林先生的藝術手筆

我們今期原本計劃採訪福州漆器公司的林存忠先生,請他講述其受永利澳門和永利皇宮路氹所託,為酒店搜羅藝術品的故事。但就在我們著手準備採訪的期間,傳來了林先生駕鶴仙遊的噩耗。感謝林先生兒子Den­nis的鼎力幫助,我們得以寫下這篇文章,向這位優秀的策展人、藝術家致敬。林先生深受永利渡假村上下員工敬愛,他搜集的藝術作品在永利展出,令來自世界各地的客人都為之著迷。

Wynn Magazine - - THE ARTISAN - MR. LAM’S LE­GACY by An­drea Ben­nett

In this is­sue, we had planned to in­ter­view Chuen Chung Lam of Foo­chow Lac­quer about the art pieces he sourced and com­mis­sioned for Wynn Ma­cau and Wynn Palace Co­tai. He passed away just as we were be­gin­ning our re­port­ing, but with the as­sis­tance of his son Den­nis, we wrote this piece as a trib­ute to the cu­ra­tor and ar­ti­san who be­came a beloved fig­ure around the re­sorts and whose art­works are now iconic at­trac­tions for vis­i­tors from around the world.

透過永利澳门正門大堂外綠洲玉池的落地玻璃牆,能看到一對精美的景泰藍駱駝。這對駱駝高度接近五尺,看起來就像輕盈地站於水面上。風水學講究好事成雙,駱駝也要成雙成對才寓意吉祥。這對駱駝在遊客照片裡的出鏡率如此之高,已經成為永利澳門的標誌性景觀。然而它們背後的故事遠不止裝飾品那般簡單。事實上正是它們的上一任藏家,香港福州漆器公司的林存忠先生建議說,駱駝有『沙漠之舟』之稱,象徵著沙漠之城拉斯維加斯的居民,遷居到永利澳門這片南中國海沿岸的綠洲之上,歡迎來自全世界的客人。 TWO GOLDEN CLOI­SONNÉ CAMELS face each other in a shim­mer­ing pool, vis­i­ble through floor-to-ceil­ing glass from Wynn Ma­cau’s main en­trance. Nearly five feet high, they ap­pear to stand right on the wa­ter. The prin­ci­ples of feng shui stip­u­late that they be placed in a pair. Be­cause they have been pho­tographed so fre­quently, the camels have be­come vir­tu­ally syn­ony­mous with Wynn Ma­cau, but to those who know their story they are far more than dec­o­ra­tive. In fact, Chuen Chung Lam, from whose Hong Kong ware­house they trav­eled, sug­gested that since camels are known as “ships of the desert,” they might rep­re­sent the peo­ple of the desert city of Las Vegas, re­lo­cated to this oa­sis on the South China Sea to wel­come vis­i­tors from around the world.

