Booth | F02

Artists | LI Chen, FONG ChungRay, YANG Chihung, DONG Shawhwei, YOSHIHARA Jiro, MATSUTANI Takesada, MOTONAGA Sadamasa, SEKINE Nobuo, HARAGUCHI Noriyuki, KOSHIMIZU Susumu, AFFANDI

Date | Oct 17-21, 2019

Venue | Taipei World Trade Center Hall 1 (No. 5, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, 110)

At Art Taipei 2019, Asia Art Center presents a 3-plus-1-section curated exhibition that offers works from eleven artists. “East Re-Translated” builds upon the gallery’s founding principle of re-discovering postwar Asian art; in addition to the research and promotion of Chinese artists, we have expanded our scope to include the art of émigré Chinese, Southeast Asia and postwar Japan. Since our 2017 gallery exhibition, Cheong Soo Pieng: A Centenary Celebration in Taiwan, Asia Art Center has formally embarked on the examination of Southeast Asian art. “Postwar Indonesia: Affandi” showcases works by the pioneering Indonesian Expressionist artist Affandi, whose landscape paintings documented the times and places of his travels, as well as their underlying characters, environment, spirituality that collectively made up the “Genius Loci”. “Matter and Form” features works of Mono-ha artist Sekine Nobuo and Post-Mono-ha artist Haraguchi Noriyuki, for whom we respectively organized Phase of Nothingess-Skin: Sekine Nobuo Solo Exhibition in January and Substance and Motion: Haraguchi Noriyuki Taiwan Premiere Exhibition in May. Together, the above three sections illustrate a microcosm of the development of postwar art in Asia, where local and international forces entangled to form intriguing relationships that catalyzed cultural openness and distinctiveness. Lastly, “A New Eastern Spirit: Genuine and Otherworldly” features artist Li Chen’s newest paintings from Ethereal Cloud series, “Silver and Black” and “Cotton and Linen”, in the setting of a tea house. The section includes sculptures from Ethereal Cloud, as well as Li’s early sculptures and paintings to exhibit the context of the artist’s drawings and the diversity in his creative endeavors.

Genuine and Otherworldly

LI Chen’s drawings can be divided into two categories; the first one includes manuscripts closely related to sculptures, such as drawings of the earlier series “Spiritual Journey through the Great Ether” and “The Beacon”, while the second one is an independent core of Li’s oeuvre. Works in the second category often develop into their own series, the earliest one can be traced to a collection of ink paintings from 1998 that included Icy Rock, Light and Shadow over Calm Lake, where the sculpture-like landscapes foreshadowed Li’s later three-dimensional creations; furthermore, the engraving-like flowing patterns in the painting (such as the base of the sculpture of Pu-Tou Mountain ) replaced the traditional landscape texture strokes pattern to exude a gracefully airy rhythm. Later on, Li also created paintings curiously shaped in landscapes or texts, with implications on both of his artistic thoughts and introspective humor; overall, his works present an abstract art expression reflective of a new Eastern spirit, both genuine and otherworldly.


The profound cultural inheritance of the East, through transformations in form, material and expressions, has cultivated the artistic spirit of a “New East” that will be demonstrated in “East-Retranslated”. Asia Art Center presents works by Fong Chung-Ray of the Fifth Moon Group, who infused the postwar style of Abstract Expressionism with Eastern elements to create original abstract paintings, and played a key role in the pioneering of art in Taiwan. Another Taiwanese trailblazer of abstract art, Yang Chihung, has incorporated the concept and style of Abstract Expressionism led by Jackson Pollock in the 1950s; his art departs from the representation of outer physical forms to instead reflect inner personal experiences. Dong Shawhwei was drawn to Impressionist art at an early age, then inspired by Taoist philosophy, she combines the two to create works of spiritual introspection.

Postwar Indonesia: Affandi

Postwar Southeast art can be categorized into two axes, with émigré Chinese artists on the one hand, and native Southeast Asian artists on the other. The exhibiting Indonesian artist Affandi is known to document his extensive travels in his paintings; however, beyond the illustration of a landscape or a place in time – he also painted the prevailing character and spirit of the subject, the genius loci. During the Dutch colonial period in Indonesia, the influx of Western art historians brought with them the latest art theories, inspiring the next wave of local artists. The then art hub of Indonesia, Yogyakarta, attracted artists from around the country to practice together, whose works mostly reflected contemporary lifestyle and political criticisms. Though representational paintings were still the dominant style recognized by institution and market, few native artists neglected the mainstream trend and devoted themselves in abstract art, thus solidifying their historical significance in reforming the expressions of Indonesian modern art.


Matter and Form

This section exhibits the relationship between “Gutai” and “Mono-ha” in postwar Japan in a progressing timeline. We may use World War II as a breakpoint in the course of Japanese modern art development; prior to the war, Japan has gone through the Meiji Restoration initiated in mid-eighteenth century that campaigned the country to de-Asia and fully westernize itself as part of Europe, hence naturally the development of art became deeply influenced by the West. Yoshihara Jiro, a former member of the prewar art group Nika Association, founded Gutai in 1954, and later invited Shiraga Kazuo and Motonaga Sadamasa on board. With the principle of “Never Imitate Others”, the group aimed to create a new path of Japanese art after seeing its decline in the aftermath of westernization. Matsutani Takesada is a second-generation Gutai member joined in 1963, who after the group’s disband, has innovated even radical expressions using natural materials and painting techniques, such as the Nagare series. In the late 1960s, postwar Japan saw the rise of the promising “Mono-ha” led by Sekine Nobuo and Susumu Yoshimizu, and later joined Haraguchi Noriyuki. The group emphasized the substantiality of the “matter” itself, and used matters as their main artistic subjects to uncover otherworldly meanings and engagements. Through an overview of the two, their pursuits of form and matter, and its inherent materiality, achieved the same academic status as their western counterparts and formed mutually influential interrelations; collectively, the two groups propelled postwar Japanese art towards an international new height.