At 14:30, on June 29, 2013, Taiwanese photographer Ruan Yizhong lectured at the He Xiangning Art Museum, themed “Lost Elegance”, which has been an important theme in his creative career, trying to describe the Taiwanese mental state with the use of the language of image and tracing the traditional ethical values, rather than just staying in the record of landscapes and folk lives. The lecture was divided into two parts, firstly focused on the introduction of his works, and secondly sharing with the audience his forthcoming monograph “Ruan Yizhong’s Microblogging Life: One Day One World”.
His works have tried to capture the warmth between people, while photography is a value judgment for him, rather than of formal interest, which is only the appearance of existence. With the use of the camera’s features, he can transform changeable wonderful people and things into the eternal. Meanwhile, a great photographer creates only half of the works, while the rest is the credit of people and things shot in the photograph, so that the fundamental ethics is to respect the subjects. Ruan said, looking does not mean seeing, except by heart, then one can really see it. Creative attitude determines the power, temperature, touch and spiritual content of a photograph. A good photographer would put emotion in the photograph; pressing the shutter, strangers would be known well. Seen from that, Ruan Yizhong views the world from a perspective full of love and tenderness.
He spoke of the series of “Lost Elegance”, Ruan said “lost elegance” represented the implicit feature of Chinese people. He believed that elegance referred to restraining oneself, making everything obey the etiquette of Confucianism, and he hoped to restore the relationships between man and man, man and object, through the preservation of traditional customs. Ruan thought the truth he found in photography was to understand the depth of the ordinary world, while his life was his creation.
In the second section, Ruan shared with the audience his forthcoming book “The Micro Text of Extensive Thinking”, the content of which is the carefully edited texts, issued in microblogging, he said, “Micro texts refresh as fast as the particles flowing through the narrowest gap in a hourglass, appearing of unique value to a particle, but then they are inundated and disappear. Publishing the book is to leave traces of the flashes of ideas”.
Ruan Yizhong, regarded as “microblogging fan”, advised the audience to control microblogging, instead of being controlled by it. He claimed that he more carefully wrote the micro blog more than the columns, and the book contained various interests except photography: design, vegetarian, music, coffee, etc., showing his unique life aesthetics, full of flavor. He believed that even if the material was poor, man should be spiritually noble, while the so-called life aesthetics should pay the ultimate price for creation. It is certain to encounter choice and judgment in the creation, Ruan chooses a good side to view things, to share with the spectators the life aesthetics in his eyes, by way of positive energy.
Ruan Yizhong was born into a carpenter family in Toucheng Town of Yilan County, Taiwan. He is a famous contemporary photographer in Taiwan, one of the few Chinese photographers elected to the “Contemporary Photographers” group in USA. Through decades of a photographic career, he has always insisted on a warm humanist perspective, dedicated to using a camera to record the phenomenon of Taiwanese society, with extraordinary enthusiasm and insight.
Journalist: Chen Chuqing, translated by Chen Peihua/CAFA ART INFO
Photo: He Xiangning Art Museum