Guo Chen-chang was born in Lugang, Changhua County in 1949. He graduated from the Fine Arts Department of Chinese Cultural College in 1973. He used to learn painting with Lee Chun-shan at his private studio for six years from senior high school to college. Between 1976 and 1977, Guo received grants from the Asian Foundation in the United States and carried out a field research on Taiwanese folk art. The experience became an extremely important asset in his creation of art. Nevertheless, Guo’s road to becoming an artist was not smooth at first. He quit the job two times trying to be a full-time artist, but had to resume office life due to financial difficulties. In 1989, the 41-year-old Guo resolutely resigned from a well-paid job and became a full-time artist again. Having had many more experiences by then, his creative energy became limitless. Every one year or two, he released works of high quality and in great volume. The circumstances of life in every class of the society are analyzed, ridiculed and dissembled by Guo. This perfectly re-presents how artists observe and judge contemporary Taiwan.
As a former researcher in Taiwanese folk art and a dedicated worker in the private sector, Guo is particularly interested in the cultural vitality of the lower class and social unrest in Taiwan. In fact, such is the long-time focus in his works. He uses contrasting images and collages to create visual impacts. His paintings are visually penetrating and fulfilling. In God Speed You, the deities are drawn in thick black lines commonly found in Guo’s works, rendering the guardian angels of the Sea Goddess a strong sense of modernity. The juxtaposition of literati and western landscape paintings, angry-looking bearded males and coquettish modern females, and a number of other figures full of symbolic meanings versus heterogeneous elements, forms a chaotic state where time, space, reality and imagination are out of order. It seems that Guo aims to penetrate into the cultural conflicts and human desires in contemporary Taiwan through the deities who “can find disasters taking place within a thousand miles with their eyes, and hear people crying for help from all corners of the world” in Taiwanese folk beliefs.
Guo graduated from college in the early 1970s when series of social events took place, such as Taiwan’s withdrawing from the United Nations, as well as Taiwan’s termination of diplomatic ties with Japan and the United States. Under such circumstances, Taiwanese intellectuals began to reflect on what nationalism means while developing Taiwan-based native consciousness. As the nativist movement rolled with full force and fury, “nativist art movement” was also initiated by Taiwanese artists in the late 1970s. Compared with artists of the same period, Guo has a much more unique interpretation on the concept of “returning to the native culture.” March 1977, Guo published an article entitled “Returning to the Native? –On Reconstructing Nativist Art” in Lion Art Magazine. Acting against his counterparts’ romantic view of a nostalgic Taiwan, he emphasized the impacts resulting from a society being industrialized and urbanized, offering a critical discourse on the more imminent issues. In fact, his concern on the latest social conflicts has been a source of inspiration in his works. In the 1980s, an extremely personal style of his finally came into being. His creative language was pioneering when art in Taiwan proceeded to the realm of social awareness.
|English title：||God Speed You|
|Medium / Classification：||Mixed Media|
|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 Ⅱ：Highlights from the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts Collection|