Jian Yi-Hong / Chiang Hsun / Wei Jia / Wu Junyong
Secret Garden
4. 29 – 6. 24, 2023

Michael Ku Gallery is delighted to announce the upcoming exhibition “Secret Garden”, featuring the works of four exceptional artists, which will be on display from April 29th. The exhibition will showcase an array of stunning pieces, including Jian Yi-Hong’s scroll painting Miaoyu and his smaller art piece, Outside the Window. Additionally, Wu Junyong’s Love Letter series, Wei Jia’s Monet and Secret Garden, and Chiang Hsun’s masterpiece Myriad Plum Blossoms will also be on display.

This exhibition explores the theme of the “Secret Garden” and how it symbolises the human desire to find solace and serenity amidst the chaos of a bustling world.

Jian Yi-Hong’s remarkable ink and wash scroll painting, Miaoyu, provides a glimpse into the mysterious oriental secret garden. Inspired by the character Miaoyu from Cao Xueqin’s Dream of the Red Chamber, this masterpiece unfolds the story of the nun, who kept her hair as she continued her religious practice, in the Grand View Garden (Daguanyuan). In his work, Jian cleverly intertwines Miaoyu’s obsession for cleanliness and lust, portraying them not as conflicting traits but rather as coexisting elements within one’s personal world. The elegance of plum blossoms, the pursuit of a certain lifestyle, and the impending sexual desire all represent the character’s pursuits within the garden. On the other hand, the smaller-sized art piece, Outside the Window, represents Jian’s private secret garden. The viewer is drawn beyond the blinds into a scene of spring days, while inside the room, only one corner is revealed. Here, leaves fall from a plant, but new sprouts have also emerged, symbolising the cycle of life and the continuous pursuit of growth and renewal.

Wu Junyong’s Love Letter series is a fascinating exploration of the intricate connections between the artist and his muses. As both an artist and a tattooist, Wu draws inspiration from a wide range of subjects – from western mythology to oriental legends, from celestial objects to the peculiarities of everyday people, and from Picasso’s art to agricultural calendars. Everything that captures his attention becomes a part of his artistic vision, with a focus on the flow of colours while embodying an unhidden and intuitive love. Just like his paintings, Wu’s tattoos are infused with the warmth of human bodies, creating a unique bond between the artist and his subject. When a human figure is created for his tattoo art, and the figure’s gaze is fixed on the artist, it becomes a secret garden for Wu.

In 2022, Wei Jia created a series of acrylic pieces on canvas titled Secret Garden, which documents the inner and outer lives of people. The colours he used are highly saturated, and the works are a visual treat for the senses. Lost in Luscious Spring depicts an endless spring scene filled with vibrant colours, where people are enjoying the beauty of the season while looking forward to what is to come. In contrast, Secret Garden appears to be a midsummer scene, with a lush green background that provides a striking contrast to the two protagonists. Although their facial expressions are hard to read, their gestures suggest a sense of invitation and promise, as if they are about to walk hand in hand into the secret garden. Wei’s Monet is a stunning depiction of Giverny Garden under the red setting sun, a scene that Monet himself saw in his later years. The shine of the setting sun is more beautiful than ever before, reflecting one’s inner world. Walking in Giverny Garden is like stepping into Monet’s lifelong painting world, and Wei’s work captures the essence of this magical place.

Chiang Hsun’s artistic journey with Plum Blossoms has evolved over time, progressing from depicting individual branches to a plum tree in a pot, then transitioning to a long scroll painting, and finally culminating in a magnificent large-scale masterpiece. In his work, Myriad Plum Blossoms, Chiang captured the enduring beauty of old plum tree branches that have weathered the test of time, adorned with an abundance of blossoms. The vibrant and dazzling sea of plum flowers resembles a boundless, unfenced plum forest, where blossoms flourish but remain hidden within an unknown realm, accessed only through an uncharted path. Myriad Plum Blossoms breathes with such vitality that it becomes akin to a continuous stream of art, flowing through the annals of history. It also brings us back to the paintings created during the Yuan Dynasty, when individuals sought solace in their own solitary worlds. Chiang’s plum blossoms are abundant in numbers and look clear, transcending mere lifelike representation, as his works evoke the fragrance of cold air and conjure magnificent scenes from his dreams. In the words of Chiang himself, “Magnificence is nothing but a former life’s floral season, etched into your memory.”