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Artist, former national policy advisor dies aged 81

2019/03/23 15:14:12

CNA file photo

Taipei, March 23 (CNA) A former national policy advisor to Taiwan's president, who was also the winner of Taiwan's prestigious National Award for Arts, died on Friday, according to his family.

Artist Lee Shi-chi (李錫奇), 81, died after he was sent to a hospital due to a brain hemorrhage on Tuesday, his family said.

Born in Taiwan's outlying island of Kinmen in 1938, Lee's works are known for their variety of art forms, such as prints, ink arts, abstract calligraphies, lacquer paintings, mixed media and installations, according to Liang Gallery, which has collected Lee's pieces.

With his various artistic styles and the incorporation of Oriental traditions in Western modern philosophies, Lee earned the nickname of the "Bird of Artistic Variations," Liang Gallery said on its website's introduction of the artist.

Lee's early creations featured prints on parachutes, a material he found when serving in the military in the 1960s. Thanks to the rough texture of parachutes, Lee's works possessed an explosive and impactful visual effect, according to the National Culture and Arts Foundation (NCAF).

However, inspired by Chinese calligraphy and the hyperrealism in the U.S., Lee gradually abandoned his role as a print artist in the 1970s and began painting with airbrushes, the NCAF said. The new tool helped Lee create a series of large paintings titled the "Big Calligraphy."

The NCAF said Lee changed the course of his creation again to lacquer painting after a trip to China in the 1990s, and focused on the wrinkling effect that traditional lacquer painters tended to avoid.

In 2012, Lee was honored with Taiwan's 16th National Award for Arts for his "experiment on new artistic materials," the "rich Oriental traditions of his works," and the "promotion of Taiwan's arts exchanges with international arts," the NCAF said.

In 2015, Lee was appointed by then President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) as one of his national policy advisors, an honorary position in which Lee provided opinion and advice to the president, according to the Presidential Office.

"I was shocked by the news of Lee's death tonight," writer Chen Fang-ming (陳芳明) wrote Friday on Facebook. "I love Lee's style because it is always candid and straightforward, and there are no limitations in his work."

(By Hung Chien-Lun and Chi Jo-yao)
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