CHENG Po-Tsung X LIU Wen Hao

A joint exhibition of CHENG Po-Tsung and LIU Wen Hao at ESLITE GALLERY will be on view starting July 2, 2022. Respectively born in the 80s and 90s, CHENG and LIU both graduated with a degree in fine arts. Their paintings either present the images flowing in their heads in everyday life or are creative approaches that explore and echo their life experiences. Despite differences in their expression, they both convey some sort of resistance to the “framework” imposed by art and society.

  • Exhibition Period:2 July – 30 July 2022
  • Address:ESLITE GALLERY ∣ B1, No. 88, Yanchang Rd., Xinyi Dist., Taipei City 110055, Taiwan

This joint exhibition features 56 works by the two artists. Born in 1982, CHENG Po-Tsung graduated from the Department of Fine Arts at National Taipei University of the Arts in 2007. This exhibition brings together his works from 2013 to 2022. He uses ordinary stationery for his paintings, from ballpoint pens, Water brush, markers, to whiteout (tape) that are easily obtained, and draws on 10cm by 10 cm post-its. Not a fan of planned creation or using “standard” painting materials, CHENG takes whatever stationery he has at hand to put down his thoughts at the moment. Among the many works named Untitled, some are semi-figurative, and some are smeared and unintelligible objects. “Watch and draw. That’s what I do. I don’t have any specific goals. Sometimes it ends up different from what I was drawing at the beginning; sometimes I am merely coloring.” The seemingly spontaneous doodling, however, poses a challenge to CHENG’s skills, since mixing colors with the ballpoint or marker pens he uses is quite difficult.

The use of stationery pens for painting comes from his habit of drawing in textbooks or test papers back when he was in middle and high school. As opposed to “formal painting” in art classrooms while studying fine arts at National Taipei University of the Arts, he preferred the freedom of creation in his own little corner of a café, where he can articulate his thoughts and feelings on post-its without any constraints. These 10-by-10cm squares are reminders of staying true to his original aspiration for painting since the very beginning.

LIU Wen Hao, born in 1995, is currently pursuing his master’s degree in fine arts at the National Taipei University of the Arts. This exhibition showcases three set pieces in his Penjing series created in 2022, including Evergreen and Troubleshoot. Chinese penjing is designed and constructed renditions of “natural landscapes” in miniature. To make the plants appear in perfect arrangement, external forces such as wires and tapes are used to restrict their natural growth, thus changing their forms. LIU believes penjing resembles people—the external forces are like social frameworks that impose norms and constraints on people, so he began using penjing to develop his graphic narratives. For instance, the three paintings in Troubleshoot depict how the plant grows into different shapes after removing one by one the “x’s” at its bottom.

His involuntary hand trembling due to Tourette’s and the itchy, red swollen bumps from atopic dermatitis are difficult memories that have accompanied him growing up. He finds alternating materials like acrylic paint and spray paint, along with scraping and sanding techniques, help him create artful frantic lines yet revealing details of uneven scab-like appearance that echoes his painful body experience.

Whether it’s CHENG Po-Tsung’s use of unconventional materials, or LIU Wen Hao’s fierce-looking plants, they are all intended to break the fetters of conformity through the process of painting and find the free nature of creation and life.