在2006年永利澳門正式開業前一周,這對駱駝才運到酒店,從此穩穩當當地矗立在大堂。Wynn De­sign and Devel­op­men­t執行副總裁Roger Thomas回憶說:『當時永利澳門已經全部裝修完畢,我和Steve Wyn­n站在大堂裡上下打量,他總覺得似乎還有哪裡缺少了些東西。』Thomas當時立即記起幾個月前在香港的福州漆器公司見過的一對駱駝,便向Wyn­n保證:『請明早11點鐘再來大堂,我會告訴你應該增加些什麼。』福州漆器公司的林先生當即答應連夜把駱駝運到澳門, Thomas這邊同時開始籌備安裝:『我和園藝部的Luis Mar­in商量過,決定用黑色石磚來做駱駝的水下支架。到第二天早上11點鐘,這對精美絕倫的駱駝已經在站立在水面上。我現在還記得Steve初次見到這對駱駝的表情。』那次不是Thomas第一次找福州漆器公司幫忙了。在Thomas看來,林先生就像一位阿拉丁寶藏的看守人,總能找到適合永利的藝術品。林先生的兒子Den­nis回憶道:『我父親常說, Thomas先生有非常精明的眼光,總能選走我們最出色的藝術品。』林先生對中國歷史、裝飾藝術和工藝的深厚知識背景,讓他得以在全球收藏界建立廣泛人脈;他努力推動保育國寶級手工技藝的事蹟,更在業界獲得廣泛讚譽。二戰期間,林氏家族在印度開始工藝品貿易生意。林先生的岳父是福州人,為躲避日本侵略而遷居印度。當時印度和香港都在英國控制之下,印度的中緬印劇院(China Burma In­dia Theater)是美軍支援中國的行動基地之一。Den­nis說:『外祖父當年就在印度和緬甸邊境賣中國手工藝品給美軍。』戰爭結束後, Den­nis的外祖父帶著全家定居香港,在1946年開設福州漆器公司。林存忠先生也是在福州出生, 14歲移居香港,在姐夫的藝術裝飾品店裡工作。1971年林先生與妻子結婚,隨後加入了岳父的公司。公司以漆器這種福州最著名的出口產品來命名。其中蜚聲國際的『脫胎漆器』工藝,需要用漆一層層地塗上麻布或絲綢織物做成的胎型,成型固定後,還要經過二十多個步驟處理—調製漆料、上油、塑形、打磨拋光等等。這項工藝始於清朝乾隆年間,與北京景泰藍、景德鎮陶瓷並稱中國手工藝術的三大寶藏。後來為了滿足大量出口廉價貿易的需要,這些工藝逐漸轉向工業化批量生產。但福州漆器公司仍然堅持收購純手工製作的作品。Den­nis說:『父親很喜歡景泰藍工藝,因為它複雜的製作過程完全以人手完成。父親堅信,真正的藝術品擁有長久的生命力。』林先生與Thomas的友誼早在永利澳門建成前二十年就已經建立。Den­nis回憶說。『父親知道永利準備在澳門開一家新酒店後,就開始著手幫老朋 Though they seem to have oc­cu­pied this spot for­ever, the camels didn’t ar­rive un­til a week be­fore Wynn Ma­cau’s grand open­ing in 2006, when, says Roger Thomas, Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent of De­sign for Wynn De­sign and De­vel­op­ment, “Steve Wynn and I were stand­ing in the lobby eval­u­at­ing the in­te­rior, which we do to­gether as spa­ces are fin­ished. Steve felt some­thing was miss­ing from the view.” Thomas re­mem­bered the camels from a visit to Hong Kong’s Foo­chow Lac­quer Com­pany months ear­lier and promised Wynn, “If you meet me here to­mor­row morn­ing at 11 am, I will show you a so­lu­tion.” Lam agreed to de­liver them overnight to Ma­cau. Mean­while, Thomas re­calls, “I con­spired with Luis Marin in our hor­ti­cul­ture depart­ment to have bricks painted black to cre­ate un­der­wa­ter stilt sup­ports for the pair. By 11 am, we had this mag­nif­i­cent pair of camels walk­ing on wa­ter. I can still see Steve’s face when he saw them for the very first time.” It wasn’t the first time Foo­chow Lac­quer had been a go-to re­source for Thomas. Mr. Lam—as he was af­fec­tion­ately known—served as the quiet keeper of what Thomas has called an “Aladdin’s cave” of treasures from which Wynn, through Thomas, got first pick. “My fa­ther al­ways said, ‘Mr. Thomas is a gen­tle­man who only skims the cream from our best items,’” re­calls Lam’s son, Den­nis. Through the re­la­tion­ships he cul­ti­vated all over the world, shar­ing his im­mense knowl­edge of Chi­nese his­tory and dec­o­ra­tive arts tech­niques, Mr. Lam is also cred­ited with keep­ing some of the most trea­sured Chi­nese hand­i­crafts not only alive but vi­brantly rel­e­vant. The his­tory of the Lam fam­ily busi­ness begins in In­dia dur­ing World War II, where Mr. Lam’s fa­ther-in-law—a na­tive of Fuzhou (for­merly spelled Foo­chow, the cap­i­tal city of Fu­jian province)—fled to es­cape the Ja­panese in­va­sion of China. Both In­dia and Hong Kong were con­trolled by the Bri­tish in those days, with In­dia also pro­vid­ing the base for Amer­i­can op­er­a­tions in sup­port of China in the China Burma In­dia Theater. “My grand­fa­ther started sell­ing Chi­nese hand­i­crafts to GIS at the In­dia and Burma bor­der,” Den­nis Lam ex­plains. Once the war ended, he set­tled with his fam­ily in Hong Kong, open­ing Foo­chow Lac­quer Com­pany in 1946. Mr. Lam had also been born in Fuzhou, and moved to Hong Kong at the age of 14, where he worked in his brother-in-law’s dec­o­ra­tive arts store. Af­ter mar­ry­ing his wife, he joined her fa­ther’s com­pany. †

