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The Primitive Style of Max Liu’s Painting
Max Liu’s paintings with primitive style were inspired by the Art and cultures of indigenous peoples living in Taiwan, Africa, South Pacific Islands and Australia. Apart from incorporating formal elements of Indigenous Art and representing customs of indigenous people, these paintings also imply their thoughts and world views, which are so different from the ideas in modern civilization. These paintings show Max Liu’s ideas of Art as well as his impression on indigenous people and Art, which were his main interests after age 60. Through his primitive style paintings, Max Liu showed the innocent, simple and free qualities of the indigenous world. The aim of this study is to discuss formal elements and meanings of Max Liu’s primitive style paintings based on Art History and Cultural Anthropology (or Material Anthropology). How Indigenous Art and the ideas of Modern Art had inspired his artistic creation, and his understanding of Cultural Anthropology as well as indigenous Art are also clarified. Through his writing and interviews, Max Liu revealed how he combined knowledge of Modern Art and Indigenous Art, and developed a theory for evaluating Indigenous Art. The discussion of these aspects is also included in this study. Max Liu attempted to find out the innate characters shared by all human beings through studying indigenous cultures, and so to create art work that touches the viewer deeply in the heart. His primitive style painting does not represent Indigenous Art and cultures in the reality, but rather shows his idealization of the indigenous world. This idealization in turn reveals his criticism of the modern civilization and his dream for a perfect world.
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