The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) escape from China in 1949 following the civil war and its subsequent defense alliance with the US had the unintended benefit of introducing Taiwanese artists to the theories and practices of emerging American and European art. Like many young artists of his generation, Lee Hsi-chi (李錫奇) eagerly absorbed these new styles, creating abstract expressionist paintings using lacquer. Yet as his use of materials suggests, Lee didn’t surrender to Western art forms. Rather he combined them with Eastern aesthetics — a fusion that is apparent in Oriental: The Elegance of Han Dynasty (漢采本位), a retrospective exhibition currently on view at MOT/Arts. The title stems from Lee’s close study of Han Dynasty architecture, particularly its forms, symbols and materials. In these paintings, Lee carefully manipulates lines and spatial planes to create depth and distance. The exhibition not only illustrates the maturity of an important Taiwanese artist, but also gives the viewer a sense of the development of modern painting in Taiwan.
■ MOT/Arts, 3F, 22, Fuxing S Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市復興南路一段22號3樓), tel: (02) 2751-8088. Open daily from 11:30am to 8pm
■ Until March 3