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Intuition‧Memory‧Primitive Energy: A-Sun Wu Retrospective
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Intuition‧Memory‧Primitive Energy: A-Sun Wu Retrospective (Review) Appreciation
Exhibition Banner - Intuition‧Memory‧Primitive Energy: A-Sun Wu Retrospective
Exhibition Dates: 2018/03/17 ~ 2018/05/27
Place: 103, 104, 105, 106, 107 Gallery, Museum Square, Lobby, Gallery Street
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 Date: March 17 ~ May 27, 2018

Venue: Museum Square, Museum Lobby, Gallery Street, Gallery 103-107

Curator: Chao-yi Tsai


By virtue of his creations brimming with primitive energy, world-wide field surveys into indigenous tribes, and art exhibitions across continents, A-Sun Wu has established a unique presence in Taiwanese art circles. Wu has devoted himself to artistic creation for five decades since his first solo exhibition in 1968. This year, the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts organized a retrospective exhibition on Wu’s oeuvre for the special purpose of celebrating the significant milestone in his career. This exhibition features a total of nearly 300 pieces of work that Wu created over the past half-century, including oil paintings, wood works, ink paintings, drawings, ceramics, modular sculptures, and colossal wooden sculptures. These exhibits not only help the visitors navigate through the creative course that Wu has steered, but also demonstrate how the relational trinity of “intuition/memory/primitive energy” constituted the spiritual armatures and animated momentum for his works.

Born in Yilan County, Taiwan in 1942, A-Sun Wu came of age in the countryside. He used to express his love of nature through adventures in the wilderness and bright sunshine. The soil and sunlight of his hometown, together with his coming of age in the arms of nature, have become Wu’s most cherished childhood memories and the fountainhead nurturing his lifetime commitment to art. His early-stage works took on a salient academic character, whereas the most crucial turning point in his career came in 1979 when he forwent his consummate skills at academic painting and left his calm, orderly life behind, setting out on a one-year journey across African wilderness in search of fresh inspiration. The scorching African sun, the forces of nature as ruthless as pure, and the aboriginal inhabitants’ ceaseless struggle for survival in the harsh environment collectively led him to a new land of spirit, from which the sui generis approach of “painting landscapes on the face” was established and then evolved into his signature style of painting interlaced by light, colors and primitive energy.

Wu’s self-encouragement and motivation for exploring his personal creative style, as well as his ambitious enterprise and adventurous spirit in carving out a successful career, not only manifested themselves in the huge number of works that this prolific artist created over the past half-century, but also evolved into a creative philosophy having distinctive artistic features via the pluralistic forms of his oeuvre, his diversified use of media, as well as his exploration and interpretation of personal style. He is ergo internationally acclaimed as a Taiwanese artist who embodies a perfect fusion of orientalism and cosmopolitanism.

Wu’s inexhaustible creative energy and ability in cross-cultural translation are intimately bound up with his free mind enlightened by his world-wide field surveys that he has undertaken since 1971. In addition to travelling across Europe, North America, Africa, Latin America and Polynesia, he has gone deep into the hinterlands of the Amazon, the Maya Empire, the Inca Empire, the Inuit tribes in the Arctic regions, and the islands of Papua New Guinea. Upholding a passionate personal conviction about “rediscovering the innocent soul of his childhood and the visceral thrills from nature,” the artist tends to derive inspiring stimulation for his creative practice from his personal contact with alien cultures. His different series of work, though vary in style, are equally tension- and emotion-provoking, and meanwhile radiating sheer energy of life from inside out.

On view in the exhibition are Wu’s earlier artworks (1968-1979), paintings of nature and everyday landscapes; and the different series he has created since 1979 inspired by his trips to natural, primitive areas and tribes, including diverse artworks from his “Sunny Period”, “South Pacific Period”, and “Red-Black-White Period”. Also presented in the exhibition are Wu’s ink practice which instinctually incorporates Eastern philosophical concepts of “qi” and “tao” into the paintings, and his rarely publically exhibited montage-style image collages that explore the topic of humanity, which Wu has created since the year 2000. Large-scale sculptures are one of the most noted art subjects by Wu in the past 20 years, and these large artworks of 6-14 meters in height and 4-18 tons in weight are showcased in clusters in different sections out on the museum’s outdoor space. The towering colossal totem poles and primordial structures project an intensely powerful primal energy, with Wu’s grand view on nature, ecology, humanity, and culture unveiled.

Supervisor: Ministry of Culture

Organizer: National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts

Cooperator: Taiwan Fine Arts Foundation

Sponsors: Dura Investments Ray Lu; Shin Kong International Securities Co., Ltd.; Owen International Co., Ltd.; Taiwan Land Development Corporation

Media Partners: National Education Radio, Taiwan Art News

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