Liu Sheng-jung (1928-1985) was born in Liuying, Tainan County. His immigrated with his family to Tokyo when he was nine years old, where he took up the violin. Liu’s uncle was the famed Taiwanese artist Liu Chi-hsiang, and he often played in his uncle’s art studio and watched his uncle at work. In 1937, Liu Chi-hsiang returned to Japan after completing further studies in France, and Liu was intrigued by his uncle’s colorful classical works. Liu began learning to paint from his uncle in 1943, and returned to Taiwan after the Second World War to study at the First Middle School of Tainan. He left for Japan in 1961. Though Liu was never received a formal art school education, his unique artistic style had long been affirmed by the art world. In 1961, he was invited by the Nitta and Takegawa Galleries in Japan to hold exhibitions, and when he returned to Taiwan in 1963, his work was selected to the 7th Annual Sao Paolo Biennial in Brazil. In 1968, Liu immigrated back to Japan to focus on his artistic endeavors, and returned to Taiwan for a solo exhibition in 1983.
When Liu returned to Taiwan from Japan in the 1960s, he actively promoted abstract art with a group of like-minded friends in the art world. In 1965, Liu discovered gold-foil ghost money as an artistic medium, and used it in his mixed media work with outstanding results. He was partial to the print designs on the gold-foil ghost money, and applied these folk symbols to his work: the character "福” represents the joy of progeny; the character “祿” for abundance of wealth; and “壽” representing longevity. These expressed Liu’s deep-rooted traditional philosophy. In this work, large blocks of vermillion and black have been painted on the canvas, with an application of gold foil. The minimalist design and the strong saturated colors used in parallel, create an unmatched visual tension.
Though Liu Sheng-jung did not receive institutional training, he achieved a remarkable and unique style under the guidance of Liu Chi-hsiang. This was most evident when he returned to Taiwan in 1961 and began promoting abstract art with a group of artist friends that included Tseng Pei-yao, Chuang Shih-he, Huang Chao-hu, Ko Si-chi. His participation in the “Liberty Exhibition” in 1964 further cemented his artistic style. In 1965, Liu made his mark in mixed media with his use of traditional gold-foiled ghost money in his work. Liu, who naturalized as a Japanese citizen in 1967, devoted himself to the exploration of Eastern philosophies and folk cultures throughout the 1970s. His use of the three symbols on the gold foiled “ghost money” used in Taiwanese folk rituals are a contemplation of the meaning of symbols and folk traditions that come from a place of curiosity and gratitude for the land, and extend the reach of Eastern epistemology and visual lexicon.
|Medium / Classification：||Oil paints and Acrylic colors|
|Life-span：||1928 - 1985|
|Collection Unit：||National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts|
|Contact method for authorization：||
Guide to the Use of Image Files and Data from the Online Collection Database
|Related Exhibition：||Unique Vision：Highlights from the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts Collection|