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Confronting Colonial Modernity: The development of Taiwanese Ink Painting under Japanese Rule
Taiwanese ink painting under Japanese rule,painting and calligraphy organization,Whole Island Painting and Calligraphy Exhibition,Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition,Oriental-style painting,colonial modernity,
|Publication Year :||2012|
In year of 1895, Taiwan was forced turning into Japan ’s colony from once a frontier province of the Qing dynasty. Under the Colonial rulers’ leadership gearing towards the process of Taiwanese modernization, the new trend of modern Japanese art also follows. Taiwanese painting and calligraphy which inheriting Qing dynasty’s tradition all made modernization changes in terms of painter’s creative space, art style and exhibit space, etc. This dissertation mainly focuses on Taiwanese ink painting as research subject and studies how Taiwanese ink painters respond to the impact of the trend of the modern art and what was the results and its significance. This dissertation hopes to bring in a wide spectrum of understanding in the development of traditional Taiwanese ink painting during Japan colonial period, and further makes up the insufficiency and lack of research in Taiwan modern art history.
First, I will discuss the trend of modern art that impacted the Taiwanese ink painting. The Japanese painters that came here in early period had imported new and old Japanese paintings (nihonga) through the mechanism of groups and exhibits; and in later period the Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition (Taiten) which was formed by the government officials were mainly to lead the trend of Oriental-style painting (toyoga) into realism in Taiwan objects. In another word, recent modern art trend includes: the development from painting and calligraphy organization to painting groups, from exposition’s ink painting exhibit to Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition, from Japanese-style painting to Oriental-style painting.
Second, I will discuss how Taiwan ink painters respond and surge during the fast-paced changes and transition in modern art trend. I will mainly discuss the ink painters’ groups in Hsinchu, Tainan, Chiayi from 1920 to 1930 and analyze the organization founding purpose, activity and significance of the groups, as well as the members’ participation in Taiten and Whole Island Calligraphy and Painting Exhibition. Then I will discuss three civilian groups that held separate and various Whole Island Painting and Calligraphy Exhibition from 1928 to 1932 and then compare them with Taiten by analyzing their purpose of holding exhibition, exhibition’s regulations and contents, painting style and meanings. After the discussion of groups and exhibitions, this dissertation will conduct case study and study how traditional painters respond to modern art trend in their artworks.
First, I will discuss Taiwan ink painters that were active in early stage of Japan colonial period, Lu Pi-song (1870-1931), Wang Kuang-tai (1892-1918), Fan Yao-keng (1877-1950), Lee Hsueh-chiao (during or after 1893-1951), Tsai Hsueh-shi (during or after 1884-1964), Tsai Jiu-wu (1887-1958) and how they made their choices and performed between Chinese painting and Japanese painting, between traditional and modern art style. Second, I will discuss young generation that had the traditional ink painting background, Lu Tieh-chou (1899-1942), Kuo Hsueh-hu (1908-2012) and Lin Yu-shan(1907-2004), and how they transformed themselves into Oriental-style painters through Taiten’s participation and creation and became leaders in art world with their individual painting style.
From the research of this dissertation, we are able to witness how Taiwan calligraphers and painters use the mechanism of modern art groups, exhibitions and media to maintain the tradition of painting and calligraphy and spread it to the masses. During the early stage of colonial period, Taiwan ink painters still had freedom to develop. In 1927, the Taiten only established Oriental-style paintings and Western painting and exclude the ink paintings; and that traditional ink painters were secondary in art world. Taiwan ink painters and their supporters to avoid being marginized started to aggressively forming painting and calligraphy groups and imitated Taiten by holding Whole Island Painting and Calligraphy Exhibitions in order to gain more of their performance space. However, such Whole Island Painting and Calligraphy Exhibitions sponsored by the civilian groups were not held continuously and their impact and effects were not as significant as the annual Taiten.
Nonetheless, Taiwanese ink painters aggressively adapted and made changes to the new trend of modern art. In terms of artwork performance, traditional ink painters coped and responded differently based upon their own respective generations. As to the old generation painters, some still continued to create Chinese paintings, some absorbed Japanese paintings, and some would learn Oriental-style paintings, and thus these old generation painters had been swinging between old and new cultures in their art creation. New generation painters on the other hand were more able to be quit of their traditional baggage and to embrace new age paintings and were more freely merged into the characteristics combining both the tradition and modern cultures. Through this research, we are able to understand that both the so called traditional painting and calligraphy and Oriental-style painting were all part of the Taiwan modern art history development. We thus need to present the history in its original form and afford these traditional ink painters art history status they deserved and need to understand their modernization process in colonial period, the frustration they endured and their efforts and performance during the transition process between the new and old cultures.
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