陳列。而由長春棉紙廠獨立開發或代理的紙樣,共計36種,都已陳列在上頭。

然而,鳳嬌的收藏遠不只如此。耗費人力的手工紙、不再生產的絕版紙、超過30年的老紙……李依耘拉開紙櫃,小心翼翼地向我們展示這些外頭罕見、傳家的非賣品。

年紀輕輕的她談起紙張,語氣卻顯得無比懷舊。她教我們辨別機器紙與手工紙的不同,有別於機器紙的整齊劃一,手工紙獨有的毛邊,以及在抄製過程中,所留下來猶如浮水印的淡淡竹簾紋路,加上仰賴人工前後左右去擺盪,因而造就出每張紙的纖維紋理大不相同。

無法規格化量產的紙張,像極了私密的日記,記載下那天造紙師傅的心情與狀態,對於李依耘來說,紙張絕對不只有功能,「也是很感性的。」她這樣形容。

「樹火」扎根產業,「鳳嬌」孕育新生

背後有堂堂紙廠撐腰,在過去,樹火便已承接下許多極具挑戰性的案子。

最知名的便是2005年,專為林懷民的作品《狂草》打造的「雲門舞紙」。歷經近九個月的開發,200次以上的反覆測試,紙張終於通過測試,足夠輕盈,且便於收納、運送,能陪著舞團到世界各地巡迴,還能耐得住舞台燈的高溫,又能讓墨汁從七公尺的高處緩緩渲染而下,符合林懷民的想像,讓墨跡與舞者的舞姿相互對話。

2015年在北美館的展覽「X-site計畫:未知的質域」也是一例。建築師邱裕文利用以塑料纖維製作的「薄纖紙」,原來主要用在3C產品作為絕緣體的紙材,因著輕透、強韌的特性雀屏中選,與其他媒材搭配,構築出立體的空間地景,成功挺過三個月戶外展覽的風吹日曬雨淋。

就在鳳嬌籌劃成立的階段,2017年的文博會,受策展人王耀邦邀請,這款紙材也再度登場,成為展場中空間分隔的利器,大大有別於傳統展場多採用的木料展板。

這些過去被動式的合作邀請,一次次的鍛鍊,因而成就鳳嬌水到渠成的誕生。

有別於前往參觀樹火的,多是對造紙工藝感興趣的學生、親子遊客;踏入鳳嬌的,則常是身懷絕技的修復師、平面設計師、空間設計師、建築師、藝術家,這裡不僅滿足了他們對紙材種類的好奇,也常提出挑戰,邀請鳳嬌共同攜手解題。

「樹火是傳達我們所知道的事,鳳嬌是邀請別人一起完成不知道的事。」李依耘形容兩者的不同。

從紙出發,跨域實驗

紙本來就取材於大自然,這讓鳳嬌的團隊對於天然材質懷抱著無比熱情。

除了從不同元素汲取靈感,為單純的紙張「加料」,舉凡甘蔗、小麥、稻殼、鳳梨、咖啡渣,不同的素材,成為紙張的一部分,也造就了每款紙材不同的質地、特性。其中加入稻殼、質感溫潤的「稻禾紙」,也成為設計師方序中「集禾計畫」中的特刊包裝紙。

去年首次在「勤美學森大」課程上亮相的紙紗大衣,更顛覆了紙張脆弱、怕水的一貫特質,鳳嬌的團隊與台灣紡織廠合作,先以馬尼拉麻的纖維製成紙紗,再紡成堅韌、耐水洗的衣料,最後剪裁成時尚感俱足的大衣,100%可自然分解的天然材質,讓時尚不再背負環境殺手的惡名。

因著親近自然,團隊甚至關注到了鮮少人在意的苔蘚,高達1,500種的苔蘚種類,賦予了靈感,他們開發出不須人力照顧、可以自動澆灌的苔蘚植生牆,這片具美感的幽綠風景,已進駐在若干商業空間,撫慰都市人盼望親近自然的心。

「催化進行中,未來尚未來,鳳嬌現在還不急著定義自己。」恰如鳳嬌為自己下的註解,從紙出發,在這個致力催化未知的場域,一切都可能發生。

樹火與鳳嬌,背後存在著一段令人唏噓的往事。原來,陳樹火在世時便已身體欠佳,因嚴重的心臟病被醫生宣告來日無多,彼時的他便對興建博物館一事念茲在茲。

孰料人算不如天算,剛開放國人出國旅遊的1990年,陳樹火與陳賴鳳嬌夫婦相偕赴中國大陸觀光,卻在廣州白雲機場因劫機事件蒙難,驟然離世。

幸而陳樹火對紙文化的深情,經過家族情感轉化成後人的使命,空難後的五年,陳瑞惠催生出了博物館。

而現今的鳳嬌催化室,更在博物館的基礎上,以點亮紙張新可能的新使命持續生長,也讓鳳嬌與樹火,猶如昔日夫妻倆的鶼鰈情深,相伴相依,重聚於世。

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EN

Expanding Paper’s Possibilities

The Suho Museum and Its Fenko Catalysis Chamber

Lynn Su /photos courtesy of Lin Min-hsuan /tr. by Jonathan Barnard

Since the invention of paper, traditionally credited to the Han-Dynasty eunuch Cai Lun, humanity has been tightly bound to the medium. Together they have written the story of human civilization. But recently these bonds have been weakening amid a decline of paper culture.

