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LIÚ, Yung Jen 劉永仁



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Infinite Crystallization

Liú Yung-jen



Breathing is an in and out exchange, a dialog. The body can breathe and so can the mind. Thoughts and perceptions are the oxygen of the soul. Breathing is a molecular exchange or molecular osmosis, and from the exchange of molecules, energy is obtained. “Breathe” is the verb that was left after I tossed out all of the nouns, and a triangular sheave of rice stalks, which is primary and stable, is the object left after I got rid of all the material in my life. I extracted mass from the triangles such that they float, vacillate, stroll, automatically combine, negotiate, and attract as if in zero gravity. These triangles are in a dialog with the unknowable backgrounds of my paintings. I have realized that they can breathe.


The symbolic in art calls to me. The power of communication is greater than that of representation, and we can recognize the meanings of a symbol. I use painting to express ideas that I find difficult to explain using words. After some analysis, I have come to the conclusion that I am neither able nor willing to express these ideas using language, but must strive to do so here.


Regardless of how language relates ideas, there are always subtleties that are difficult to express. You have to return to the painting because there is something there that language cannot completely express. I also firmly believe that form is more important than description with words, because form is the true energy that initiates language discovered when directly perceiving an artwork.


Powerful form depends on shedding the affectation of adornment, as the power of pure form is greater. I have always gotten rid of what is not need, like exhaling bad air, to find the purest and most important elements and to make more room. This enables the taking of the next breath, which is a spiritual inhalation. Bringing in and casting out are continually repeated. Which is more important? I no longer distinguish between the two.


Breaths going in and out countless times gradually clarifies the shapes that corresponds to the most intimate parts of my soul. I call this process crystallization. Abstraction is the crystallization of form and the concentration of a conceptual system. Crystallization is the spindle around which art revolves and the primeval source of all life. When a crystal dissolves in a vast sea of liquid, we have the impression of the crystal disappearing. But through a process of refinement, it will reappear. The crystallized forms in my paintings resemble lotus seed pods or sheaves of rice stalks. These simple things are images that I will never part with.


How did my primeval crystalline forms appear? There is no logical path that artists can follow to directly find these forms, and I searched for a very long time before mine appeared to me. Scribbling and making countless sketches is one way of discovering crystalline forms. They repeatedly appeared, and I realized that they were perhaps lotus pods and rice stalks from a pond in my hometown. They may be very precious images lodged deep in my memory. It was here that my crystalline forms started their long journey, and using different angles of rotation and perspectives, I created all kinds of color and compositional variations that traverse, confront, or harmonize with one another on monochrome backgrounds punctuated with arcs and straight lines. These variations of crystalline form satisfy me, express my ideas, and also suggest circumstances that have occurred in my life. Crystalline forms freely dissolve into large spaces, and there is contrast between dissolved and undissolved states. Can you imagine how many crystalline forms are dissolved in a monochrome arc?


The creator can either be seen as a celestial body or a crystalline body. He has an inner track for self exploration, on which he travels while continually emitting spiritual energy and the unique visual language of his art. The crystal is a state of owning one's existence, but is also insignificant and solitary. Dissolving creates a compound substance of enormous power. The crystal leads to a state of alienation that can be continuously sustained or occur in stages. Alienation for art is a way of breaking with habitual behavior, and leads to idealism.


This series of paintings are refined extracts of my life, and as such express difficulties or other experiences. They are not intended to serve as decoration, and at the very least, this is my artwork. I am attracted to binary phenomena which might be a reflection of my astrological sign of Gemini. I have asked myself if this is the case but there is no answer, as anyone can puzzle over binary opposition and these questions arise in society, life, and philosophy. Crystallization and dissolution are binary, as are inhaling and exhaling, existence and nothingness, tradition and subversion, positive and negative space, big and small, picture and ground, or the yellow soil and blue sky. How do I combine crystallized images of my life's primordial power with these fluid, philosophical views and present them in art? The transformation between crystal and dissolution is a long process and also the ultimate union of my life with my inquiry. This is the main context of my artwork and the sustained development of infinite variations. 


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