Liu Kuo-Sung 刘国松 (b. 1932)

A native of Qingzhou, Shandong, Liu Kuo-sung was born in Bangbu, Anhui, in 1932. Liu moved to Taiwan from mainland China in 1949. In 1956, Liu graduated from the Fine Arts Department of the National Taiwan Normal University, in which he studied both traditional brush-and-ink and western-style painting techniques.

As one of the co-founders of the Taiwan's Wuyue Huahui 五月畫會 (Fifth Moon Group) in 1957, Liu Kuo-sung sought a new approach to art, which was inspired by both traditional Chinese painting—especially the monumental landscape painting style of the Northern Song period (960–1126) and the xieyi 寫意 style of the Southern Song period (1129–1279)—as well as modern styles and techniques, such as Abstract Expressionism. Before turning to ink painting in 1961, Liu experimented with abstract oil painting. By the mid-1960s, Liu gradually developed his own personal pictorial formulae, in which he combines ink painting with collage and applies ink and color on special paper.

Liu was awarded a John D. Rockefeller III Foundation grant in 1966 that allowed him to travel around the US and Europe, and spent nine months in New York. He exhibited his work extensively in the US and was represented by the Lee Nordness Gallery in New York. In 1968, Liu was named one of Taiwan’s “Ten Outstanding Young Men” and he established the Chinese Painting Study Society.

Inspired by the Apollo 8 space mission, Liu developed his space series in the late 1960s. In 1971, he moved to Hong Kong to teach at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he would remain for the next twenty years. He was also a visiting professor at the University of Iowa in 1975 and a visiting artist at the Iowa and Illinois Art Council in 1980.

From the 1970s onwards, Liu continued his artistic exploration, developing such intriguing techniques as shuituo 水拓 (water rubbing) and zimo 漬墨 (steeped ink). In 1981, he was invited by the Chinese Painting Research Institute to visit Beijing, a visit that was followed in 1983 by an exhibition at the National Art Museum of China and an extensive exhibition in 18 cities around the country. In 1992, he moved back to Taiwan and continued to teach at the Donghai University in Taichung. In 1996, he was appointed head of the Fine Arts Research Institute at the Tainan National University of the Arts, where he worked until his retirement in 1999.

Since his retirement, Liu has traveled and exhibited extensively in China. As an artist and an art educator, Liu Kuo-sung enjoys widespread fame and influence in China. He inspires young generations of Chinese artists to explore new creative directions, and in particular, he fosters the emergence of exciting experiments and innovations in ink painting. His retrospective exhibition at the Palace Museum in Beijing in 2007 marked the high point of his sixty years of artistic career, which has spanned from the East to the West, and from Taiwan to China. Today Liu continues to be an active artist and divides his time between Shanghai and Taoyuan, Taiwan. 

1932年生于安徽,1949年定居台湾,曾任教于香港中文大学艺术系迄今,其间曾在美国艾奥瓦大学及威斯康星州之史道特大学任客座教授。1977年当选为国际教育协会亚洲区会长。

刘国松十四岁开始学习传统国画,二十岁改习西画。1956年,从台湾师范大学毕业后,随即创立「五月画会」,发起现代艺术运动,倡导「中国画现代化」掀起现代艺术运动,是现代水墨运动重要的推手,享有「水墨现代化之父」美誉。

1961年,有感于一味追随模仿西洋现代艺术思潮与画风之不当,更基于对发展与宣扬民族文化传统的强烈使命感,刘教授在创作上做了一百八十度的大转弯,重拾东方画系的水墨媒材,从事水墨的革新,倡导中国画的现代化。对此,大诗人余光中教授撰文称之为「浪子回头」。而刘教授也在此时提出一个至今仍有价值的口号:「模仿新的,不能代替模仿旧的;抄袭西洋的,不能代替抄袭中国的。」

刘国松创建中国绘画新传统的乐观信念,显然带有浓厚的民族思想及爱国精神。这驱使他倡导一种融合传统与现代的绘画创作,并将之命名为「现代水墨画」。自八十年代开始,刘国松通过其于中国大陆各大城市的成功展览,积极推动现代水墨画的发展。刘国松使用富于表现性的艺术语言,穷形尽相地描绘中国大陆各地的山水面貌,像其西藏、九寨沟及张家界等系列作品,在在流露他对家乡的深厚情感。 作为一个艺术创作者与美术教育家,刘国松享有崇高的名声及深远的影响。他在现代和水墨的双重命题中,不断的实验创作,不拘一格,因而发明了「抽筋剥皮皴」、「水拓法」等等的正字标记,他的创作具有鲜明的时代意义,正如美国学者高居翰所言:「刘国松属于一个大运动,而这个大运动是未来艺术史家毫不怀疑公认为20世纪后期的一个支配性运动。」

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