LU Hsien-Ming was born in Taipei in 1959, received the Lion Young Artists Contest Award in 1981 and graduated from the Fine Arts Department of Chinese Culture University in 1982. In 1992, he won the first prize of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum’s New Prospects for Modern Art Award. In 2002, he won the LIAO Chi-Chun Oil Painting Award. The content of his work form the 1980’s tended toward themes about the society, but in the 90’s he started to develop a series of work based on the city. Before 1995, his depictions of scenery in the greater Taipei area were mostly taken from the indicator of metropolitan modernization, such as highways and the MRT which act as large scale viaducts of the city’s transportation facilities, cement trucks used at construction sites and various engineering vehicles. These utilized melancholy tones and exaggerated angles, proportion and perspectives to illustrate the power and scale of new metropolitan construction, and further reflecting the alienation and oppression of people caused by the destruction and compression of human living space. After 1995, he started to insert figures from the fringes of metropolitan society into his paintings, such as unknown construction workers, laborers, old men and women, street peddlers, scavengers and latchkey children, all of them silent and solitary in the cold man-made city. After 1998, he started arranging these figures attached by electronic captions, which magnify their individual circumstances along with collective social consciousness, and exposed the fact that these insignificant people have no alternative but to silently endure and adapt under fast paced social changes.
The progress of a flourishing city is often built on the small worries of ordinary people. This artwork takes the construction and modernization of a metropolis as its subject, and directly delves into human conditions of Taiwan’s high level modernization to show the conditions of minority groups after this boom. The overwhelming posture of the enormous viaduct in the painting and the powerful, cold white light reflected down from the horizon impart a feeling of oppression. Compared with the hunchbacked figure on the left who walks along with a stick, the lonely figure even has a stronger sense of heaviness and emptiness, silently expressing the confusion of “not-knowing-what-to-do” shared by the general public who are overwhelmed by the rapid transition in a post-industrial city.
In the 1970s, Taiwan experienced the transition toward industrialization and urbanization. In the 1980s, rural villages were abandoned, the family structure changed, and the young generation moved to cities together who later became an ordinary but yet necessary group to contribute to the social development. In spite of such an irreversible trend, the marginalized and the oppressed buried under the current of the economic miracle eventually penetrated the press ban during the Martial Law period. When the press ban was lifted in the 1980s, the “reality” was thus revealed through reportage photography, literature, or art. Among other artists during this period, LU Hsien-Ming is the one who deeply explores the subject with powerful expression from a humanist perspective.
LU witnessed the rapid development and the dramatic landscape changes of Taipei as he was growing up, and so suffered the adjustment problems of a resident adapting to new things and a new environment. His work principally interprets metropolitan experience and memory with a focus on people, and uses this to examine contemporary living environments and the structure of human affairs. His imagery is always permeated with a strong sense of loneliness belonging to someone who does not have a home and cannot find a home. No matter it is his early works’ alienation scenes which feature urban transport infrastructure, or the paintings after 1995 which feature ordinary citizens as well as the oppressed group, these daily scenes and familiar figures all show a sense of emptiness and hopelessness as if they did not know where to go. Sometimes an overwhelming sense of ruin can also be noticed. Through his works, LU Hsien-Ming invites viewers into the collective experiences of contemporary urban life to reexamine how civilization has changed human’s life.
|Medium / Classification：||Mixed Media|
|Collection Unit：||Private collection|
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|Related Exhibition：||"The Pioneers" of Taiwanese Artists, 1951-1960|
|Related Work：||Adoration for Her|