Exhibition Lame Syndrome – Liao Yuan 2011 Solo Exhibition
Artist Liao Yuan
Duration Jun. 25 – Aug. 7, 2011

Taipei Fine Arts Museum

181 Zhongshan North Road Section 3 Taipei

Lame Syndrome – Liao Yuan 2011 Solo Exhibition

Artwork, especially easel painting, has been thought to only be precisely grasped and understood when it is seen in the original context of its creation. After winning first prize in the Taipei Arts Awards in 2003, artist Liao Yu-an is back at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum to hold his solo exhibition, featuring his latest works. He thoroughly rearranges standard white cubic space and thereby changes the experience of the window-style-view. These impressive works of art, along with computer chairs and Japanese-style washitsu seats in the exhibition hall, invite viewers to physically enter the space and become a part of it. Thus the viewers are taken on a journey of situational observation.

When viewers stand in front of the artwork, the sense of weight and motion of the figures in the paintings seem like the projections of the viewers themselves. When viewers squint with the intention to see the figures’ faces clearly, the figures’ hair starts to resemble a demon’s outstretched arms, and the finely-painted hair raises the viewers’ anxiety. Again, the viewers hold their breath and are led to another emotional state of speechlessness and embarrassment by the figures’ twisted facial expressions and languishing body movements before grasping the plot.

Through his artwork, Liao Yu-an strongly draws attention to a variety of “civilization diseases” that modern people are confronted with, like the turning of a blind eye or a twisted soul. The paintings don’t intend to make the viewers smile understandingly; rather, they highlight that these diseases silently invade and spread into people’s daily lives. These diseases are changing contemporary society’s structure of thinking. The illogical combination of roles is the epitome of a society in ridiculous disorder. The tilted flat lines make the protagonists inadvertently lose balance so that they might pitch out of the frame anytime. All protagonists suppress their real feelings. Through this morbid conditioning of suppression they control the “lame” and balanced transient moment.

In his latest pieces, the artist extricates himself from his original theme of self-portrait. We feel that the artist, who is deeply involved in the plot of the story, has in the process of his conceptual transformation created his artworks under the psychological condition of “civilization disease”. Liao made precise compositions by meticulously painting color planes with an X-Acto knife and masking tape. The details of his paintings are full of layers of different pigments. Liao uses daring colors to create wrapping-paper-like patterns on the canvas. His meticulously calculated composition and color design on the canvas along with his use of texture, which borders neurotic repetition, reveals the artist’s suppressed emotion during the complicated and time-consuming painting process. The figures, therefore, seem to be sugar-coated in order to varnish over the dark truth. Compared with the creation process using new media, painting requires a long process of nurturing. In this solo exhibition, Liao Yu-an uses masking tape to divide and mask in most of his work. The distribution and combination of different colors is related to the artist’s color memory experience. Thus we can see the sophistication and precision of the color technique that he has developed over the past years.

Furthermore, there are numerous objects between the canvas and the outside of the frame. They are like the tentacles of the figures getting in touch with real society. Viewers are encouraged not only to appreciate the artwork, but to play with the objects as well. The act of visiting an art gallery in a conventional way is not effective at this exhibition. An interdisciplinary life performance is about to start. Thus viewers become a part of the drama, entering the artist’s world.

Then the underlying condition develops the artist’s central claim: that most modern people rarely concentrate on one thing. Therefore linear thinking is not enough. Go roam among the works of art as you please! After playing with them and taking a break on one of the chairs, take a second look at the paintings. Once more you will find something new.


By Wu Yuqian


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