Richard Lin
簡歷年表 Biography
個展自述 Statement
相關評論 Other Criticism
相關專文 Essays
網站連結 link

Freestyle transformation
文 / 巴諾亞

Variations of Geometric Abstraction in Taiwan’s Contemporary Art brings together nine artists to show that the genre remains a strong and innovative force in the country’s contemporary art scene

Though the lifting of Martial Law in 1987 signaled a new era of freedom in Taiwan, curator and art historian Jason Chia-chi Wang (王嘉驥) says the accompanying demonstrations and vocal social movements almost sounded the death knell for geometric abstraction, an art movement that at the time was still in its infancy.

With its focus on the rational depiction of geometric forms freed from representational constraints, geometrical abstraction faded into the background amid an atmosphere more directly concerned with social issues.

“From the early to late 1980s, geometric abstraction had a domain in the [art world]. But [after] Martial Law [was lifted], the trend shifted away from geometric abstraction to the hustle and bustle of social criticism,” Wang told the Taipei Times on Friday. “Caged lions were set free and all of a sudden these artists were no longer the main actors on the stage.”

Fast-forward 23 years and it would appear that the genre, if not taking center stage, is at least no longer hiding behind a curtain.

“This year is geometrical abstraction year,” Wang declared. “We have Richard Lin’s (林壽宇) big show in Kaohsiung. We have Tsong Pu (莊普) everywhere,” he said, referring to two of Taiwan’s most prominent abstract artists. “Even young artists are still doing this and I think it continues to have potential.”

Variations of Geometric Abstraction in Taiwan’s Contemporary Art (台灣當代幾何抽象藝術的變奏), a nine-person show curated by Wang and currently on view at Eslite Gallery, brings together pioneers of geometrical abstraction in Taiwan such as Tsong, Hu Kun-jung (胡坤榮) and Chen Hui-chiao (陳慧嶠), as well as younger faces born after 1975 such as Chen Shiau-peng (陳曉朋), Wu Tung-lung (吳東龍), Hong Shao-pei (洪紹裴) and Mia Wen-hsuan Liu (劉文瑄).

Geometrical abstraction began in the early 20th century with Wassily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian’s non-objective paintings that placed geometric forms — rectangles, triangles, circles — of solid color within a non-representational framework.

Opinions vary on the exact date that geometric abstraction took root in Taiwan. Although modernist literary journals were featuring “Russian-like geometric designs” on their covers as far back as the 1960s, Wang said that Lin’s return to the country in the early 1980s provided the necessary father figure around which other artists could gather.

“Lin is generally considered the pioneer. He influenced or inspired artists like Tsong Pu, Hu Kun-jung and Chen Hui-chiao. They took what Richard Lin taught them and started to work in that art form: minimal in shape and in surface,” Wang said.

Wang said he chose to display the works in a gallery rather than a museum for fear that an exhibition at the latter might be construed as a burial rather than a resurrection.

Also, as is common with many recent exhibits in Taiwan, Variations of Geometric Abstraction is a response to trends taking place in China’s art scene.

“The exhibit started out with Tsong Pu telling me that we need to do this [because] we are so marginalized while China is developing this abstract art. Taiwan started out so much earlier. He has this sentiment, if not resentment,” Wang said.

Of the 37 works on display, 27 were completed this year; none were produced before 2007. For purists, the exhibit features Tsong’s paintings of dappled brushstrokes rationally arranged in black, white and gray, as well as Hu’s freestyle forms of bent frames and Cezanne-inspired colors.

Some of the younger artists have followed in the footsteps of their older peers. Chen Shiau-peng’s City Frame II — My City Center (城市框架II-我的市中心) evokes the minimalism of Mondrian’s grid-based paintings of solid forms, though here toned down by the use of soft pink, purple and orange.

Yet it is the younger artists who are creating the “variations” in this show. Liu’s I Can’t Stop Rolling It Up (無法停止捲捲捲), for example, adds a further dimension to the minimalist conversation of line, color and shape: texture.

The mural-sized canvas is composed of 144 sheets of watercolor paper — some painted in acrylic, others left blank — cut into 600 units that resemble simple brushstrokes up close, or feathers from far away. She then numbered each unit and affixed it to a metal frame. The result is a flowing mass of color and calligraphic texture, underpinned by a logical ordering that retains a bond to abstraction. Its plumage-like appearance gives the impression it could fly off the gallery wall.

When questioned about I Can’t Stop Rolling It Up’s seemingly expressionist character, Wang concurred, but added that it is “built up carefully, logically, constructively and repetitiously, [which] is very typical of minimal art in both essence and spirit.”

Hong’s three-dimensional acrylic paintings and Chen Hui-chiao’s installation of repetitive circles in Winter Sun (冬日) also broaden the genre while retaining its spirit and essence.

With all the recent attention paid to geometric abstraction, I asked Wang if it might become a school.

“This is a history without context, or de-contextualized history. It’s not in our tradition or in our culture ... so it [can] mutate — you know, adding elements from outside. Artists use it as their own pure aesthetics. It works for them; but not in terms of a whole generation or a whole school. We have this form and people use it in a very free way. It’s more like a freestyle transformation,” Wang said.

(Published on Taipei Times: Wed, Nov 17, 2010 - Page 15) 
Copyright © IT PARK 2024. All rights reserved. Address: 41, 2fl YiTong St. TAIPEI, Taiwan Postal Code: 10486 Tel: 886-2-25077243 Fax: 886-2-2507-1149
Art Director / Chen Hui-Chiao Programer / Kej Jang, Boggy Jang