HUANG Chin-Ho was born in Chiayi, 1956. He graduated from the Department of History in National Chung Hsing University in 1985. He mostly made abstractionist paintings in the early 1980s but later on adopted a neo-expressionist style. Huang left Taiwan for New York with his wife in 1989 because he aspired to develop a further career there. Just after more than three months, he realized that, when it comes to the Pop Art Movement, it is not only Pop Art that influences the American culture. The formation and development of Pop Art is deeply influenced by the culture, technology and lifestyle of the west, too. Looking back at himself and Taiwan, he realized he can’t make good art without being inspired by his motherland. Without hesitance, he returned to Taiwan to find a path and a stance for himself. Because Huang was trained in history, by this time, he felt an urge to delve into the local culture to help the island and its people find a subjectivity of their own. He set up his own studio in a warehouse beside a train station and made huge oil paintings which portray the cultural scenes of Taiwan. Huang shows a strong ambition to construct the “Taiwanese aesthetics” in his paintings. Inspired by the island’s sub-culture, he lavishly uses Buddhist and Taoist symbols and elements from traditional folk painting in his work. He exhibits the vitality and vigor of the local culture with bright, glowing colors, exaggerative, distorted shapes and a flamboyant, crowed painting structure. In this way, he has been able to establish visual aesthetics of his own, based on the life experiences in Taiwan, to defy the infiltration of the homogeneous language of art in a globalized world.
Rapture to the West uses the contradictory combination of a headless/brainless man, a chunky and lustful female body, and a luxurious Chinese graveyard to illustrate the materialism and confusing values in Taiwan’s contemporary society resulted from post-colonialism and globalization. Here, the “West” does not refer to the Nirvana in Buddhist beliefs, but is a satire to the lack of subjective cultural thinking. The artist uses “funeral” as a means of cultural criticism, implying that after the death of the “Western” or colonial influences, Taiwan will enter an era of new sovereignty where art can be built on its native culture.
Just before and after the lifting of the Martial Laws, quite a few artists were eager to establish visual styles that could illustrate Taiwan’s local subjectivity. These artists dared to stand against the ruling mainstream and even destroyed the “holy icons” of the society. In the meantime, they looked back at the folk and laymen cultures to find inspirations. During this time, HUANG Chin-Ho developed a set of “Taiwanese imageries” based on “radiance aesthetics.” He takes inspirations from temple festivities and people’s daily lives. The garnish stage settings of Taiwanese opera and puppet theatre, the overly strong decorations in KTVs and hair salons, and the coquettish glamour of construction promo shows and strip shows are transformed to be elements of his works. Huang portrays the rapidly advancing society of Taiwan with saturating colors and strange compositions. He offers a critical view of how culture and people change as Taiwan becomes wealthier and more driven by greed. There is a reactionary sentiment against the social system, the political mainstream, and the traditional aesthetics in Huang’s works. The artist often discusses political, humanity and cultural motifs as he analyzes Taiwan as a morally confused society. The swollen, disproportioned human figures and objects, which are awkwardly arranged for a strong visual contrast in his paintings, are meant to inspire viewers to re-examine the world they live in. Huang reveals Taiwan as an island sickened by globalization and all kinds of post-colonialist phenomena. With a wild, kinky and liberating approach, he vigorously challenges the urban culture and capitalist consumerism introduced from the west, the romantic nostalgia of the elite class, and a vain “great China” ideology.
|English title：||Rapture to the West|
|Medium / Classification：||Oil paints and Acrylic colors|
|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, 1951-1960|
|Related Work：||Celestial Hooligans|