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The moods of Taroko Gorge—Fan Zhen-jin’s Color Glaze Painting Exhibition

October 7-November 30 in Taroko Visitor Center

Like a master sculptor, over millions of years the Liwu River has carved a magnificent work, Taroko Gorge, from the Central Mountain Range. This natural miracle does not just elicit gasps of amazement from visitors, it is also a favorite subject for artists, writers, photographers, painters of ink and wash and Western paintings and sculptors…various media allowing people to appreciate the beauty of Taroko Gorge on different levels.

Artist Fan Zhen-jin is one of the few artists to use porcelain panel painting to express how he is moved by Taroko Gorge. His recently completed 14.5 meters porcelain panel painting work “The moods of Taroko Gorge” is on display, its first public showing, in Taroko National Park Visitor Center until November 30. Interested members of the public are welcome to view this fine painting.

The subject of the painting is the scenery along the Central Cross-Island Highway heading up from the mouth of the Liwu River, including Eternal Spring Shrine, Ning-an Bridge, Zhuilu Cliffs, Tunnel of Nine Turns (Jiuqudong), Cimu Bridge, Lushui and Tianxiang. This massive work is the product of eight months of wholehearted effort by the artist.

Fan said that the motivation for the painting of “The moods of Taroko Gorge” came when his 21 porcelain panel paintings with mountains and rivers, birds and flowers and culture as the subjects were exhibited in Taroko visitor center in 2002. Every time he passed through the gorge he was filled with respect and awe by the magnificent scenery. He realized that the scenery along the stretch of highway from the Pacific mouth of the Liwu River to Tianxiang was best able to represent the spirit of Taroko National Park’s scenery and this motivated him to attempt to produce a work of art that showed the gorge in its entirety and in which he could present a personal interpretation of Taroko Gorge.

The painting comprises twenty-four 96 cm high times 60 cm wide porcelain panel paintings. Making the painting involved first photographing the scenery in stages, arranging the photographs, painting the first draft then adding light glaze. A rich variety of colors was needed to express the different textures of the rocks, the rapidly flowing river water, the sky and vegetation through the four seasons, the dawn and dusk mist, making the color of the glaze especially important. The mixing of the glaze was time consuming and it also had to be test fired again and again. The artist developed 100 glaze colors and used 36 of these in the painting. The glaze was then sprayed onto the bisque fired porcelain panels. These were then fired at 1280C in the kiln. Only two could be fired each time so 12 firings were needed. If one of the panels broke during firing the entire set of panels would have been rendered useless and the process would have to be repeated, making the creative process arduous and challenging.

The director of Taroko National Park Yu Deng-liang (游登良處長) said that each stone in the park was forged over a long period of time under high pressure and high temperatures and the marble gorge is the product of the Liwu River cutting through the rock day after day for millions of years. “The moods of Taroko Gorge” was forged in a much shorter space of time than the gorge itself but underwent the same high temperatures. In the painting the artists presents a personal interpretation of the gorge and sings its praises.

In addition to “The Moods of Taroko” this exhibition also includes 30 works that have Qingshui Cliffs, Hehuan Mountain, Taiwan lady's slipper orchid, the Cloud Sea, Shitiping, Orchid Island and roses as their subjects. Members of the public are invited to view the exhibition.

News issued by: Taroko National Park Headquarters

Translated by: Kevin Lax

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