Sun, Sep 28, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Changing times and tastes

By Vico Lee  /  STAFF REPORTER

Prey by Daniel Lee.

PHOTO COURTESY OF HOME GALLERY

Many works in A Journey of Magic and Desire(魔幻慾望之旅), a current group exhibition at Home Gallery (家畫廊), would have been the subject of controversy if they were publicly displayed 15 years ago. Their explicitness and direct references to sexuality would have had galleries thinking twice before showing them.

So, when they came into the possession of art collector Wang Tzi-yung (王賜勇) around that time, they were seldom exposed to the glance of public viewers. Now that sexual explicitness is less of an issue in exhibitions, Wang has decided it's time to do justice to these works with an exhibition.

With desire, particular how male artists view sexual desire toward women, as its theme, A Journey showcases some of these less discussed works, mostly from the early 1990s, by today's established artists.

The Shanghai-born US based graphic artist Walasse Ting (丁雄泉) is best known for his fluorescent colored sensual portraits of women in the company of birds and flowers, which evokes images of spring and the pleasures of life.

A self-taught painter, Ting has also worked in the theater and poetry. All in My Head, a series of lithographs accompanied by his erotic poems from the 1970s, humorously manipulates European erotic photos of the 1930s, in which the men are repainted as animals and insects in a graffiti style.

Juror No. 4 (Fox Spirit) is one of the large-format photoshop images from New York-based Chinese artist Daniel Lee's (李小鏡) 1994 Judgement series. The Chinese belief in reincarnation describes a universe in which 108 creatures, including humans, are to be judged after their death in an underworld court. Among the leopard king, carp spirit and other mythological figures, fox spirit is on the jury.

Lee's photo-realistic "manimals," combinations of human body and animal-like facial features, shock or repel some viewers.

Ho Chun-ming (侯俊明), one of the country's pioneering artists in the 1990s, is best known for his visually sharp graphics using ancient lore to satirize sex and politics in the present age. His Four Seasons, sees nature as the forces of male and female sexuality and is one of the most enjoyable works in the show.

"The works by Ting and Ho and many others on show here were considered highly controversial at the time I acquired them. Now that times have changed, their common denominator is no longer their challenge of the taboo but their being time-proven good works," Wang said.

With 30 years of collecting and now the owner of over 1,000 items, ranging from Chinese ink landscapes to contemporary installations, Wang is an eclectic and intuitive collector. For some works he fell in love with at first sight, he would sell houses to buy them. Home Gallery's future exhibitions may worth be looking forward to. As A Journey shows, there are quite some gems among Wang's collection.

The exhibition will run until Oct. 31. Home Gallery is located at 30-1, Zhongshan N Rd, Sec 3. (中山北路三段30-1)

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