Lee Jing-sheng’s Ulysses Journey & Les Fleurs du mal
Chen Hong Yi /Assistant Professor of Graduate Institute of Plastic Arts
Lee Jing-sheng’s Ulysses Journey
Taiwan Plan” by Jiunshyan Lee.
Ancient valuable, modern despicable; seeking for vanity instead of reality
Both the writer Joyce and the animator Hayao Miyazaki ever applied Ulysses’s story prototype creation story. However, among their creations, Nausica played a key role. And in Jiunshyan Lee’s epic, New York was his Nausica. Jiunshyan Lee once said, “New York is so important to me.
If we think the image between an artist, Jiunshyan Lee, who studied in New York and the same person who chews Bing Lang (Taiwanese chewing gum) is incompatible, that is because our own inner default position from feudal and post-colonial thought. That chewing Bing Lang is considered indecent or disgusting is rather Bing Lang becoming an object with material relations than an inner inferiority and a nightmare after being colonized long time ago. Although Jiunshyan Lee always expressed such concept of the land and cultural identity in his works, few local viewers or readers can own the same courage of non-conformist as he. Meanwhile the fact that is needed for now is an escape from one’s own self-contemplation of conduct. Jiunshyan Lee’s “Tai style” is not shallowly grandstanding. Just as he himself once said, “My Tai style now is natural and conscious,” is a position and selection after “reconfirmation” and also a “cultural situation that reflects the open society upon reality in the environment and the positive thinking in historical reality.”In his narration, open mind has become a key point that he has emphasized.
Craft and Style
Among Jiunshyan Lee’s paintings, there is one that is not a painting-like drawing but a brush stroke a little bit like calligraphy. He has applied brush stroke in violent splashing and violent cracking ways to form another strong personal feature. In order to elaborate such feature to some extreme extent, the artist has even added literal image, with some concentrated violent vent-type words. Among them, he also used local curse words to make the screen vivid and condensate in theatric tension. If we do not use style to describe what the artist has done, that is because style is an art history without names. (Wolfflin) Style shall form certain heterogeneity in it, but he will erase the track of his personal physical sense. What Jiunshyan Lee did is exactly called “craft” often said in southern Taiwan. Either a chef’s cooking or great wooden sculpture in temples, furniture or other small wooden craft, we often like to talk about his “craft” instead of “style.” Craft is considered as a personal identified code. It has the characteristics of a collective unconscious project, but will not self-eliminate in style interpretations. Craft can be explained (performed) of the body sense which cannot be created, especially Jiunshyan Lee’s personal splashing way of brush stroke and the sense of speed impact in perspective depth sense of the picture composition.
In the artist’s narration, when talking about the background how such craft was developed, he said, ”In my youth, the depth image of field in Kaohsiung shown by bikes and western music was a bitter mood called “rugged” and “jagged.” In the beginning 80’s, his career image when taking his first job at Caoya in Kaohsiung was deeply imprinted in his life understanding and he was sure that was Kaohsiung’s real city rooted culture and where Kaohsiung’s core quality was: sticky heat (enthusiastic), wild, heavy, strong and local. Among these crafts, we can even find the particular “craft” from the conversation of those “Dago” dark hands, a kind of essential character without an elegant appearance.
If a word can make a poem!