‘I no longer wish to be a painter living secluded amongst the mountains and water, but a social being who has a new attitude to life.’

born 1968 Tainan, Taiwan. Lives and works in Taipei.

Wu Chi-Tao is immersed in the history of Chinese shan shui landscape painting. He has studied every detail of ink paintings by Song and Ming Dynasty masters in the National Palace Museum in Taipei, and applied his knowledge to recording the shorelines, cliffs, and reefs of islands off the coast of Taiwan, fragile and endangered ecosystems. The twelve separate paintings that make up Reflections of Floating Islands take the form of ‘album leaves’ to be read from right to left in the traditional manner, on shu xuan paper like those painted by the scholarly literati in the past. Like a scholar painter in the imperial past Wu even grinds his own ink from natural pigments such as malachite and cinnabar, mixing them with deer-horn gelatin. Each album leaf documents a specific time and place, reflecting the artist’s growing concerns about the environmental damage seen now in even in the remotest stretches of his island. As a whole, the twelve paintings form a diary that moves from pristine natural beauty to devastation.

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