Yun Pei Hsiung, "Taipei Boy", 15 x21cm, pencil on paper; "Girl in Paris", 15 x 21 cm, pencil on paper; "Boat boy in London", 15 x 21 cm, pencil on paper, "Tokyo Woman", 15 x 21cm, pencil and was pastel on paper; "Hong Kong Man", 15 x 21, pencil on paper; "Boy in LongJiang Palace", 15 x2 1, pencil on paper.
Q: Is a portrait automatically a judgment?
A: I always find that a portrait tells me more about the portrait maker than the portrayed, so in that context, yes, I think it is always a judgment. And it goes both ways. There are judgments from the maker towards the portrayed and judgments from the spectators to the maker.
Q: Does the truth of portraiture lie in its pursuit towards idealizing the true potential of a figure, or in its ability to truthfully capture a subject's most defining features?
A: I guess it depends on what the maker had in mind. In my drawing, I think it shows both; I do focus on the defining features as a way of capturing the moment, but I also idealize, or better yet, exaggerate the shapes and proportions of my subject.
Q: When is a portrait image interesting for you?
A: I think it is interesting that most of the portraits I am fond of are those that tell me a lot more about the maker. Those portraits, to me, are self-portraits of the maker despite the subject being someone else. The reason behind the use of color, the quality of the lines, the emotions captured, the decision of keeping and not keeping certain elements, etc. The more I can picture the maker, the more I find the portrait interesting.
Q: Is there something you always embrace in yourself when making a portrait image?
A: Embracing unfinishedness is something that I enjoy a lot. It was built into my drawing perhaps because my drawing often happened in a non-studio space, in my sketchbook. I would draw friends at a social situation, or strangers passing by in an airport or on public transport, for example. As a result, even though now I have more time to draw, I still keep a raw and unfinished quality. One of the most notable features of my drawing is that I usually don’t finish the eyes properly.
Q: Is a portrait the transformation from figure to shape, or from shape to figure?