Immersing in Mountains: Dissolving the Boundaries
Immersing in Mountains: Dissolving the Boundaries
Nature has always existed around us. However, it has always been rather distant and strange to us as well. Whenever we hope to be near nature, we seem to be at a loss. At such a moment, how do we approach nature?
How do we be near to nature? In this era when boundaries seem to have dissolved, this question might sound somewhat redundant. The ancient people feared remote places; moreover, the indigenous people have always believed that mountains have a soul and would perform specific rituals to express gratitude and seek protection. This is how indigenous people approach nature. In history, humans entered mountains at a very early period. Mountaineering originated in Europe at the end of the 18th century; and the mountains in Taiwan were investigated for the first time by Japanese scholars during the period of Japanese rule. Yet, mountaineering in Taiwan did not become popular until the 70s. Humans go into the mountains for many reasons, which all reflect our curiosity about and longing for unknown places.
This exhibition refers to mountains in a broad sense and uses them as a metaphor for nature and all life in the ecosphere that we might come into contact in the everyday life. “Being near” means varied things in different times, and the context today has changed greatly from that of the past. Being near to mountains does not simply mean a physical activity that denotes a challenging trip of mountaineering or an adventurous expedition. Instead, it carries deeper implications of politics, consumerism, human-centrism, as well as how breathtaking landscape has gradually been wasted and depleted by human desires in the past decades. Today, environmental awareness is already widespread. However, when a pandemic is now sweeping through the world and recurs in a way that has extensively limited us to move freely, something seems to be calling us to revisit the mountains. The question about how we can be near nature might be somewhat outdated, but the ways to approach nature are numerous. Regarding this topic, there are even more discussions, interpretations, marketing and imagination, which have mixed and shaped the distinctive landscape of the Anthropocene. In this society that demands clear division of everything, the boundaries between nature and civilization have instead become more and more indistinct.
This exhibition features works by Lu Hsien-Ming, Hung Tien-Yu and Lin Wei-Hsiang, who focus on different subject matters to delineate and represent natural landscape respectively. In the exhibition, as we physically go higher and higher, we will see the changing line of vision and state of mind. As the viewpoint shifts from close to distant, the images also move from visually distinct, to elaborately minute, to abstractedly fluid. As we physically move through the exhibition, the delicate feelings towards mountains, their social role, the force of life and human’s entanglement with and longing for nature will be naturally revealed.
About the Artists
Lu Hsien-Ming (b. 1959-) was born in Taipei, and graduated from the Department of Fine Arts, Chinese Culture University (CCU) in 1982. When he was a junior in college, he was already awarded the New Talent Award of Hsiung-Shih Fine Arts. After completing military service in 1985, he held his first solo exhibition at Chia Jen Art Gallery. Since the end of the 80s, Lu has been an active member of Taipei Art group and Hantoo Art Group, of which the members were mainly CCU art graduates. In 1984, he served as the chairman of Huagang Chinese Modern Arts Society and the editor of Mountain Wind Art News. In 1992, he became the chairman of Taipei Art Group. From 1995 to 2018, he served various positions, including the executive secretary of the Taipei Visual Arts Institute. From 2003 to 2007, he was the chairman of Hantoo Art Group.
Between 1979 and 1987, a turn in Lu’s creative state of mind and style was visible. During this period, he graduated from college, finished military service and began his artist career. It coincided with a period when Taiwan’s martial law was lifted and the economy and society became more open. The drastic social changes had a great impact on him, and his work gradually shifted from being inexperienced and cold towards critical and intense. Such a shift could be observed in several of his art series, including Bridge (1991-1996), Figures (1995-2007), Urban Theater Period (2007-2016) and Old Trees Period starting in 2017. Throughout these series, Lu has begun with his own struggles in life, and moved to the industrial characteristics of cities and people from the low social stratum before eventually returning to the subject of nature and life in recent years. In spite of these changes, his work has always revolved around people or the human condition reflected in his construction of objects. His painting style has evolved from strongly emotional to affectively rational, depicting different situations and purposes with diverse techniques. In a later period, he has also added materials of varying texture, such as metal, to create semi-installations. Lu’s works have been exhibited in Japan, Korea, China, Mongolia, Singapore, etc., and are included in collections of numerous art institutions, such as Taipei Fine Arts Museum, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taitung Art Museum, White Rabbit Gallery in Australia and Long Museum in Shanghai.