Born in Taichung in 1960, HUNG Tien-Yu graduated from Hsinchu Teachers College (the National Hsinchu University of Education now) in 1980. In 2000, Hung won the First Prize of LIAO Chi-Chun Oil Painting Award. Since he first started his artistic career, he has been fascinated by the observation on and the depiction of nature, dealing with his subjects by capturing the natural scenery. In his artworks, he meticulously depicts the transformation of light and shadow as well as the four-season natural scenery which changes with the passing of time. In 2001, he held the solo exhibition Memoir to the next Generation of Formosa at Taipei Fine Arts Museum, while in the exhibition he continued elaborating the subject of his catalogue Landscape in Blanks: Memoir of Formosa from 1700-2000, which was published in 2007, and furthered his artistic focus.
As a field researcher, HUNG Tien-Yu studies the geography, history, biology, and ecology of specific places, combining what he sees with the pre-existing written documents to tell the hundred-yearold story of Taiwan’s forest. Meanwhile, he juxtaposes the concepts of “primitive landscape” and “landscape in blank.” In his series works, he leaves the spaces where the human civilization intrudes the natural scenery in blank to demonstrate the gradual disappearance of the beautiful landscape, reflecting how the land of Taiwan has been destroyed and exploited by the progressive civilization. The series works after 2007 such as Mercy Feast and Altar focus on food culture, using blood-stained images to remind human beings, who are given the power to rule the earth, to be merciful to all living things instead of sacrificing these creatures for culinary pleasure. The works indeed full of the attempt to awaken the world. The series Money Rules the World – the Tropical Forests which has started in 2011 further explores how the international enterprises destroy the natural environment of the Third World, criticizing and revealing the harm of the global capitalism and commercialism.
HUNG Tien-Yu juxtaposes his imagination and studies about the ecological environment of Miaoli with the present reality of the intruding civilization, depicting the scenery of Miaoli in different centuries. The space where the scenery exists is the subject of his paintings, while time is another major theme in his works. The symbolic composition freezes the progress of time and the blank space – which suggests the invading civilization within the frames –, creating a unique two-way dialogue. Meanwhile, the images in his paintings also change chronologically with the passing of time from the primitive luxuriant forest, the field scenery during the Chin Dynasty, the rarely developed land during the period of Japanese rule, to the disappearing greenspace (which is the blanks) caused by the expanding population. Hung’s depiction of the landscape is like the photos of the deceased, demonstrating civilization’s progressive intrusion on nature. His intentional “blanks” thus become a warning symbol for the later generation to keep in mind.
Standing in front of the mountains occupied by tombstones and wilted grass, I think of her virgin look that still rarely visited by others. It is like facing a stem which the flower is plucked and all I can think of is to run away. If you can skip the disgust at first and slip into the tunnel of time, smooth as star sailing over the sky, then the age of innocence will encounter with you. You will find a land where vines climbing and interweaving together, orchid is fragment, the tender shoots of Short-tailed Leaf Tanoak is in such brilliant green while camphor trees, Taiwanese sugar palms and Taiwan Incense-cedar compose such harmony tone with different shades of green. The mist and dew moisture this land all year long. Ah! It is a land where macaques and clouded leopard freely play around and they could rub grass to breath the fresh and yet ancient smell.
When visiting a town or village and comparing the longitude and latitude between the increasing of population and the shrinking back of the Nature, it is always so obscure to understand: so many historical lessons already prove that no broad fertile land could afford to be consumed by human beings, generation by generation. No intelligence or strategies could stop the collapse of eco-system from the population accumulation. Regardless of Nile River, Tigris River or the Yellow River, there have been discarded tombs and burials scattering alongside those rivers. However, taking viewpoint from the progress of civilization, it seems that human beings can never learn the abundantly clear rule. Why is that?
Maybe it is because we human beings swing between two death ends (one is the unknown status about where we are born from and the other is the uncertainty about where we would go after death), so what we could do is to use every breath to collect, hunt, accumulate, digest, ponder or get drunken as much as we could. After all, that fathomless dark hole is quietly spinning around everyone, just like dark shadow silently attaches to a body. Either to please it or to course it, either the moment it should come or it should not come as you think, it would come without hesitation anyway. Being rich and happy or being poor, ill and feared, no one can change the predictable final result. There is nothing to do with me whether the person buried under the ground is a hero or a villain. Someday there would be someone stepping over the top of our tombs. Therefore the best strategy we could think now is to take best use of our limited life, drink as much as we like, enjoy the momentum before the sun goes down. So we don’t want to look back at our past. We don’t want to think too much. We don’t want to love too much. We don’t want to involve with fields that money cannot touch. Even though the musical notes of salvation broadcast around flower and the commitment of immortality pass by among stars, we in such common mortal bodies can only let it go with such foolish smile on our faces.
Maybe this is it!
Maybe this is it!
- HUNG Tien-Yu
As an academically trained artist, HUNG Tien-Yu has always been fascinated by and devoted to various painting skills which range from classicalism, impressionism, to post-impressionism. However, he decides to get rid of the academic training, searching for the most truthful artistic essence from his observation on the natural scenery and developing his own artistic vocabulary on the basis of his life experiences which are closely tighten with the land of Taiwan. The co-existing relationship between human and nature is the focus of HUNG Tien-Yu’s artistic practice. The intentional “blanks” in his paintings become the unique transformation for him to interpret contemporary civilization.
The on-going series Landscape in Blanks features Taiwan’s landscape, while the artis transforms the progress of the civilization’s intrusion into continuous images on the basis of his studies, field research, imagination, and integration. The intentional blanks ironically expose how civilization intrudes and destroys nature. The imagined reality and the present reality are juxtaposed chronically in his paintings. His works thus go beyond the limitation of time and space to visualize the landscape, speaking out for the vanishing scenery through their visual dynamics and giving a voice to the wounded nature.
|English title：||Miaoli Quartet|
|Medium / Classification：||Oil paints and Acrylic colors|
|Dimensions：||120×120 cm×4 pieces|
|Collection Unit：||Courtesy of the artist|
|Contact method for authorization：||
|Related Exhibition：||"The Pioneers" of Taiwanese Artists, 1951-1960|