Each Modern proudly presents its first exhibition featuring the works of artist, poet, and curator, Li Yuan-chia (1929-1994). Li Yuan-chia and Homages To features a selection of water colors, hand colored photographs, folding books, wooden relief and other creations by Li exhibited with the works of six younger Taiwanese and Chinese artists working within the contemporary context. These new works reflect an esteem and appreciation for a seminal figure within Chinese abstraction that crosses not only borders and physical boundaries, but generation and time as well.
Li Yuan-chia’s historical context and background make it a unique challenge to categorize him. His photographic works typify this difficulty, as the hand-colored prints draw attention to the paradoxical singularity of a reproducible medium. Accompanying these works are a grouping of water colors that too straddle the multiple points from which he approached his practice, points of tradition and modernity.
In Taiwan, under the tutelage of artist and teacher Li ChungSheng, Li Yuan-chia and his peers would form the Ton Fan Group in 1956, arguably the first chapters of Chinese modern
abstraction. Through these relationships, one can see how pedagogy was an important part
of Li’s life. Li’s LYC Museum (1971-1982), apart from exhibiting the works of over 300 artists, served as a center for arts education to the young people all across Li’s rural Cumbrian home. Li’s emphasis was at times on the notion of “play” as a force to be explored; a philosophy reflected in his later kinetic sculptural works. With these histories in mind, Each Modern brings together a group of young artists who draw parallel, perforated, or tangential lines from Li Yuan-chia’s own “dot.”
Chinese painter Xu Jiong’s works push and pull between the worlds of graffiti, traditional ink painting, and abstraction, showing the tension that exists in even the most grounded motions within the contemporary. Reflecting a similar tension, Chou ShihHsiung’s personal histories and traditional motifs perform in concert in the form of a constructed structures and stories. Just as cosmic points were of concern to Li, Lan ChungHsuan’s contemplations of star maps and human dust tell a utopian story of rustless iron within the vacuum of space. Home, distance, horizontal orientations, fauvist colors and the act of painting itself are constellations within Lin YiHsuan’s playful paintings. Histories and their permutations are addressed in the works of Wu ChuanLun and Chang TingTong. Wu attunes his work with the digital brush and debris of his Berlin. Chang’s collaboration with historian Simon Schaffer recreates a antiquarian object, the clock, in a contemporary context through 3D printing. As part of the exhibition, Helen Petts’ film “Space and Freedom” will be screened. Mixing Li’s own archival films with field recordings and footage shot by Petts’ in Cumbria, the film attempts to connect the landscape and memories of Li through its own interactions.
Li Yuan-chia and Homages To seeks to bring unexplored histories to the surface through connections made in the present in new and unimagined ways. In collaboration with The Li Yuan- chia Foundation, Each Modern presents an exhibition that invites visitors to stand before new and emerging cosmic points.