Q1: Can you briefly explain the history and features of Ehagaki? Why did you choose it as your main concept?
In Japanese, a postcard is called Hagaki, and Ehagaki means a photo or picture postcard. In 1905, just after Japan had won the Russo-Japanese War, the Japanese government officially published the first batch of Ehagaki, named "10th Anniversary of Governance Ehagaki." Later, with the trend of stamp collecting, some private companies also started to publish their own Ehagaki collections. In this project I mainly choose Ehagaki sold by the public sector, with pictures of well-known attractions of Taiwan, even those of now disappeared scenic areas.
Pictures of well-known sites like Shintakayama (now known as Yushan) and New Park (now known as 228 Peace Memorial Park) and now disappeared places like Takasago Park are included in this project, for example.
What Ehagaki attracts me the most is that it is a blend of photography and painting, while being a carrier of memorial, important and emotional traveling experiences. At that time, photographs were black and white, and colorful Ehagaki were hand-colored or printed by people. Except of those handmade postcards, some Ehagaki pictures were "designed" by artists, using their already finished artworks.
The concept of such memories of journey is the reason why I have selected the theme of scenic areas and attractions. Some pictures show iconic tourist sites that we all have been to, or are familiar with today, while some are not existing anymore. In this process, we can re-discover the historical context and meanings of every scene. Today, many tourist sites and recreation areas feel overly artificial and pretended; meanings and the history of scenic areas were intentionally changed and erased into broken pieces due to previous ideological reasons. Via this experience of mutual gazing, I can find my identifies and recognition pathways of those places. Therefore, watching Ehagaki is like opening a window.
Q2: In this project, "remaking" and "resampling" play important roles. Can you share with us the processes of said techniques, and the message behind re-presenting such already made images in your works?
Many paintings are topped with sentimental narrations or stories after the images are made. But I try to find a new way instead of that overly used path.
Every artist making paintings must have encountered self-problems of what/how to draw, and is the concept or style used by someone else or even some masters. In current world of contemporary arts, paintings are in an embarrassing position: people say the art of painting has died and has no new thing to be shown. To extend its life, paintings have to constantly transform themselves by absorbing nutrients from other fields. It is true that the form of paintings has its limit, and it does needs improvements to compete with ideas or forms of other contemporary arts. Yet, when directly facing the nature of paintings, you can find many aspects that are worth more depth studies.
The message of painting here is an opener of pathways of observations. In concepts of my previous works, I have discussed and responded to the relationship between images and paintings. In this stage, I start to directly identify the status-quo of paintings in the development of Taiwanese arts, and meanings of images used in landscape paintings. It is a process of observing and selecting image files. In this era of image overload, making a new painting is making a new image, and then the image also enters the history of image files. What I am doing is collecting, connecting and interpreting these elements.
This process of making, observing, putting aside, removing and vaguely glimpsing seems to be like one of my thoughts of Taiwan: a process of resetting itself, and it is exhausting and has many problems to be solved.
Q3: How will you consider your future works after this year's Taipei Arts Awards? Will you continue your discussion of re-presenting images?
This series is a conceptual sequel to my solo exhibition at Nanhai Gallery in 2013 and a part of my another solo exhibition several months ago. I will try to find and explore more, but I am not very sure about how to represent them in the future. Actually, I have finished quite a few of them, and it is the time for me to carefully think how to further improve the overall quality of the collection instead of blindly finding and drawing new pictures.
1945 was an influential year to the world, and that was especially true for Taiwan. All documents I have collected are from the time before it, and I plan to collect and analyze more. For my next step, I expect myself to develop my own observations and self-identities by using materials from more areas as reference.
Q1. 能否簡單跟觀眾介紹繪葉書的歷史背景與特色？ 而您選擇繪葉書的原因是什麼？
Q3. 您怎麼看自己在今年臺北獎之後的創作？ 是否會繼續討論關於圖像再現的議題呢？