Unwilling to surrender to this trend, the Suho Memorial Paper Museum’s companion exhibition space the Fenko Catalysis Chamber displays papers dating back more than 60 years and fosters trans­disciplinary approaches to exploring the myriad possibilities of paper in modern life.


 

Some 25 years ago, industry mainstay CNJ Paper decided to give back to society by opening the Suho Memorial Paper Museum. In its large space hidden in bustling downtown Taipei, the museum shares with the public paper­making techniques that it has amassed over many decades.

Nevertheless, that was only the beginning. In 2018, at a location just a stone’s throw away, the museum renovated a paper shop and gave it new life as the Fenko Catalysis Chamber, a satellite exhibition space of the museum.

Chen Ruey-huey, CEO of the Suho Memorial Paper Culture Foundation, launched the Suho Museum to memorial­ize his father Chen Suho, the founder of CNJ Paper, who had had an unfulfilled wish to open a paper museum. The newly developed Fenko is named for Suho’s wife—thus symbolizing that the couple was inseparable. Chen Ruey-huey entrusted the project to his daughter Lino Lee, hoping to leverage the family’s energies to protect the culture of paper far into the future.

A new mission for an old paper shop

Amid the crowds and beautiful shops of Chang’an East Road, the entrance to Fenko is so low key that one could easily pass it by without a second thought. But upon opening the door, one is pleasantly surprised by what one encounters. 

Hanging from the ceiling is an art installation that resembles clouds, made up of resilient synthetic fibers. A perfect combination of paper-making technique and art, this representative work clearly conveys the aspirations of the new space. 

The architect Hung Hao-chun oversaw the building’s transformation from its former incarnation as a paper shop. Wooden decorative panels were pulled out to reveal the building’s mottled brick walls. On the left side is a paper cabinet inherited from the old shop, and along the exposed brick walls there is a grid made from metal bars only six millimeters square, which is matched with metal shelves and panels used to display objects. Easily rearranged, the shelving is convenient for displays and exhibitions. And the 36 types of paper that CNJ Paper produces for its own paper brands and imports from overseas companies are all on display here.

Yet Fenko’s collection goes far beyond these. Labor-­intensive handmade paper, out-of-production papers, papers over 30 years old… Lino Lee opens up the paper cabinet and carefully shows us these rarely seen items, which have been passed down in her family and aren’t for sale.

Though she is quite young, her voice conveys a strong sense of nostalgia when she talks about these papers. She teaches us how to distinguish between machine-made and handmade paper: Unlike the uniformity of machine-­made paper, handmade paper has rough feathered edges, and the bamboo screen used in the manufacturing process leaves a faint pattern like a watermark. What’s more, the process relies on workers shaking the pulp right and left and back and forth on the frames, resulting in each sheet having distinctly different textures. 

Paper that can’t be mass produced resembles a secret diary, recording the mood and situation of the paper maker on the day of creation. In Lee’s view, paper isn’t merely functional; it’s “also quite sensual.”

The deeply rooted vs. the cutting edge

With the resources of a paper manufacturer behind it, Suho has been able to tackle many challenging projects.

Its most famous achievement is the “Cloud Gate Dance Paper” that Suho made for Lin Hwai-min’s work Wild Cursive. Requiring nearly nine months to develop, it was tested more than 200 times before it was deemed light and con­veni­ent enough to store and move so that it could be brought with the dance troupe on international tours. It also had to be able to withstand the heat from the bright stage lights and the application of ink on stage from a height of seven meters, thereby allowing Lin’s imaginative vision of a conversation between ink and dance to come to fruition.

The 2015 exhibition “The Texture of Uncertainty” at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum is another example. The architect Chiu Yu-wen used a paper stock made from PET fiber that Fenko calls “Snow.” Originally used as an insulator in the tech industry, it was chosen because it is light, translucent and tough. Chiu matched it with other materials to build a three-dimensional spatial landscape, which withstood three months of exposure to wind, sun and rain.

Those past collaborations set the stage for ­Fenko’s successful birth when conditions were just right. 

Unlike the students interested in paper arts and the families with children that have made up most of the visitors to Suho, those who visit Fenko are skilled restorers, graphic designers, spatial designers, architects, and artists. Fenko not only satisfies their curiosity about different kinds of paper; it also poses challenges as it invites them to work together to find solutions.

“Suho conveys our collective knowledge, whereas Fenko invites people to work with others to complete gaps in what we know,” explains Lee.

From paper to experimentation

Paper originally found its raw materials in nature—a historical fact that is echoed in Fenko’s passion for natural materials.

Apart from finding inspiration in different elements, paper creators at Fenko have added a variety of different materials to basic paper, including rice husks, coffee grounds, and fibers from sugarcane, wheat, and pine­apple. These become part of the paper and give different stocks their own feel and special qualities.

Last year, at a course called the Forest BIG launched by CMP Village, Fenko debuted a coat made of paper fabric, which upends the notion that paper is a fragile material prone to water damage. A team from Fenko worked with a Taiwan textile factory to first spin yarn from manila hemp and then weave it into a durable, washable fabric that they tailored into a fashionable coat that is made of 100% bio­degradable natural fiber. It offers one means for the fashion industry to clean up its act environmentally.

“The space is still being shaped. Its future is still in the future, and Fenko isn’t in a hurry to define itself.” Like a sheet of still forming paper, the space’s story awaits its writing.

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