Planting art into a garden, reflecting the resilience of life and the imagination of home
Curator | Li-hao Zhang
"I once read a story where the American painter Whistler (James McNeill Whistler, 1834-1903) was in a Paris coffee shop and there was a discussion about genetics, environment, contemporary political situation, etc. Whistler spoke at this time: "Art happens." That is to say, art itself has some mysterious elements. And I will use a new point of view to interpret this Argument. I'll say this: Whenever we read poetry, art just happens."
—— Bohes, "The Mystery of Poetry"
It can be said that Yin-Jiu Tang's poetry and art also happened like this. There is no issue or discussion, but the most direct confrontation between it and one's own life - there are many tensions and struggles, contradictions and conflicts.
Yin-Jiu Tang's experience in the first half of his life is peculiar and somewhat dramatic. He was born on the eve of the catastrophe ten years ago in China. From a young man from the countryside at the foot of Jiuyi Mountain in Hunan Province, he went to the Taklimakan Desert to engage in geological research for several years. The often quiet and frightening atmosphere of the place had become a time for him to think about life in the best environment. He then went into business with equal success. Until around 2015, Yin-Jiu Tang resolutely decided to leave his business and open a completely new page in his life.
He has always had a strong interest in philosophy, art and literature. When he lived in Beijing, he had frequent contacts with Zhi-lin Jin, an old professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts and a well-known painter. From him, he learned and understood that the essence of art is precisely the perception of existing subversion from the norm. After that, he began to ponder on his own, and devoted himself to writing and painting. In just a few years, he had achieved excellent works. Today, he combines multiple roles such as poet, novelist, and artist. In the face of changes in different life situations, ranging from imprisonment to liberation, he chose to face the uncertain personnel turmoil through creation, and put the self-dialectical thinking into poetry and painting. The two often appear to be in and out of each other and drive each other. In this regard, people may not be able to understand his works at first glance, but it creates a lot of interest in his audience.
Divide your soul with art to reveal your inner self
In addition to using words, Yin-Jiu Tang also uses art to distract his inner self through different media. His paintings were influenced by Francis Bacon (1909-1992), Lucian Freud (1922-2011) and Frank Auerbach (1931-) the three British heroes. I know that artistic creation is an endless battle between oneself and the strokes, lines and colors on the canvas, and the quality often depends on the process of self-competition. Therefore, in his eyes, no painting is completed, some are only a certain state of temporary reconciliation, and there is always the possibility of change.
This "Garden, Reconciliation with the World" is not only Yin-Jiu Tang's first solo exhibition in Taiwan, but also the first stop of his upcoming exhibition tour in Beijing and other places. In fact, the garden referred to here can also be regarded as an extension of Gaston Bachelard's concept of "Maison". It is often seen in most Western residences, and is well cared for and ordered by people. The gardens of Chinese literati, or the gardens simulated by natural landscapes and landscapes in the Chinese literati tradition... It seems that people always expect a garden that can bear the unbearable weight of life, and a garden that can temporarily relieve the influence of the external environment. A place that is temporarily away from the hustle and bustle and trivial matters, looking forward to a place where the distracted spirit can be comforted in such a space.
Such emotional projections are undoubtedly closely related to his life experience of constant migration from China to Hong Kong and then to Taiwan before the pandemic. The two main series of works in the exhibition, "Memories of a City" and "My Garden", have strong conflicting abstract expressions, and occasional vaguely identifiable figurative symbols can be seen to point to the title. Yin-Jiu Tang gradually constructs poetic space and life in the painting through random and free brushstrokes and the process of interlacing, reorganizing, and even breaking color blocks that are sometimes calm and heavy, and most times colorful. The resilience of his family may also be regarded as his long-term expectation or imagination of the house.
In the process of creating ideas, Yin-Jiu Tang was often inspired by a poem or a line of text, and then adapted it into a visual image, constantly allowing the written text and visual vocabulary to jointly outline the many possible appearances of linkage and transformation. For example, the main work "We Go Into Illusions" was inspired by the fantasy and adventurous old José Arcadio Buendía in the book "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Marquis, who wanted to leave his hometown and go to the outside world. Wandering around, looking for more things that have never been seen before, unexpectedly, after a long journey, he finally returned to his original village. What he did seemed to be in vain, but it also fully demonstrated the courage to set off on a long journey. This work is dominated by orange and yellow, with dark green, dark purple, cyan and other colors, and uses repeated round brushstrokes to continuously multiply and overlap in the picture, and finally transforms into a visual image of an acre of sunflowers blooming in the sun. The questioning of the essence of life.
At this moment, there are still wars in the distance, and the shadow of the pandemic is still lingering in our heads... Yin-Jiu Tang's exhibition not only depicts the current situation of the world with contradictions and turbulence, but it also highlights the ideal pursuit of facing the reality and coexisting harmoniously with it. As he said, "In this uncertain world, everyone should have a garden of their own, so that they can see where their souls come from and where they go." What is certain is that, whether poetry or art, creation is always the work of Yin-Jiu Tang.
The way he responds to himself and the society is also his most profound and sincere thinking and expression of life. And his creations are reminding us that no matter how bright the world is, there will always be flowers blooming into clumps.