By Chia Chi Jason WANG
The title of this retrospective, “It's a Beautiful Life”, derives from a 1994 work of the same name in which Ku presents an expansive, aerial perspective of rolling hills and farmlands, in blue and green tones, above which floats an image of a baby boy gazing into the distance. The expansive landscape below seems to form a crib for this chubby newborn, yet his floating pose seems at the same time a kind of metaphor for distance and separation from one's home. If the beauty that the painting exudes is a tribute to the beauty of life itself, it also retains traces of loneliness and homesickness—the feelings and moods that flavor the great majority of works by Fu-sheng Ku.
A kind of trinity, of the nakedness of newborn babies, along with men and women, forms the basic subject of much of Fu-sheng Ku's work, as each of the three portrays some part of his own being. Physical bodies engaged in sports or in excited states are contrasted with bones and skeletons, in juxtapositions of life and death that metaphorically suggest separation and loss. Rounded, ovum-shaped compositions encase images of fetuses within them, while the fetuses contain skeletal shapes that seem to already prefigure death. The baby is a man; the man is a woman; and all are difficult to distinguish, as all seek beauty and all aspire to love. Love, however, is not just spiritual affinity, but is present in the desires of the body too, and both kinds of love, in Ku's paintings, converge as a single entity.
Fu-sheng Ku longed for and sought freedom, and with his painter's brush he depicted the freedom of the body. In young, vigorous bodies he saw images of freedom, and he imagined freedom in the sky and the sea; the freedom of the physical body was projected in images of sporting contests and in the bodies of flying birds and swimming fish. His pursuit of the body's autonomy and physical freedom brought him happiness in the act of painting, through which he gave expression again and again to vivid, lively images. To escape the bonds of the external world, to loosen your belt and throw off your clothes, to return to the naked state, the natural state of creation—these are the images and visual cues that can be found everywhere in Ku's work. Through such images Fu-sheng Ku conveyed both love and beauty in his song of life, as he happily and unceasingly swore a vow of eternal commitment to his art.