View–Point: A Retrospective Exhibition of Li Yuan-chia

The artist Li Yuan-chia (1929-1994) was one of Taiwan’s earliest pioneers of abstract art and conceptual art. He emigrated from Guangxi to Taiwan along with the Chinese Nationalist government following World War II, settling in Taipei and receiving an art education at Taiwan Provincial Normal School. While studying under Li Chun-shan, an early innovator of Taiwanese modern art, he attained a breakthrough in his understanding of the creation and essential nature of art. Actively shedding the constraints of tradition, he explored innovative art forms. In the late 1950s he adopted a completely new posture, writing a new chapter in Taiwanese modern art along with the other members of the Ton Fan Art Group. He enjoyed a flourishing career in continental Europe, but could not extend his renown to Taiwan, which was closed off from outside information under martial law. His creative scope encompassed ink painting, oil, monochromatic painting, and even conceptual art, photography and mixed media. Through a range of activities he broadened the definition of art. He was one of only a few Taiwanese artists to gain acclaim in the international art world, yet remained unfamiliar to most Taiwanese.

According to his own recollection, Li Yuan-chia adopted points as the subject matter of his paintings in 1959. This exhibition begins with his early works, and explores the artist’s life experiences and constant creative breakthroughs in four different locales – Taipei, Bologna, London and Cumberia – revealing the artistic perspectives and philosophical ideas running through his work. It brings to light how Li Yuan-chia transformed the point into a symbolic image of the cosmos, full of meditative import, and how he integrated Eastern thought with Western materials, expressing profound philosophical thought through abstract art.

  • Li Yuan-chia

    Abstract art pioneer and early proponent of conceptualism in Taiwan, Li Yuan-chia was born in 1929 in Guangxi Province, China, and was raised in an orphanage in Guilin City and then a school in Nanjing. Following the end of the Chinese Civil War, Li removed to Taiwan with the Nationalist Government,...