In 2007, I served in military for obligation on Mt. Shou (Shoushan) in Kaohsiung. I had to wear a pair of shining shoes and my military uniforms had to be specially revised by tailor. There were even 3 lines firmly ironed at the back of that uniform. For me, this splendid uniform was quite superior to other privates in my camp.
I was served in situation room where the military deal with Intelligence. I had to be on call for 24 hours and to keep inside the office unless with orders. There was even someone specially delivering my meals. It’s not free. However, fortunately, the jobs were easy to do. A discharging brother left a red gorgeous fight fish to me. Its name is Moo-Dan (it means peony). Moo-Dan was put above the closet in my office, and swam in a round glass jar. Its living space was that small space, less than one liter. I fed it, and work with it.
I was gradually discovering that I was quite like Moo-Dan. I wore in a firmly uniform, just like it was covered with scarlet scales. I was locked in a glass-parted office, just like it was trapped in that glass jar. It’s Kaohsiung city outside my camp, and it’s Kaohsiung harbor outside Moo-Dan’s jar. We were so much alike, we had one step to freedom, but we couldn’t have it.
Few years later, I started to realize that even I discharged from military and stepped into society, it merely meant that I moved from a fish jar into a bigger one. I, and you, we are always trapped Into Invisible walls. Freedom is like air. When you cannot breathe, you start to know its existence. Therefore, when you know freedom, it means you are not free.
Freedom is not illusionary. It’s boundless. Freedom is close to comfort, but it’s not. The movie “Sweet Home Alabama” said “You can’t have roots and wings”. It’s pretty close to the definition I gave to freedom. Painting is contradictory. I prefer not to define my painting, however I discuss the definition of me by painting. Therefore, I trace back into my life experience for my roots. “Moo-Dan (Peony)” is to think about the relationship between me and freedom by recalling my fighting fish I fed in the military. “April Rain” is a musical play written by the life of Taiwanese composer Deng Yu-Shian. It shows how delicate and eclectic Taiwan people are. “Slow, Slow” and “Serenity” describes my days in Yang MIng Shan (Mt. Yang MIng) during late 2014. I zigzagged in the roads of the lush mountains, and watched the neon of Taipei city reflecting the starry sky. “Before the Dawn, and after the Dusk” is recalling the time from 2010 to 2013. I was painting in an old apartment in Kaohsiung, and teaching in a primary school standing in the field outside of Tainan city. The days are mediocre and vain especially I was busy coming and going from the flourish Taipei city. “On the Lee Sui Street” and “Free Garden” are two works created after I moved to Lee Sui Street. The former one is composed by Lee Sui, which means clear water. There is an amazing imagination floating on that clear water. The other one is compared Taipei as a Xanadu, which is like an island or a garden. These two works are simulating a Utopia outside of reality. And the “Sci-Fi from a Remote Planet” even pushes this imaginative simulation to the universe. I always think, there is somewhere full of amazing adventures and abundant scenes.
Moreover, I want to continue the idea of “The Forest of Babel” which is my previous series of work. Due to the collapse of Babel Tower, the messed language system makes this world abundant. I want to keep discussing this. The work “Forms of Flowers” considers the world “Flower” in mandarin. It talks about three syntactical functions of Chinese flower: a noun refers to a flower, a verb refers to cost or spend, and an adjective refers to splendid and colorful. I want to present the funny relationships between the syntactical functions, words, and pictures. “If the Images Could Narrate, We Would Need No Language” directly points out the expending meanings of images and words. In some level, this works represents the diversity and multiplicity of cultures. For the theme of this exhibition, freedom, it’s like an interlude. However, it also represents another meaning of freedom – the diversity and unpredictability.
“The Purpose of Freedom” and “The Freedom of Purpose” is talking about the infinite freedom I have in my painting world. Therefore I paint to discuss what the freedom looks like. In short, the purpose of painting is for freedom. I once said “Life is a game to exchange stories” in 2014. In the procedure of exchanging stories, I read further visions. My thoughts move and expend in those visions. The 2015 solo exhibition in Gai Art Gallery, I use the story of Moo-Dan, the fighting fish as the prologue to pursue the freedom. I would keep painting, like a fish diving and swimming under the tranquil water, and would search for the light of freedom, and then “Finally Told with a Story”