友Thomas搜羅精美的中國藝術品。』除了酒店大堂的景泰藍駱駝,永利大樓和吉祥樹入口處的威武雄壯的銅獅雕像,酒店前台旁邊那對巨大的黃色景泰藍香爐,都出自林先生的收藏手筆。在永利澳門和永利皇宮裡面,隨處可見林先生為永利搜集的大型藝術作品的微型版,還有各種福州出產的精美手工藝品,林先生認為,手工創作的藝術應該得到更好的保育和傳承,他從不滿足於製作簡單的複製品。Den­nis回憶說:『當父親知道永利購入了著名的巴克勒公爵花瓶系列(一套極為珍稀的清朝花瓶,世上唯一可與這套花瓶媲美的一套四件花瓶現存於英國白金漢宮),他就想為永利製作一套微型版。永利允許我們仔細測量花瓶的尺寸,父親極為激動,他終於有機會近距離欣賞這套卓絕超凡的瓷器。』林先生花了超過一年半的時間,在多次嘗試之後終於製作出模型。模型由景德鎮的著名陶瓷大師製作, Den­nis覺得,製作過程折射出父親出色的創作天賦和性格:『我與父親並肩工作時,從他身上學到了從事這個行業必不可少的勤勉和耐性,還有對藝術的充沛熱情。』下次路過那雙標誌性的駱駝的時候,你或許會想起那個把它們帶到永利的人,更充分地感受到他協助永利為歡迎你而打造的這一方藝術樂土。 The com­pany was named for Fuzhou’s most fa­mous ex­port, its renowned “bod­i­less lac­quer­ware,” in which a model is cov­ered in lay­ers of grass linen or silk and brushed with layer upon layer of lac­quer. Af­ter the orig­i­nal model has been cre­ated, more than 20 steps—blend­ing the lac­quer, oil­ing, shape-set­ting, and pol­ish­ing— fol­low. The craft, which was first de­vel­oped in the Qian­long pe­riod of the Qing dy­nasty, is re­garded as one of the three treasures of Chi­nese arts and crafts, along with the cloi­sonné of Beijing and the porce­lain of Jingdezhen. And though all three tech­niques have been mech­a­nized over time to ful­fill the de­mand for cheap ex­ports, the mis­sion of Foo­chow Lac­quer has been to gather and com­mis­sion only pieces made by hand. “My fa­ther loved cloi­sonné,” Den­nis says. “The com­pli­cated man­u­fac­tur­ing process is en­tirely man­ual. He al­ways be­lieved that work­man­ship would live on in the art ob­ject it­self.” Mr. Lam’s friend­ship with Roger Thomas pre­dates the build­ing of Wynn Ma­cau by at least two decades. “When my fa­ther knew that Wynn was plan­ning to build a new ho­tel in Ma­cau, he started to gather very fine art­works from China for his old friend Mr. Thomas,” Den­nis re­calls. That col­lec­tion yielded the mighty cop­per lions by the Wynn Tower and Ro­tunda en­trances, a huge pair of yel­low cloi­sonné in­cense burn­ers by re­cep­tion, and, of course, the camels. In your wan­der­ings through Wynn Ma­cau and Wynn Palace, you will see other items from Foo­chow—as well as minia­ture ver­sions of the large art ob­jects that Mr. Lam brought to Wynn. True to his op­er­at­ing phi­los­o­phy that the in­tegrity of the work­man­ship needed to be kept alive, Mr. Lam would never be sat­is­fied with a sim­ple re­pro­duc­tion. “When my fa­ther knew that Wynn had bought the fa­mous Buc­cleuch vases”—a rare quar­tet of Qing dy­nasty vases whose only known equals oc­cupy Buck­ing­ham Palace—“he wanted to make a minia­ture for Wynn,” Den­nis says. “They let us mea­sure the orig­i­nal vases, and my fa­ther was so thrilled to have the chance to en­joy this mar­velous porce­lain ware.” It took more than a year and a half (and sev­eral tries) to fin­ish the fi­nal sam­ple, which was com­pleted by the fa­mous porce­lain ar­ti­sans of Jingdezhen, a process that Lam says re­flects the kind of per­son and cu­ra­tor his fa­ther was. “Even though he was a businessman, he would not com­pro­mise his prin­ci­ples for gains,” he says. “As I worked side by side with my fa­ther, I learned that this in­dus­try re­quires a lot of dili­gence and pa­tience—and pas­sion for this art.” So when pass­ing by those iconic camels, you might re­mem­ber the man who brought them here, and con­sider them his way of wel­com­ing you to a lit­tle oa­sis he helped to cre­ate.

Buc­cleuch vases in Wynn Palace. right, from top: Foo­chow Lac­quer Com­pany in Hong Kong, 1946; Den­nis Lam as a child in Foo­chow Lac­quer with his fa­ther, grand­fa­ther, and a cus­tomer; a green cloi­sonné jar in minia­ture. 從左至右:綠色景泰藍瓷罐的微型版;永利澳門收藏的巴克勒公爵花瓶系列; DEN­NIS LAM幼時與父親、外祖父在福州漆器公司與顧客合影;攝於1946年的福州漆器公司,位於香港彌敦道29號。

微型版的黃色景泰藍香爐。 A yel­low cloi­sonné in­cense burner in minia­ture.

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