Born in Kinmen in 1938, Lee Shi-chi’s artistic exploration frequently varied before 1973, which had brought him the title “the bird of variations in art.” After 1973, he established a unique personal style of a delicate serigraphy technique, which has become his feature until now. His artworks can be roughly divided into five series: the exquisite print works between 1970-1973 with “moon” as the main theme; The Worship of the Moon series in 1974 which can be regarded as the initial period when Lee’s artistic style gradually became stabilized; the Time Travel series in 1979; the Neon series (also known as Movement of Life) in 1984 which features the flowing calligraphic lines and the colors of soft gradation while it also inherits the style established in Time Travel; and Realization in 1986 which is famous for its square shaped seal stamped on the edge. These series mentioned above all feature the delicate use of colors and the flowing lines. Although the forms might be different, the essence of Lee’s artistic practice can be traced back to the inspiration of calligraphic art.
Lee Shi-chi is an artist focusing more on forms. For him, the form decides its content while the content decides its style. In the various forms of Lee Shi-chi’s artistic expression, the theme he has been exploring is the representation and the management of “the consciousness of time.” Lee Shi-chi’s artworks always feature the visualization of “rhythm” and “the consciousness of time,” which the artist inherits from calligraphic art. Such an artistic experience of “the consciousness of time” is particularly emphasized in cursive script. Lee Shi-chi thus transforms the traditional two-dimensional calligraphy into modern art pieces. Basically speaking, his artistic practice is established on the foundation of modern formalism, through which the artist reexamines the self-identity as a Chinese and explores the essence of calligraphic art in the Chinese tradition, adopting it as the artistic element of the form. It is how Lee Shi-chi creates his unique personal style. Throughout his long-term exploration, the artistic concept has remained unchanged since 1973.
“Original position” is a very important concept to Lee Shi-chi. In the late 1960s, he combined the work Variation of Circle and Square and the works which transformed the gambling tools of the folk culture as the main subject into the Original Position series. Original Position II (Circle) is a serigraphy work including ten pieces lined up horizontally. From the square to the circle, the transformation in-between creates various visual effects.
Lee Shi-chi went to the division of art at Taipei Normal Education School (the forerunner of National Taipei University of Education) as the recommended student with outstanding performance in 1955, and it was the same year when he started the academic education as an art student. It was also the same period of time when the modern art movement started in the post-war Taiwan. Under the influence of the trend, how to modernize his painting thus became an important issue for him. The 1960s could be regarded as a crucial stage in his artistic career. He started actively participating in activities and organizations which were involved in the modern art movement. He was the founder of “Modern Print Association” as well as the member of “Eastern Painting Groups” during the later stage of the organization. In the 1970s, there was a transition from the early abstractionism to the practice which combined optique art, pop art, and traditional patterns in his artworks. Later, he was searching for a new visual vocabulary from calligraphy and transformed it into a unique style of modernity in his painting. Lee Shi-chi is not merely an artist but also an important figure to introduce and to promote modern art in Taiwan. During the 1980s and 1990s, the painter started an art gallery with an attempt to cultivate the soil for modern art in Taiwan and to offer more opportunities of modern art exhibit. Through these exhibitions organized by Lee, many works of artists in other countries were introduced to Taiwan. The cultural exchange thus helped develop a new wave in the modern art movement. When we look back to the development of modern art in the 1980s in Taiwan, the contribution of Lee Shi-chi and his gallery cannot be left out from the thread. His strong belief in modern art has become the most significant string during that period of time. He is indeed the figure which represents the history of modern art in Taiwan.
|English title：||Original Position II (Circle)|
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|Collection Unit：||Collection of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts|
|Contact method for authorization：||
Guide to the Use of Image Files and Data from the Online Collection Database
|Related Exhibition：||"The Pioneers" of Taiwanese Artists, 1931-1940|