李昆霖是我大學的學長,他大四的時候我是大一。雖然他們大四比較不常在學校出現,不過他們那一屆有些之後都是現在台灣很具代表性的藝術家,所以他們在當時給人家的印象,還有他 們本身的造型風格就很特殊。因為美術系在當時都會群聚在某一個地方,所以要認識學長,還算 蠻容易的。

        那之後比較熟是到了九八年,九八年我們是新樂園第二期的成員,雖然當時不常看到他。因為他在台南,然後我們在台北,所以一般開會他比較不常出現。但是他個展的時候,那一次九八 年鳥籠的個展的時候,去看了作品,然後交談比較多。

        然後應該是同年,我也到了那個台南南藝大讀研究所,那交往就更頻繁。當時學長有邀請我到他的一個藝術空間,圓形藝術空間展覽,那就有更多的機會跟時間在一起。勘場地或者是開始 佈置,針對那個空間還有當時的想法,我就特別製作了另一件「結巢」的作品。因為作品的這個 量蠻大的,然後我記得是一個很窄的樓梯,就是要上到圓形藝術空間,它好像是在三樓還是四樓, 那學長還有幫我幫忙把那個作品搬到上面去組裝。如果沒有學長幫忙自己一人搬,那會太辛苦了。

 

        我們會坐在那個圓形藝術空間那一個吧台,喝點啤酒、聊一聊,然後就這樣子一邊聊一邊把那個展覽弄起來。之後還算蠻成功的,因為南藝的老師跟同學就帶團到那個,就到圓形演藝術空 間,當地的藝術家應該也有過去看。這之間學長是一直蠻照顧我的,就是帶我去認識藝術家,然 後請我喝酒吃飯這樣子。不過我們都會談論藝術家談論藝術的事情,彼此的創作的那種,經驗交 換吧,或生活上遇到的困難的一些...好像有一次就佈展,或者是不是佈展,忘了,但是我知道到 他他家去住宿過。然後隔天他帶我去吃台南的一個很特別的早餐,二十四小時的清粥小菜,全台 絕無僅有的,我們就在那邊吃,這個我印象還滿深刻。

         最後一次見到學長。是〇八年他在陽明山的東門草山會館那邊個展。那個地方我很熟,它以前是吳天章的工作室。然後我當時也是住在那附近,所以我就過去一定要參加學長的開幕了。我 們印象深刻,就坐在那個會館前面有一個吧檯或者一個陽台,一個空間就是了。我們坐在那邊也 聊了滿多事情。

        他對藝術的那種堅持讓人佩服,就是一直要克服困難,雖然感覺他在那個環境當中,有些孤獨的感覺。他很希望台南這個地方能夠興起一股,就是對當代藝術的熱情。所以他在台南這個地 方成立了邊陲文化,像這樣一個可以集合當地當代藝術創作者的地方。現在台南的當代藝術已經 發展得滿好的,所以學長應該算是很早期很努力在推動這一塊。為人的話,比較屬於海派個性的。

Lee Kuen-Lin is my senior in university. I was a freshman when he was in his fourth grade. Although seniors seldom appeared in school a lots of them then be-came... very representative artists in Taiwan now. So they were already quite impressive at the time and also their own style was very special. Students of the art department often gathered at a certain place so it was quite easy to know the seniors.

And then the time we became familiar was in 1998. We were both members of the second year of SLY art space. However, I didn’t see him so often because he was in Tainan and we were in Taipei. So he seldom appeared in general but at his solo exhibition the exhibition “Bird Cage” in 1998 we met and talked more.

And then also the same year I went to Tainan National University of the Arts to study master degree. So we met far more frequent. At that time, he invited me to his art space “Prototype Art Space” and had an exhibition there. So there are more opportunities and time to be with him. For example, surveying the place or starting to arrange. In the light of the space and my thought at the time. I made a new installation artwork called "Nesting". The volume of this artwork was quite big and the staircase there was really narrow. The staircase to the Prototype Art Space. It seems to be on the third floor or the fourth floor. Lee Kuen-Lin helped me to move the artwork upstairs.  Without his help, it would be too hard to move them by myself.

We often sat at the bar of Prototype Art Space drank some beer and talked while making the exhibition. The exhibition was quite successful. My teacher and classmates took the group to come and some local artists also came. Lee Kuen-Lin took always much care of me during this time. He introduced me to some art-ists and invited me to dinner and drink. We often talked about art and artists. About each other’s work like an experience exchange or difficulties encountered in life. One time we arranged an exhibition or something… I forgot. But I remem-bered that I stayed at his house overnight. Then the next day he took me to eat a very special breakfast in Tainan. It was a restaurant called “clear porridge side dish” which opened twenty-four hours a day and quite unique. I am quite im-pressed by this.

The last time I saw Lee Kuen-Lin was in his solo exhibition at Tsháu-Suann Li-cence Art Gallery in 2008. I was very familiar with that place. It used to be in the studio of Wu Tian-Zhang and I lived near there too So I attended the opening of his exhibition In my memorize, we sat in front of the building.  There was a bal-cony and we sat there and talked about a lot of things.

His persistence in art is admirable. He kept trying to overcome difficulties. Alt-hough I feel that he was a little lonely in that environment. He really hoped that Tainan could raise a passion for contemporary art. So he set up “Border Culture Art Salon” in Tainan (in 1992. It’s a place which could gather local contemporary art creators. Contemporary art has developed very well in Tainan now. So I think Lee Kuen-Lin was really early and working hard to promote this part. About his personality, I think he was quite candid.

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