Celestial Travel -
A Transcendental Encounter of Hong Tung and Yeh Yi-li

Jul 24, 2011-Aug 19, 2010

Hong Tung, Yeh Yi-li


Text/ Gallery100

“Celestial Travel”is the first large exhibition of Hong Tung’s artworks in Taiwan’s private galleries during the past 20 years.  “Celestial Travel”is Taiwan’s first transcendental interaction between a naive artist and a contemporary artist.

The value of boundary transcending lies in gathering unrelated elements together and triggering off sparks of inspiration and amazing creativity. This is exactly the purpose of Hong Tung’s and Ye Yi-li’s co-exhibition. Hong Tung is a naive artist born in the 1920s, while Ye Yi-li is a contemporary artist in the technologically fast-growing 21st century. The two artists seem to be completely unrelated, but a careful study reveals to us their fantastic similarities. Of course, they have shown more disparities. “Celestial Travel”displays as well as contrasts Hong Tung’s and Ye Yi-li’s works, leading viewers to retrace the two creators’ initial intentions and travel celestially in their boundless worlds.  

Hong Tung’s paintings in “Celestial Travel”have been loaned with generosity by private collector. The paintings include different types such as Chinese rollers, symbols, line drawings in Chinese ink and brush, integral structure (white base and red base) etc. Ye Yi-li’s artworks were created based on her persistent concepts and were inspired by Hong Tung’s paintings as well. For example, Ye Yi-li produced bird statues just because birds were Hong Tung’s favorite animal. However, utilizing images was her style rather than his.

As far as “creation” is concerned, art and magic are similar in various ways. Both are expected to transform real life’s unrealistic and unusual concepts for the purpose of creating extraordinary visionary charm. Considering this characteristic, the  combination of reality and unreality, art and magic can be considered “kinsfolk.” Analyzing Hong Tung’s and Ye Yi-li’s works from this perspective, we may well say that both of them are art magicians.

Hong Tung was once a wizard. The designs and shades of colors in his works are closely connected to his birthplace, Nan kun-sen, Tainan. This is a realistic element. On the other hand, his paintings are full of unrealistic and imaginary symbols, which, when combined, resemble a great many enchanting magic charms. This unrealistic mystical appeal in his paintings once aroused tremendous shock and grave concern from the public. It remains the same even 20 years after his death,

Ye Yi-li prefers populous cities or picturesque places in her ceremonial creation. She regards herself as a magical enchantress, aiming to create eye-catching works with magic.

Superb magic artistry will certainly engender viewers’ wonder and surprise. Hong Tung’s artful mastery not only transmits enchanting magic power but brings wonder and surprise to people. Ye Yi-li conducts offhanded conversations with the living environment in an intuitive and playful way. Viewers may not fully comprehend her creation, they still can find simple and pure delight in her works. Outward frenzy and inner romanticism are interwoven as a compact huge net in the two artists’ works, intriguing and absorbing viewers spontaneously. 

This exhibition presents a display of Hong Tung’s artworks against Ye Yi-li’s new media creations. Their works manifest their different states of mind, revealing their self-reflections to a certain extent. This is not only a generation-to-generation exhibition but also an interaction between a new and an old era.

It may be difficult to measure Hong Tung’s and Ye Yi-li’s creations with a ruler or a secular scale. However, Hong Tung’s mystical power and Ye Yi-li’s kuso language have transcended the disparities of materials and outward forms. Their artistry has both crossed the limits of time and space, and expanded into an infinite little cosmos, offering viewers a boundless world to take a celestial travel. The scholar, Han bau-de,  said, “To appreciate Hong Tung’s paintings just takes a child-like state of mind.” To travel celestially in Hong Tung’s and Ye Yi-li’s boundless worlds takes the same thing.

  • Installation View
  • Works