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Shifting Ground

The recent series Shifting Ground (2017) bears poetic and musical attributes that are akin to those express in literary works. The poetic sentiment in the painting is similar to the method used by the stream of consciousness writers to enhance the symbolism in their works, bearing metaphorical imageries and rhythmic beats that suggests the artist's feelings and spiritual state at a particular moment in the creative process. Like the fugue structure used in the "The Kraken" chapter in James Joyce's Ulysses, a single perspective line extends continuously in Boo's painting, horizontal and vertical lines appear repeatedly within the picture plane as if echoing the constant dismantling of landscapes in Singapore's city planning. People are constantly migrating; memories of home and the city are broken and short-lived. These disappearing landscapes surfaced out of the recesses of his unconscious and imagination.


The parallel lines resemble the parts in musical composition imitating one another. Under different sound range, they cut in at different point of time to form duplication and alignments, and finally to be weaved together. The pictorial space is being dissected by stiff lines; every linear, visual quest entails the extension of time, while the discontinuity of space points to a broken reality, mirroring the artist's inner monologue. The splashes of colour passages create spatial montage and flashbacks that breaks through the real time and space. Such variability and complexity represent exactly the flow of consciousness, resembling the narrative style of the "stream of consciousness" literature, the momentary light and shadow from the flashbacks express a kind of spirituality and psychological emotion that are hidden and unspoken.


Hsiao I-ling


Independent writer & cultural worker.

Doctoral Program in Art Creation and Theory, Tainan National University of the Arts, Taiwan.


*Translated by Tan Yen Peng (Original text in Chinese)

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