Born in Lugang, Changhua in 1949, J. C. Kuo graduated from Fine Arts Department at Chinese Culture College (the Chinese Culture University now) in 1973. He had studied with Lee Chun-shan privately for six years (1967-1973) from high school to college. Between 1976 and 1977, he was sponsored by Asia Foundation in the USA to conduct a field research on Taiwanese folk art, providing him a chance to explore the art of common people and the bottom of cultural life. Such a valuable experience thus became the most important advantage of J. C. Kuo in his future artistic practice.
After the research project was completed, J. C. Kuo came to Taipei to work in an advertisement company. He had resigned from his position twice to work as a full-time artist. However, the economic situation forced him to give up. In 1989, the 41-year-old artistic again quitted, devoting his life to art. In 1987, J. C. Kuo exhibited a series of works accumulated in the 1980s. During this period, he had already established his artistic style featuring collaged painting of juxtapositions between ancient/modern, East/East, and historical/cultural images sketched with his unique black lines. His works demonstrate a strong visual dynamic as well as an intense conflict. Since 1989, J. C. Kuo had created a great amount of works with high quality. Every one or two years, he would exhibit a series of works with a particular theme. The contemporary social issues in the Taiwanese society are the most discussed, analyzed, and mocked topic in J. C. Kuo’s artistic exploration, profoundly revealing the artist’s observation on the contemporary Taiwan.
The artist appropriates the classical composition in Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci’s (1452~1519) The Last Supper, and replaces it with Confucius and his thirteen disciples. The frivolous and yet playful scene is presented in an abrupt way to satirize the hypocrites in the congregation. The work is full of mixed images from the East and the West, as well as from the present and the past, perfectly demonstrating the artist’s unique aesthetic of variety and hybridity.
In the 1970s when J. C. Kuo had just graduated from college, the Taiwanese society experienced several serious political events such as “Defend Diaoyutai Movement,” “Withdrawal from United Nations,” and “severing the diplomatic relations with Japan and the United States of America,” which aroused intellectuals’ self-awareness of native culture and reflection on nationalism. The “Modern Poetry Polemic” in the early 1970s and the “Nativist Literature Polemic” in the mid-1970s announced the widespread Nativist Literature Movement – “to face the reality and to get close to the society”, which also influenced the art society. Artists embraced the romanticist nostalgia and the photographic realism technique of the American nativist master Andrew Wyeth and started the “Nativistic Movement of Fine Art” in Taiwan during the late-1970s.
Based upon his research and realization on the folk art of Taiwan, J. C. Kuo has a more unique interpretation about the cultural statement to “return to the land” than his contemporary artists. In the March of 1977, J. C. Kuo published the article “Return to the land? – a Discussion on the Reconstruction of Nativist Art” in Lion Art magazine. In the article, he rejected the romanticized nostalgia and imagination which permeated the contemporary art society in Taiwan. Instead, he emphasized on how industrialization and urbanization created the conflict between the traditional and the modern social values, through which he further provided a critical perspective to discuss the contemporary reality. Such a social conflict when a new era arrives has become the focus of J. C. Kuo’s future works.
|English title：||Totem and Taboo - Conference Center|
|Medium / Classification：||Oil paints and Acrylic colors|
|Artist：||J. C. KUO|
|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, 1941-1950|
|Related Work：||Chinese Complex|