Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts

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Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts
A hue to spell - Su Yu-Xin
2019-07-12 ~ 2019-09-22

Su Yu-Xin’s art is about how painting comes to be. For her, viewing a painting is a creative act, a reversal of its making: “Only through this process is it truly possible to experience a painting. At that moment, close reading becomes production.”

The exhibition A Hue to Spell that you see before you can be understood as a bildungsroman, for painting growing into a state of self-awareness. As the audience views the works, traces from the painting process move from background to foreground. The moment you look at a piece, you can picture it at the time of painting, its form emerging step by step. Here, looking is exploring, like reading a written line of pictographic characters: you can tell the order the strokes were drawn, and you are capable of painting another pictograph with the same strokes. Time is folded into the spelling of each word, and here in Su’s practice, her works seem to stress that time is folded into the various materials utilized in such a spell.

The consciousness of painting is perhaps encapsulated in these things with the potential to make the audience aware of these traces: the materiality of color pigments, the shape and fast movements of brushstrokes. Then there is the hinterland where the pigments live--the canvas, plaster, and wooden board. Time has a magical quality here--it lets the pigment harden from a wet oil to mineral and crystal knots on the latitude and longitude of the canvas. And there is another magic to time: the nonchalant élan of brushstrokes, the unknowable moments, and the artist rewriting and repainting, recovering time on the metaphorical papyrus scroll.


23.5° North: subtropical, sunlight shines on the earth at an extreme angle, the lavish use of saturated color is a gift from such an angle, where there are no shades of shadow; 51.5° North, the temperature zone, sunlight always stops just above the horizon, the low angle always entering people’s line of sight, colors are broken apart, and the sky depicted in paintings is like cinder after the Industrial Revolution; 31° North is neither here nor there, a temporary resting place, and this is where Su Yu-Xin lays out her “Parallel Impressionism.”

The booklet in your hands embodies the so-called reciprocity of paintings and writings (shuhua tongyuan) in Su Yu-Xin’s practice. Some are shared by the artist as an onlooker, allowing the booklet to function, at times, as the exhibition’s shadowy twin, a novella, a user's manual, and simulacra of or metaphor for the artist's oeuvre.

- Liu Na’ou