Tina Keng Gallery

Su Meng-hung
Born in 1976 in Taipei, Taiwan
Lives and works in Taipei, Taiwan

Su Meng-hung graduated from the Changhua National University of Education, Taiwan, and Goldsmiths College, University of London. He received his PhD from the Tainan National University of the Arts, Taiwan. His 2003 solo exhibition Kai Dao Tu Mi at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, garnered critical attention. In 2008, he participated in Expenditure: Busan Biennale (Busan, Korea).

Su Meng-hung works across such mediums as painting, silkscreen printing, installation, and sculpture in a creative process that manifests his attempt to transform traditional Chinese imagery of flowers and birds into a visual vocabulary of gaudy and grandiose icons, or into a cultural language of sensuous and appealing symbols. He often adapts elements of flowers and birds from the work of late Qing-dynasty painters. These visual symbols are not merely driven by the artist’s desire to ridicule social codes or to popularize the symbols in mass culture. In fact, the flowers and birds embody the taste of the aristocracy and literati.

Su’s body of work is deeply informed by his appropriation of Jesuit missionary and painter Giuseppe Castiglione’s paintings. The appropriation of Castiglione’s imagery in Su’s work evokes the emotional states of the artists 250 years ago when Castiglione painted Barn Swallow and Green Peach Blossom, Lotus Flower and Butterfly, and Flower in a Vase, when Shen Zhenlin painted Flower Painting God, or when Wang Chengpei painted Peonies. Even with aspirations thwarted at the imperial court, these artists conveyed an indescribable elation glimmering in each brushstroke in their portrayal of kitsch or elegance — the same kind of bliss and delight that reside in the work of Su Meng-hung today.

Su’s notable solo exhibitions include A Painter of the Empire, Tina Keng Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan (2016); Poppy, Golden Lotus, Dopamine, Tina Keng Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan (2012); and Unreachable Blooming, IT Park, Taipei, Taiwan (2007). He has also participated in international exhibitions and biennials, including Dialogue on Printmaking — The Taiwan-US Exchange Exhibition, Taiwan Academy, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, New York (2016); Taipei Biennial (2014); Jam — Cultural Congestions in Contemporary Asian Art, South Hill Park Art Centre, Bracknell, UK (2009); and Busan Biennale (2008).