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“Looking Back on History: Yim Mau-Kun at 80”: A Retrospect of Life through Art

National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall of Ministry of Culture held “Looking Back on History: Yim Mau-Kun at 80” at Bo-ai Gallery and Culture Corridors 1F. The exhibition will last until February 6. Yim Mau-kun’s works of various categories in the different periods from 1963 are selected in the hope of sharing the art heritage with those who love painting.

     Yim Mau-kun is a contemporary realistic artist and educator in Taiwan. Born in Changde, Hunan, in 1942, he graduated from Department of Stage Arts of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 1965. He moved to Hong Kong in 1980 and then settled in Taipei after he received an enthusiastic response to his art exhibition in 1988. Over the years, he has been invited to give lectures at the fine arts colleges and art education institutions in the United States, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. He often received the first prizes at the domestic and international painting competitions. Influenced and inspired by the Renaissance artists as well as the Russian and European Realists in the 19th and 20th centuries, his painting integrates the beauty of Eastern and Western art. With the profound cultural heritage, each painting is of unique style.

    In Taiwan, the creative painting of realistic figures has always been the field few people explore; however, Yim Mau-kun’s achievements in this field are well-known at home and abroad. The 74 works of this exhibition are of great significance. Through the huge creative paintings that took years, “Taiwan’s Forefathers,” “Nuwa Mending the Sky,” “Sunset in the West,” and “Emperor Guangxu and Consort Zhen,” he pays tribute to and commemorates the ancient sages and forefathers. Yim believes that “painting is a painter’s way of existence, and the works are his extension of life.” When Yim Mau-kun paints persons, he not only paints persons. When he paints scenery, he not only paints scenery. Instead, he carefully depicts the persons’ images and mental states and smartly manages the story settings of the times with profundity and dramatic tension that shake people’s hearts. Besides the historical and religious creative paintings, like an eloquent “storyteller,” he also creates many genre paintings close to current life. The contents intricately and intriguingly arranged shorten the distance with the viewers.

    Traveling around the world with a heavy easel on his back and enjoying meeting people and feeling the local culture and custom, Yim said, “Every outdoor painting is a new exploration and understanding of life and art.” Besides the precise depiction of the subjects, the strokes full of changes, and the rich layers of light, shadow, and colors, his brushes always trigger the “multiple senses” of the viewers. The use of bright and dark colors is like a rhythmic movement with endless aftertaste. The overall atmosphere and picture arrangement is like a beautiful dance. It seems that we can feel the waves of sea wind on the skin, smell the quiet and solemn air, and immerse ourselves in the dialogue where people focus on something. It is not only a “visual feast” but also a splendid “time travel.”

    “Looking Back on History: Yim Mau-Kun at 80” is a retrospect of life through art. The artist not only looks in retrospect at historical figures with paintings but also at his own life. Yim has dedicated his life to pursuing realistic painting. Years of self-improvement and training have never stopped. He keeps experimenting on the new techniques to express realistic art and spares no effort to educate students, infusing the different atmosphere to the painting circle of Taiwan.