Critically acclaimed woodcut printmaker and oil painter Lin Chih-hsin (林智信) held a presentation yesterday for his new book, titled The Memoir of Lin Chih-hsin (雋藝風華－藝術拓荒者林智信回憶錄).
Lin — best known for his two record-breaking masterpieces Celebrating Matsu and Formosa the Beautiful, the world’s longest woodcut print and oil painting respectively — talked about his philosophy of art and his life experiences at the presentation.
Born in Tainan in 1936, the artist often got his inspiration from everyday sights of Taiwan’s local culture.
With abundant cultural references, many of his creations have been presented at international exhibitions, including A Country Boy (1972) in the UK’s Third International Print Biennale, and Raising Ducks (1974), featured in the UK’s Fourth International Print Biennale and Norway’s Second International Print Biennale. He has exhibited other works in the former West Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the US, South Korea, Japan and the Netherlands.
Lin has devoted himself to large printings since the completion of the nearly 10m-long Wedding Portrayal (1982), which captures scenes of a traditional Taiwan marriage, including the wedding customs, costumes and parade. The print is not only of high artistic value, but also includes useful information about the history and culture of early Taiwan.
Lin’s printmaking career culminated in his 124m-long Celebrating Matsu (1995). After 20 years of documenting folk practices in villages and towns, Lin carved out the vigor of common folk by depicting different formations performed at the Matsu Festival — a cultural feast in which people parade a Matsu (the goddess of sea) statue.
In 2014, then 80 years old, Lin completed the 248m Formosa the Beautiful oil painting that illustrates scenes in Taiwan from the 1950s.
The new memoir — which includes thoughts Lin has jotted down over the past decade — tells the stories of his troubled childhood, melancholic adolescence and hardworking middle age, and documents how he learned his craft.
Guests who delivered congratulatory remarks at the launch included former Chimei Museum consultant Pan Yuan-shih (潘元石), former Tainan Cultural Affairs Bureau Director-General Yeh Chia-hsiung (葉嘉雄), acting Director-General Yeh Tse-shan (葉澤山), Tainan Fine Arts Association Chairman Chen Chi-tsun, Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲) and Tainan Art Museum Director Huang Kuang-nan (黃光男).
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