2001 Solo Show of ''Gravity Release'' series, Original Art World , Sanyi, Miaoly, Taiwan
Liang moved to and away from Sanyi three times. From the glamorous world to the simple, mountainous town immersed in the scent of wood, he not only hoped to retrieve the truth, goodness, and beauty of art, but also contemplated upon the meaning of being an artist and the purpose of artistic creation. This was a transformation and transition for him. Apart from the pure sense of beauty and the exploration of aesthetics, what meaning did artistic creation convey?
In mid-1997, Liang had an opportunity to visit Sanyi. He looked just like what everybody would imagine an artist look like, sloppy and careless about his appearance. He would wander on the streets of Sanyi with a bottle of wine in hand, breathing alcohol. The lowest point of his life coincided with the depression of Sanyi, whose wood sculpture industry had fallen to the bottom from its peak for quite some time. Local artisans gathered together all day, drinking tea and chatting, trying to find a new possibility for Sanyi through "discussing about it." Liang's arrival simply offered them a new perspective: what could an academically trained artist who had studied abroad do in Sanyi? Aside from his decadent lifestyle, what else could this group of wood sculpture artisans, who started their career as pupils after graduating junior high schools or vocational schools, see in Liang? Through this opportunity, instead of diving directly into sharpening his woodcarving skills, Liang took his time to reflect more and see the bigger picture. After all, he had survived living in the Big Apple. Not only had he diagnosed the symptoms of Sanyi's woodcarvingindustry, he also "lectured" theseartisans about Sanyi's potentiality, which he had foresaw.
Liang had always been relatively quick in making his work, now he was producing sculptures even faster since he was not distracted. In no time, he held his first solo exhibition in Sanyi at Original Art World at the end of 2001, which also marked the official beginning of the Gravity ReleaseSeries.
Gravity Release was the first series that Liang set out to develop. The title did not merely refer to release physical weight but psychological burden as well. People living on this island have not only been burdened by living and financial pressure, they also pressured by the task of making the country stronger, establishing its historical position, resolving conflicts between ethnic groups, and finding solutions for political differences. Every Taiwanese, from politician to ordinary citizen, was buried under pressure since birth; and each household was faced with difficulties of its own. Therefore, every person carried weight on his or her mind that needed to be released. Through Liang's Gravity ReleaseSeries, each piece of wood block became light and thin with a sense of levitating beauty. Upon viewing the series, the body and mind became weightless to the point that one felt to be able to fly. This was undoubtedly the psychological freedom that Taiwanese people needed the most.
The solo exhibition at Original Art World did not just showcase wooden sculptures but also avantgarde art installations that incorporated lighting and digital technologies. Mixed media installations were not uncommon or groundbreaking in Taiwan; however, it was new to the people in Sanyi. In this exhibition, one could already see works that possessed characteristics of void spaces and hairpins, which would eventually lead to the series of Integral and Taiwan Matrix.
Ping-Cheng LIANG 梁 平 正