Jian, Yi-Hong
Let us not be sad anymore

The latest solo exhibition of new generation Taiwanese artist Jian, Yi-Hong, Let Us Not Be Sad Anymore, opens at Michael Ku Gallery on the 25th of September. In 2014, Jian received an Honorable Mention in the Taipei Arts Awards. The artist’s unique contemporary ink and wash painting style gained wide interest at Jian’s impressive debut.

Jian is studying for his master’s degree at the Department of Painting and Calligraphy Arts at the Taipei National University of the Arts. His ink and brush painting is impregnated with profound traditions that flow into a modern spirit, representing a unique literati quality that is saturated with the artist’s own characteristics. This artist’s contemporary ink and wash painting is not an ornamental emulation of the ancient arts, but a natural assimilation of the literati qualities into modern life and thinking. Jian’s art is flavored with ancient traditions but made even more vital by its modernity.

This solo exhibition focuses on the sense of loss humans feel after interacting with others, or a state of mind that is shaped by chaotic personal emotions, life, and pressure. The artist has had to acutely experience disappointment in himself and the powerless feeling of not being able to fulfill a desire. In his paintings, these negative sentiments are transformed into depictions of mental patients in straight jackets and burial mounds; otherwise, the artist deals with or changes them by other means or exercises.  

The bulk of his work describes a variety of sensitive emotions and desires that are woven together, such as a sense of loss, disappointment, conflict, ennui after hysteria, apathy, and the unsatisfactory feeling that comes from catching a glimpse of something that cannot be had (these negative emotions originate from unfulfilled desires).

Eventually, humans feel most alive when dealing with sensitive emotions. Yet these emotional patterns that everyone fears and tries to escape are what everyone must face in life; these emotions will become a truly propelling force.

His work Arena illustrates the compromises and sense of loss between emotional conflicts. Lotus Pond at Summer Dawn illustrates the predicament of being able to see but not possess something. Psychosis and Sadist is an observation of a mentally abusive and draining relationship between two people.

What is charming about Jian’s work is the tranquility of his ink, the grace of his brush, and the truth and profundity of his stories. This is Jian’s story but it is also a story shared by you and me in this era.