Jun T. LAI was born in Taipei in 1953. She graduated from the Fine Arts Department of Chinese Culture University in 1974, and then received her master’s degree from Tama Art University in Japan in 1978. During the 1970’s and 80’s her artwork was primarily painting, and in the early period she utilized abstract automatic painting methods to explore her own identity. In 1983 she started to develop the series Being and Transformation, which was based on Minimalism, and used pure primary colors to express her deep introspection into life. Next, she started to explore sculpture and arranged bright primary colors on polystyrene to form three-dimensional geometric sculpture in a minimal style. After this, she replaced the polystyrene with transparent acrylic and conducted explorations with light and shadow, and reality and illusion.
In 1986, her work Neither Going Nor Coming received the Gold Medal at Exhibition of Contemporary Sculpture, R.O.C. The same year she established Taiwan’s first alternative space, SOCA, but after a year, closed it due to financial problems. After this, she organized exchanges and exhibitions with artists in Switzerland, France and other countries. Her work at this point mostly utilized primitive feeling materials such as wood, stone, metal, rebar and cement to express her reflections on humanity. From 1994 to 1999 her artwork was mostly installation based, and utilized elements such as Bodhisattvas, heart chakras, calligraphy and colors to create the series Heart. With this work she carried out self analysis and explored transcendence and redemption. Her later installations in this period such as Heart Aphrodisiac (1998) were filled with feminist social criticism. In 1997 she started to make public art, primarily using rainbow colored acrylic which she sculpted into organic forms to create interplays between light and color.
On a dark abstract plane, heterogeneous sand is added, showing the artist’s exploration of shape, color and material and her shift of focus from two-dimensional painting to three-dimensional installation art. It is from the perspective of installation that she tries to lead her audience to feel the “thickness” of this work and how its spatial structure changes visually as they move around it to appreciate it. To enable her work to directly “talk to” people and to share her ideas with others, she places a particular focus on size. She has not attempted to make a gigantic work, however. She sets a proper distance between art and its audience by making a properly sized work. In this way, the audience shall be able to feel what they see and touch, and their own movement and rhythm, as they interact with the work.
New art forms and concepts were introduced to Taiwan in the 1980s as a number of artists, including Richard LIN (1933-2011), returned to Taiwan after completing their overseas studies. The minimalist artistliked to explore geometric and abstract shapeson finely executed white painted planes. He had a significant influence on younger local artists, not only for his insistence on purity and exactness, but for the fact that he believed artistic media and spiritual expression are keys to an outstanding piece of art. Inspired by Lin, Jun T. LAI began to explore media, color and structure in many ways.
For her sharp sense forcolor, space, form and material, Lai was quickly stood out as a talented young artist in the 1980s. She has since then worked on several motifs, such as how to bring an artwork to its full by responding to the exhibition space, and how to create that organic interaction between art and the audience. She further formed the core ideas of her works in Being and Transformations series initiated in 1983. Such include the free arrangement of color and shape in a three-dimensional space, so that “art form” becomes flexible and not fixed. It is also by manipulating color and shape that this exhibition space may inspire the spectators emotionally and intellectually. As spectators walk around in the exhibition space, they often find their perspectives changed. The participation of the spectators in turn changes the space with the energy they exude. The above variations that constantly take place are not only a way to verify the existence of an artwork. They also allow more interpretations to be given to this particular piece of art. As Lai experiments and explores more different media and looks deeper into human spirituality and people’s feelings for life, the dialogues between space and shape in her works begin to change. She has come up with several different forms and styles throughout her career. But she always cares enough to make art that echoes its environs and reflects the minds of the spectators. Her organic work allows its audience to interact with it and the exhibition space using their senses, especially their eyes.
|English title：||Being and Transformation Black Sand Series: NY84003|
|Medium / Classification：||Mixed Media|
|Artist：||Jun T. LAI|
|Collection Unit：||Courtesy of the artist|
|Contact method for authorization：||
Agent (Lai An-Jhih)
|Related Exhibition：||"The Pioneers" of Taiwanese Artists, 1951-1960|