Artist

Why Glass?
The Spirit of Poetry and Literature

A Touch of Red—the heart’s ultimate answer.

Chang Yi, “the philosopher and poet of LIULI art”, creates works of art that are not unlike poems; each piece is tinged with complex human emotion. Not only is the A Touch of Red collection a reflection of Chang’s philosophy toward life, it .....

Why Glass?
The Spirit of Poetry and Literature

A Touch of Red—the heart’s ultimate answer.

Chang Yi, “the philosopher and poet of LIULI art”, creates works of art that are not unlike poems; each piece is tinged with complex human emotion. Not only is the A Touch of Red collection a reflection of Chang’s philosophy toward life, it presents an answer to LIULI art and Eastern philosophy. From a cultural position, he composes a symphony using elements of traditional Chinese painting and liuli air bubbles. This is a presentation that never before existed in the domain of LIULI art. In 2015, following the LIULI 101 Center exhibition in Taipei, A Touch of Red travelled to Shanghai for an exhibition at LIULI CHINA MUSEUM.

2002’s Free Mind collection was built upon the Buddhist philosophy: when one is true to one’s self, there is no situation in which you are not yourself. 2013’s A Realm of Zen within Fire is the calm after a major life disruption. Having experienced birth, death, sorrow and joy, when you are at the end of the end, what is life?

Chang says, “Life is illusory, dreamlike, fleeting. And in your heart is a touch of red”.
A touch of red is the accumulation of countless lifetimes, it is the hope and longing that remains, and it is the final declaration.

So do tell, what does the red in your heart look like?

Zao Wou-Ki, Not Picasso
An artist must be in possession of a unique creative language.

Painter Zao Wou-Ki rose to fame creating Western inspired Abstract Expressionist paintings. But he was most well-known for infusing Western styled oil paintings with Eastern ink wash styles. His painting Chou xiang, inspired by Chinese jia gu wen oracles, fetched over US$14 million.

Like Zao, Liu Guosong, the father of modernist Chinese painting, dabbled in Western art when he was young. He declared: Chinese landscape painting is more than mountains and rivers, I want to find the “language” of the Chinese people through art. I cannot look to Picasso if I want to be a Chinese artist.

Writer Yu Guangzhong said of this revelation, “the prodigal son returns”. Under Liu’s brush, Chinese ink wash came to life. Using an exclusive translucent paper, he was able to communicate a feeling of bewilderment, one that nobody was able to replicate. Observing his paintings, the viewer will become privy to his struggles. His work transcends material and expresses the emotional metamorphosis of Chinese artists in today’s environment.

In 2010, the Chinese Pavilion at Expo Shanghai acquired the art of three artists from Taiwan for their collection: Liu Guosong, Loretta H. Yang and Chang Yi.

In 2013, Liu Guosong’s painting sold for over HK$81 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong’s Autumn Auction.

Where has Chang Yi’s path taken him? In his youth, he pursued French and Italian New Wave Cinema, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, The Stranger by Albert Camus and Jean-Christophe by Romain Rolland. All but his 90 year old teacher’s lesson on “Ren” (benevolence). As a young man, he did not have time for Confucius.

Years later, Chang discovered that Ren was the backbone of the Chinese people. The more he understood the past, the more unsettled he became. He observed his nation’s period of cultural lapse and heard the utterance from his elders of a China that they would never see change for the better. All of this incited him.

LIULI art became his outlet.

The Japanese developed the aesthetic tradition of the Song Dynasty and Qing porcelain found their way into British museum collections, but where was the Chinese art and culture of the modern Chinese?

In 1987, as a response to this disheartening phenomenon, Chang Yi and Loretta H. Yang established LIULIGONGFANG, Asia’s first LIULI cultural art studio and chose the word “LIULI” for its historical significance.

Only in Tang poetic lexicon does the impermanence of “like scattered clouds, the fragility of LIULI” exist. So why use LIULI?

Art must forge a connection to the times for it to have substance. It is interlinked with the artist’s past, emotions and national pride. Like Zao Wou-Ki, Chang returned to his own culture, his own language, his own philosophy and poetry to express the purest and most profound touch of red.

It is Song Dynasty Painting, and a Never before Seen Means of Expression
It is said that painting a dragon is the apex of expression. Purely by observing painting titles, it can be deduced that the Song held ambience and spirit in high esteem. They enjoyed depicting the cycle of the four seasons and leaving messages via inscriptions; they could convey the most profound philosophy through a single blade of grass or a dewy mist.

Song Painter Guo Xi wrote: The mountains in spring are light and seductive as if smiling: the mountains in summer have a blue-green color which seems to be spread over them; the mountains in autumn are bright and tidy as if freshly painted; the mountains in winter are sad and tranquil as if sleeping.

Every shift in the landscape is captured within the artist. Not until Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh did Western art make a foray into nature and the four seasons.

The layered effect of Chinese ink wash painting depends on ink application, rendering and lines of varying thickness. This process can be repeated up to one hundred times in a single painting. In A Touch of Red, Chang takes these painterly elements and executes them in LIULI. His work shines the light on nature and the layered brushwork of Song painters. Cloud, fog and waves meet and part and flow in the space between coming and going, between presence and absence, between abstract and representational. Air bubbles serve as traces of movement while the three-dimensional space displays accumulated layers, of what was, an eternal touch of red. This is the modern transmutation of ink wash.

The Self-cultivation of an Intellectual
Prior to Tang Dynasty luminary Wang Wei, a poet was but a poet, a painter was but a painter. After Wang Wei, “painting could be discovered in poetry, poetry could be discovered in paintings”. This was the highest form of self-cultivation by an intellectual.

Prior to French innovator Émile Gallé, poetry was art, glass was craft. Yet Gallé showed the world that his work spoke to the people, to nature, to God and as a protest against inequality. Chang Yi says of Gallé’s “speaking glass”: he critiques this world through glass.

During an amorous period in his life, Gallé inscribed the words of poet Maurice Maeterlinck on his glass: what is beautiful will never die. With Victor Hugo he searched for “the root of human suffering”; with Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, he explored the depths of the human soul; with Montesquieu’s words, he discovered the philosophy of glass art; his use of Charles Baudelaire’s poetry revealed the struggle within his soul.

To Gallé’s fervent admirer Chang Yi, LIULI is poetry, it is life itself. In A Touch of Red, that touch of color appears to born from the primal chaos of the universe. It harbors an inexplicable change. It can be found in the poetry of Li Bai, “moved by the times, flowers splatter with tears”, in the seal marked on Chinese landscape paintings; is zen the consequence of snow covered blossoms or the sudden realization of delusion?

It is all of that, it is none.

If we agree that the world’s earliest known glass was a prehistoric meteorite, how can we even compare?

With intuition and vision, Chang Yi has guided the thousands of years old LIULI culture to its modern incarnation. As an artist he provides clarity with his awareness of life and death. Let us treat this touch of red as life’s ultimate answer.

Life, the cultivation of a philosophy, a way of existence, a touch of red.

Join us!

Habatat Glass invites you to celebrate the
46th year of our International Glass Exhibition.

We are extremely proud to have founded the oldest and largest annual glass exhibition in the world.
Grand Opening: Saturday, April 28 at 8pm | Exhibition April 28- June 22