Yang Yuan-tai was born in 1939 in Puzih Township, Chiayi County. His original name was Yang Guo-xiong but he changed it to "Yuan-tai", which is a homonym of "original state" in Mandarin. "Original state" also informs his artistic standpoint. In secondary school, he was taught by Taiwanese artist Wu Tian-min. Later, he entered Taipei Teachers College’s art department, and after that the sculpture department of the National Taiwan Academy of Art. His family was impoverished, so in those conservative times he frequented secondhand book stalls to buy old art magazines to learn more about European and North American art. This is where he first got the idea to study abroad. Aged 40, he resigned his teaching position and went to the US, where he studied ceramic art and sculpture. His art was influenced by the multicultural society and lifestyle of the US. He elected to make ceramics his main medium and set upon creating a style that combined sculpture and ceramics. After returning to Taiwan, he resolved to follow a life of simplicity, dedicating himself to creating with clay.
Taiwanese ceramics from 1970 to today has developed in diverse directions. Yang Yuan-tai's work is most representative of ceramics of simple and pure form and style. He treats earth and fire with a solemn, tolerant and humble attitude; not with gaudy glazes, but with an unembellished, substantive feel of sculpture.
The modern art scene in post-war Taiwan was dominated by painting. The majority of artists threw their lot into painting and painting reform. Few artists focused on sculpture or other three-dimensional styles. Work in these media and forms was therefore neglected by critics. Yang Yuan-tai was amongst the the first artcollege trained sculptors in post-war Taiwan. However, after studying abroad he chose to combine ceramics and sculpture as his style of art. He went against the norm in modern sculpture and modern ceramics in Taiwan, and his creative courage in developing a new medium was praised. Yang Yuan-tai had no teachers in the field of ceramic art, yet he was able to master difficult skills and produced a series of representative works, including Kinship, Tribute to Homeland, Time, Romance of the Sea, Tribute to Cows, Earth Suite, Dance of Fire and Mountain Rhyme. These works were produced by virtue of his steadfast artistic concepts and whole-hearted zeal. His simple creative media were the depictions of fire and earth. His works exuded a combination of sculpture concepts
|Medium / Classification：||Ceramics|
|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|
|Related Work：||Work A Work 1994-6 Rhythm of Mountain|