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Si Chi Ko : Nature and Arts
 來源 : 南畫廊新聞 NAN news



2000, America

Gerrit Henry

Taiwanese photographer Si Chi Ko's works are studies in contrasts-almost, we might say, visual oxymorons, even the fabled "conjunction of opposites." They are both different and commanding, sere yet sensuous, earthy and supernal.

From this remarkable sensibility Si Chi Ko derives photos that witness the drama of man against nature, and, concomitantly, and more aesthetically, the continual play of the abstract versus the figurative, the formal against the representational. Born in Taiwan in 1929, Ko is today Taiwan's foremost photographer, as well as being internationally recognized. This latter should come as no surprise, for it is an international itinerary Ko has pursued, from early days working with Japanese masters at the Tokyo College of Photography, through a long stay living and working in New York, with later ventures to, and artistic adventures in, southern Europe, North Africa, and the Chinese mainland.

Throughout, Si Chi Ko has been shaping and re-shaping his vision, resulting in photographs that address outer and inner eye alike. In The Presence of Venus, shot in Greece, Ko's urge-to-abstraction manifests itself boldly enough: the piece is structured into two horizontal rectangles and one vertical. We see the glowing horizon first, then, beneath it, Homer's "wine-dark sea," in two shades of a deep, ethereal blue to the left. To the right is a preternaturally sunny villa wall in white stucco, complete with rickety red window, its portals shut against the high sun. Venus' actual, perhaps millennial rising from the sea is not assured, but her absence somehow majestically mythologizes the scenery around her.

Golden sea quaveringly presents us with the sea at an hour late in the day, tiny silhouetted fisherman pulling in their crafts, waves and water translated into a brassy, highly burnished, one-dimensional, near-tactile surface, as mysterious as it is, almost, poetically brazen. And A Never-Ending Dialogue is just that, with its silver waterfalls cascading into - and all but obliterating - the monolithic structure of green-black rock that is their haunted and haunting source.

So goes Ko's achievement - the presentation to the viewer of a sense of quiet discovery, discovery of nature and human nature and the sometimes very thin line distinguishing them. Opposites, after all, attract - in Si Chi Ko's hands, they are melded together in one epic, lyrical union.

Gerrit Henry, a writer, art critic for ARTS NEWS and ARTS in AMERICA.

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