Famous painter Jhychen Wu holding solo show in Taiwan


The artist wants to help people learn more about Taiwanese life
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
Page 3
2008-04-11 12:54 AM

Well-known Taiwanese painter Jhychen Wu (巫日文), who has been studying, working and residing in France for more than 10 years, recently returned to Taiwan to hold a solo exhibition entitled "The Face Code," featuring abstract portraits of those who have dedicated themselves to serving this land and its people.

Wu has been studying painting under the guidance of well-known painter Lee Shih-chiao (李石樵) since he was 16 years old. Wu was later encouraged by his teacher to go to France to pursue advanced studies there. He was admitted to Lyon College of Arts as an art student and had to work many part-time jobs to support his studies there.

Wu has greatly expanded his vision as a painter and artist while in France. His works have begun to receive attention because of his constant pursuit of breakthroughs in his creative works.

Since 1997 Wu has dedicated himself to creating works featuring people who have dedicated themselves to Taiwan and its people.

He returned to his hometown in Nantou County in central Taiwan for a three-month field study in order to learn more about the people in his works. Each of his paintings is like a field study report.

Wu wishes to help people around the world to learn more about people from all walks of life in Taiwan's society who have dedicated themselves to the creation of a common experience about living in Taiwan.

So far Wu has chosen dozens of people as subjects of his works on display at the exhibition. Among them are the Buddhist Master Cheng Yen (證嚴法師), Puppet Master Lee Tien-lu (李天祿), Singer Teresa Teng (鄧麗君), Nobel Chemistry Prize winner Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), and the late twin daughters of former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄).

Also included are foreign missionaries such as Joyce McMillan (瑪喜樂阿嬤) and Lillian Dickson (孫理蓮), who dedicated themselves to taking care of people suffering from all kinds of chronic diseases since they came here several decades ago.

"Doesn't this painting look like someone?" is a frequent comment from spectators. Wu is different from other painters in that he constantly seeks an astonished reaction from spectators from their inner hearts after viewing the destruction in his original paintings.

This amazement generated by the viewers is exactly what the artist anticipates. The way he brushes his paint on over and over again is like encoding his artworks, and the conversations within the spectators are like the process of decoding.

He has deliberately adapted a fast brush technique in his painting and uses low chroma colors to demonstrate a blurred face. In addition, he adds horizontal and vertical strokes in his paintings in order to use the paintings to construct image codes.

For Wu, the faces in his paintings represent a kind of symbol and code within which unselfish spirits are hidden. These codes can be deciphered only when you try to understand the profound and long-concealed meanings of ideas. This way of approaching his painting is like a process of encoding so that existing messages (the faces of characters in the painting) are hidden, and original meanings are turned into a new genre (twisted and deformed faces).

Wu's paintings challenge the images that are taken for granted by common society. He tries to express what he comprehends from these characters.

These kinds of codes establish concealed images, and each drawing is similar to the process of encoding, transmitting and decoding. This allows people's thoughts to move back and forth between reality and unreality. The resulting philosophical articulation easily inspires reactions from the audience, and the blurred images remind us of the soul of our life.

Wu's exhibition at Gallery 41(斯依畫廊) at No. 41, Lane 100 Dun Hua South Road Sec. 1, Taipei, will run through April 27. Those interested in the exhibition may call (02) 8773-5089 for more information.



Wu and his painting - a portrait of his art teacher Lee Shih-chiao.
Courtesy of Jhychen Wu

Teresa Teng
Courtesy of Jhychen Wu

Lee Shih-chiao
Courtesy of Jhychen Wu

Lillian Dickson
Courtesy of Jhychen Wu

Buddhist Master Cheng Yen.
Courtesy of Jhychen Wu

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