To come a full circle: Liu Kuo-Sung's space series (1969-1973)

Chua, Yi Wen (2018) To come a full circle: Liu Kuo-Sung's space series (1969-1973). Masters thesis, LASALLE College of the Arts.

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Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Title: To come a full circle: Liu Kuo-Sung's space series (1969-1973)

Inspired by images from America’s Apollo space missions, Liu Kuo- sung (刘国松) (b. 1932) created a series of modern ink paintings depicting
cosmic landscapes which he named Space Series (tai kong xi lie 太空系列)
(1969-present). Since the creation of the first work in 1969, Liu devoted himself solely to this series for the next four years, producing more than three hundred works between 1969 and 1973. Liu shifted his focus away from the Space Series in 1973. China’s Shenzhou (神舟) space missions inspired him
to revive the series in 2005, leading to the second phase of the Space Series which continues till today.
Across the numerous works, regardless of the size, colour, orientation and composition, there is only one constant - the circle motif. This paper examines the symbolic meaning of the circle in the Space Series, focusing on works created during the first period from 1969 to 1973. The works feature a hard-edged circular disc as the dominant pictorial motif and demonstrate a shift to clean-cut contours which are the antithesis of the soft calligraphic brushstrokes of Liu’s earlier ink paintings in the early 1960s.
The Space Series is the culmination of Liu’s efforts to amalgamate Western modern styles and techniques with the long tradition of Chinese ink to create a new artistic expression. The use of the circle (representing the Earth, the Moon or the Sun) as the main element in the composition pushes new boundaries in ink traditions. By introducing the circle, Liu expanded the degrees of expression for Chinese ink beyond a combination of dots and lines to include textural and surface tension effects.
The discussion of the circle is a starting point to critically examine the Space Series as a whole and evaluate its significance in Liu’s practice. This investigation into a little researched body of works, particularly the analysis of the connections between Liu’s theories and the development of his techniques and style, extends the discourse on modern ink painting.

Subjects: Art History
Divisions: Faculty of Fine Arts > Master - Asian Art Histories
Depositing User: Ms Ashalatha Krishnan
Date Deposited: 13 May 2019 07:37
Last Modified: 13 May 2019 07:38
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