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Formless form: a Study of the status of Contemporary ‘Landscape-like’ Painting in Taiwan

Shih, MJ; (2017) Formless form: a Study of the status of Contemporary ‘Landscape-like’ Painting in Taiwan. Doctoral thesis (PhD), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The thesis is composed of series of paintings, starting from portraits of an island in Taiwan, that represent a search for the relationship between site and Shan-Shui, between resemblance and the abstract. These paintings depict everyday scenes that combine events, viewpoints and memories. Other series set in London look at ‘alternative nature’ and ‘staged authenticity’, in which people are seen as insiders or outsiders. This accompanying report is divided into four sections, weaving together three methodologies—theoretical, historical, and practical—to study the aesthetics of contemporary ‘landscape-like’ painting in Taiwan, in particular the concepts of the sublime and Shan-Shui. This practice-led research uses my own painting to address these issues and to question my position within the Taiwanese art world. First, I outline key points in the history of Taiwanese painting starting from the period of Japanese rule. Through specific examples I aim to clarify how identity and cultural transformation in Taiwan has taken place through the influences of Modernism and Shan-Shui. I also look at the differences and overlaps between the concepts of ‘the painterly sublime’ and ‘Qi-Yun Sheng-Dong’, raising questions about the political implications. Secondly, I look at artists from Asia and the West with particular attention to the physical material qualities of painting and elaborate on the aesthetic notion of Bi-Mo (which relates to brush marks) and how this relates to my concept ‘landscape-like’. In the third part I discuss my own paintings, referring to the sublime, Shan-Shui and the concept of ‘landscape-like’. The fourth section is based on my response to the current political condition of Taiwanese Art and focuses on a project that culminated in the London Start Art Fair entitled Future Island, 2016. In conclusion, I suggest that the contemporary appearance of Shan-Shui and the sublime as crucial to ‘landscape-like painting’ in Taiwan as a political form.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: PhD
Title: Formless form: a Study of the status of Contemporary ‘Landscape-like’ Painting in Taiwan
Event: UCL Slade School of Fine Art
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Third party copyright material has been removed from ethesis.
Keywords: Fine Art, Taiwanese, Shan Shui, landscape-like
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > The Slade School of Fine Art
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1560543
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