Longing for your Return – Li-chung Lee










Longing for your Return – Li-chung Lee

2016.11.05 – 12.04


Opening: 11/05 (Sat) 15:00

Artist Talk: 11/05(Sat) 16:00, talk with Zong-long Wu


The pigeon, as expressed in the Bible story, is the pure bird that brought back the olive branch to Noah's ark; under the pen of Spanish painter Picasso, embodies the peace messenger fighting against war. To Li-chung Lee, however, the pigeon's existence symbolizes deepest nostalgia and sense of belonging.


Racing pigeons has been a part of Taiwanese culture for a number of years, and the trading market is flourishing. Though the pigeon lofts on rooftops is a common sight for all to see, the pigeon racing culture is always low-profile and mysterious and a part of only a few people’s lives. Li-chung Lee’s solo exhibition “Longing for Your Return” at Powen Gallery starts with his memory of pigeons when he was just a child. He uses various pieces of photography, installations and large amounts of hand-painted media to show the struggle of human beings and pigeons inner feelings that are intimate, yet alienated. Through the short but difficult journey of racing pigeons, the artist projects the chaos of life, silence and death. Li-chung Lee, influenced by the inherent nature of pigeons – "returning home", the deep sense of "belonging" entrusted within this simple but intractable instinct, quietly working this topic into his work. The cold silence of the photography, yet warm painting strokes, reflects the artist's long-time emotional pursuit.


“Longing for Your Return”, is based on the important mid-40s Taiwanese song which narrates the inner battle for Taiwan women during WWII, longing for the return of their husband, who have gone off to South Sea for war, not knowing whether they are alive or dead. Just like the master who are eagerly looking forward to their pigeons returning home, Li-chung Lee creates a poetic imagery which is the basis of his creations, transforming the dominator and dominated relationship, trying to search for one’s identity and environment in spite of the manipulation of fate. Such as the piece "I Just Want to go Home," the artist portrays the weight of life on just a thin piece of paper, but with each piece swaying on their own it is seemingly vague under the vast boundless scenery, like the next second they will be gone with the wind, metaphoric to the value and severity of life.


Li focuses on the emotional details of the culture of the Taiwanese people, and with the alternation of photography, video and composite media, presents the appearance and current way of contemporary generations, as well as emphasizing issues of attribution, fate and globalization. Li-chung Lee, who was born in 1980 in Tainan, Taiwan, graduated from the Private Chinese Culture University in 2003 majoring in Printing and Communication. He has been awarded the EPSON Awards (2006), the Tainan New Art Award (2015) and the Taoyuan Creative Award (2015), and has participated in the joint exhibition and art fair. He has been engaged in fine arts editing and is currently living in Tainan.





Statement from the artist


The name of the exhibition "Longing for Your Return" is based on the important mid-40s Taiwanese song. This song composed by Mr. Yang San Lang, narrates the inner battle for Taiwan women during WWII, longing for the return of their husband, who have gone off to South Seas for war, not knowing whether they are alive or dead. They can only look up at the moon, hoping it will pass their love and thoughts to their husband. The reason why I chose this song as the name of the exhibition is because ever since I became indulged in the common yet mysterious and low-profile pigeon racing culture in Taiwan, I have always imagined myself as a pigeon. How to undertake such an important mission of reaching the end, while struggling for one’s life and taking on the manipulation of fate. In addition to photos, this exhibition also contains a large number of hand-painted media, Polaroid photographs and photographic devices.


In the past I was fascinated by the homing instincts of pigeons, simultaneously imagining myself in the same situation, transforming this into a search for my own environment and identity. Surprisingly, the simple act of "returning home" has become my deepest nostalgia. My passion for pigeons and source of inspiration for my work is deeply rooted to my desire to revisit this culture from my youth. Through my work, I try to reshape the overflowing emotions and expectations in the folds of the paper, while completely showing how pigeons survive the state of life through the sea view collage of photos. As the dominator and dominated, when I take a look back, the appearance and situation of these pigeons are strikingly similar to my own.


2016, Li-chung Lee