文 / 吳介祥 ( 文化評論人、國立彰化師範大學美術系副教授 )
Drawing emotions, writing sceneries
by Chieh Hsiang Wu
(Cultural Critic, Associate Professor of Department of Arts in the National Changhua University of Education)
Jen-Kun Yeh is an expert in Eastern Gouache and ink painting. In recent years, his creation transformed from the crossing of spaces to the imaginary of outdoor living. From Modern Surrealism to Literati Surrealism. It is more spacious but also leaves more foreshadowing, as well as providing a smooth passage for the viewers. Jen-Kun Yeh at this stage combined and changed the symbolic painting technique of literatures, painting, and symbols in traditional painting. He paints leisure experiences and daily life with the unique combination of traditional and modern painting.
The modernisation with a sense of literati of the artist is derived from his discovery of ideogram (表意) and representation (表象). Yanyuan Zhang of Tang Dynasty mentioned the theory of “same root of painting and writing” in “Famous Paintings Through History.” He suggested that words are “ideograms,” and paintings are “representations”, both of them should work together. The combination of words and paintings thus became the mainstream of Eastern Art, and it lasted for centuries. With the influence of such aspect, after the prosperity of Literati Painting in Song Dynasty, literati thought that painting itself has the feature of art. On one hand, it emphasises on conveying thoughts through the painting of nature, such as the Zan Ni’s self-praise of his artworks as “painting is a way to write my own ambition,” and “a few random lines, with no requirement to make them look like anything, so that I could entertain myself.” On the other hand, under the theory of no requirement to make them look like anything, painting art has also developed a model of elements, so that the paintings of nature could escape from the reality and convey the meaning behind it. With the techniques of painting and the ambition within the heart, literati painting is not the cause of painting the scenery, it is derived from “classicising” visual elements. Hence, traditional painters became aware of the shifting between painting the scenery and pulling away from reality, however, they might fall into the rigidity. A good artist could achieve pulling themselves away from the reality, and thus there is a difference between “Jiang, artisan” and “Jia, specialist”. Jen-Kun Yeh could shift easily between models and freestyling, present the outdoor life people dream about with the combination of images and near-symbolic objects. With the technique of painting mountains, rocks, trees and woods like specimens, and with the simple composition, it stands out from the daily painting and sketching.
The modernisation led by Western Art divided painting and literature, the passage of “same root of painting and writing” disappeared with the avant-grand and the experiments. Jen-Kun Yeh invited writer Joanne Deng to cooperate with him to reconstruct the relation between painting and literature. Simple composition of scenery, paintings themed with plants, water patterns, and fireworks seem rather peaceful, and beside the artwork, it is accompanied by a narration written by Joanne Deng, thoughts and emotions swinging around. Via the juxtaposition of painting and literature, the artworks of Jen-Kun Yeh and Joanne Deng reborn, with the traits of both peacefulness and activeness, complementing each other, relate to each other, it also creates gaps and blank spaces. Artists created the possibility of connectable and unconnectable between painting and literature, as well as showing the space relation between literati, nature, landscaping, the emotions of literati and Surrealism with humour, mocking people being away from nature.