Kevin Yu

Born in 1956 in Taiwan, lives and works in Paris

The Fantastic Universe of Two Worlds Paris, December 1998

Born in Taiwan, Kevin Yu arrived in Paris in 1981, fluent in Chinese and with some knowledge of English, but unable to speak a word of French. He learnt about France and this world of ours through pictures: the place he liked going to most was the Louvre, where he immersed himself in all the classic works that he had previously only seen in reproductions of dubious quality or rare exhibitions.

He remained very isolated in a world where only painting existed and where, year after year, he distilled the emotions that he experienced. He sought to incorporate the contrast between everyday life in the Far East and France into a pictorial universe, reflecting his internal conflicts in abstract paintings through the juxtaposition of surfaces and mediums in which the universe redefined itself.

Layer upon layer of tumultuous sediments cover the canvas in a broad sweep of gestures controlled by a geometry as rigorous as Mondrian’s, where spaces are superimposed as in the paintings of Cézanne, whose influence Kevin Yu explicitly recognizes.

His canvases are dotted with white or red squares. Star ting with a painting of the void, he searches for the breaking point, the beginning of creation, the origin; a link between traditional Chinese painting and the modernism of west- ern abstract art. From the heart of his deep blacks a firmament of ideas shoots forth silhouetted as delicately as the Guilin Mountains against the rising sun.

Kevin Yu’s pictorial world has always been governed by a primordial symbol which moves its center: initially a silhouette, then a home. In his recent works, references to a mother figure and time have increased, as if, in his canvases, the dream of reconciliation between here and there, past and present, has at last become a reality. Kevin Yu sees his artistic production as a non-narrative, personal diary. The restrained lyricism of his paintings offers new insight into the geometrical mind

Lélia Mordoch