“Love Wholeheartedly. Amour” is Jian Yi-Hong’s third solo exhibition. Based in lines, the artist outlines figures of characters with ink wash on paper or thin and tough silk fabric and dyes it, depicting observation of life and all kinds of situations in the world of today. Concern with the external world and internal real emotion which surely involves love and desire are revealed through minute details. Jian Yi-Hong’s ink wash painting system evokes Feng Zikai’s “living”: respecting all beings and respecting all kinds of states in life.
Just like the robotic boy in the film A.I. Artificial Intelligence who, being driven by love, craves for human mother’s love all its life. Such longing for “love” is probably Jian Yi-Hong’s original intention. The artist is infatuated with elder people; some of his works record real situations of interactions while others represent his own fantasy of love. The consistent motifs in his work are boys and middle aged men. Through recurrent appearances of the protagonists, the artist probably experiences again and again or separates from someone, or even seeks new thoughts.
It is the ups and downs of love that inspire the artist: Hot Dance depicts the artist watching lovers dance and the implicit feeling of their separation. Sleepless is watching the other person already asleep in a sleepless night. Leaning on a Table and Forgetting Words and Humid Summer represent tranquil and good times in a stable relation of love. Sudden Rain is about longing for lover’s return. The Office is about a subordinate’s admiration and submission for his/her boss, just like the flows of feelings and power relations. Works in this exhibition are not moralizing; neither do they carry any moral label. Rather, they record, through art making, sometime youthful sensitive feelings that we all have toward ourselves or others.
In terms of painting, Jian Yi-Hong foregrounds relations between lines and characters. Therefore, he always depicts the characters through ways similar to calligraphic writing. Figures with black-lined contour are like sure and powerful calligraphic words; after writing for a long time, the writing act becomes similar to transcribing scripture. Each writing action requires rearranging the drawer of some perceptional memory. Sometimes, the original sincerity implicitly fades after writing for a long time. Yet greater stability of practice is required, which represents another task. Most works in this exhibition are first depicted by the artist on raw paper. The instant when ink on the writing brush blurrily expands on the paper gives the feeling that the uncertainty of the blur makes the characters’ contour particularly touching. The artist then dyes the painted paper into Sized paper, just to put on the slight layer of color gradation. For Jian Yi-Hong in his current development, emotions of the characters themselves in the tableaux remain more important than everything else. According to the artist, in the process of re-painting, he can always paint sincerely and clumsily at the start; after taking on the challenge for more times, the arrangement of the picture perhaps becomes somewhat more delicate, but the part that moved him the most at the start sometimes also gradually fades away. The delicate sense of completion might be what the artist attempts to gradually lessen in his future painting evolution.
The artist adds a calligraphic aspect into the exhibits of this show. Although there are not many calligraphic words, this represents the start of a new essay. Sometimes he thinks about relations between writing and the picture. Omitting a large part of colors and accentuation, the artist tries to add key words or write content related to the painting, as an attempt to exercise relations between texts and the picture. In terms of writing, he refers to predecessor Feng Zikai’s calligraphic method although he certainly has not attained the latter’s skillfulness and refinement.
“Love wholeheartedly. One day I’ll push you out and under the sun!” is a phrase Jian Yi-Hong wrote in a notebook last summer. This exhibition is probably like an extension from an imaginary picture of the sentence.
“For me, Jian Yi-Hong’s characters are so charming! The naked bodies seem to walk out from landscape painting of Sung and Yuan Dynasty. They no longer hide among mountain forests; neither do they confine themselves to pretense through large gowns and sleeves. Totally naive, they play computers with electronic fans by their side, read and write, watch ants and house lizards pass by, or experience extreme physical anxiety-⋯⋯However, they finally come out of some unknown remote place into real life. Crying or laughing, they now have human temperature.
Yi-Hong is true to himself. Even the pursuit of desire is crystal-clear like water. Like Zen meditation anytime and anywhere in life. The meaning extends further beyond; those who understand would naturally see.
With naked flesh, Yi-Hong constructs a contemporary utopian world full of joy and delight.”
—— Chiang Hsun, 2018