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From background to foreground: the transition of landscapes



Curator: Liting  Jian

Artists:Wu Shang-Yung, Wu Shang-Wei, Lin Jiun-Ting, Fan Jia-En, Chuang Tsung-Hyun, Geng De-Fa, Lou Jing-Zhong

Exhibition time:  Fri.12th February 2016- Sun.20th March 2016

Exhibition Introduction:


 To see things which artist gives to us. This requires a concentrating eyesight and gets rid of any bias.

Daniel Arasse 

Landscape is a common element in ancient art. It was primarily the background of narrative or figure paintings for decoration, and gradually became an independent painting genre. This kind of painting which depicts natural scenery is called landscape painting in Western art system and called Chinese landscape painting” (Shan Shui Hua, mountain and water painting) in Chinese art system. These two genres are quietly different from concepts, forms and reading methods. 

Today, with art forms and media change, we are not able to categorize contemporary works by “landscape painting” or “Chinese landscape painting.” Even the definition of “landscape” does not confine to traditional geographic concept; instead, it can connect with spiritual states or live experiences. For instance, French scholar Catherine Grout manages to transfer “landscape” into individual experience in Represéntation et exprériences du paysage:


…We cannot recapitulate landscape in a single definition or single interpretation; rather, we should get familiar with semiotic changes, later contemplate the purest meaning of landscape by steps. Meanings of landscape vary from different themes (e.g. mountains, paradises, or villages etc.), vary from human and their activities (e.g. farmers, road workers, travelers or soldiers etc.), vary from moments (e.g. while driving, walking, shading, mourning, being sick or in love etc.), vary from age or gender distinctions and—of course, also vary from different ages (e.g. Medieval ages, Enlightenment ages, Concentration camp period or after Chernobyl event).[1]


 “From background to foreground: the transition of landscapes” aims to discuss how to reflect and transcend traditional landscape concepts and art genre. We invite seven artists: Lin Jiun-Ting, Geng De-Fa, Lou Jing-Zhong, Chuang Tsung-Hyun, Wu Shang-Yung, Fan Jia-En, and Wu Shang-Wei. Their works are not commonly seen as landscape, but more concentrate on how to respond to art system or conventions. They have favor themes and forms respectively, but their works all refer to “landscape” concepts. 

Lin Jiun-Ting’s videos mostly concern interactions between images and audience, directing audience’s eyesight to visual experience of conscious flowing through landscape travels. Lou Jing-Zhong’s uses installation to contemplate the relationship between lights and space, manipulating the Chinese landscape painting’s signals and the concept of “habitable and roaming.” Fan Jia-En also obtains materials from landscape, but his practice belongs to the digital generation. He emphasizes color partition, layers and transparence, creating his painting by decomposing and re-arranging images. Chuang Tsung-Hyun’s works use head-wrapping figures as signal to establish scenery or response the past art canons. Otherwise, artists also connect landscapes and sensational experience. For example, Geng De-Fa’s works represent dense touches and smooth coloration and express sentiments by sceneries. Influenced by Chinese landscape painting, Wu Shang-Yun’s configurations are simpler. He use blocks to create variations between figure and abstract. Wu Shang-Wei, however, does not confine to traditional theories of Chinese landscape painting, borrowing tree’s figure in his paintings. 

These discussions of “post-landscape” provide a broad perspective, forming important coordinates for contemplating landscape issues on knowledge system of art, media attributes and sensational experiences. Breaking the tradition and opening to multiple formations, we invite audiences to enter these “conversation” games. Welcome to “the city of eyesight.”



[1] English translate from Catherine Grout,《重返風景:當代藝術的地景再現》(Represéntation et exprériences du paysage),黃金菊譯(台北:遠流,2009),頁19。