Photo Credit: Gallery Sun
On a sunny Saturday afternoon, I was invited to join my friend Jessica for a presentation on Art Restoration. I have always appreciated art and the words on the poster, “The Journey of Time through the Old Cities” rang to me.
True to its slogan, Leo Tsai, the first Taiwanese master art restorer took us on a journey through historical cities from the birthplace of the Renaissance halfway around the world and finally back to Taiwan, stepping into the back doors of art preservation.
His speech was simple, yet his words permeated with his passion and respect for each masterpiece and the artists who created them. From Brunelleschi’s Cupola and the Pietas of Michelangelo, to his enduring training under Italian master restorers, his love affair with Portrait of a Young Girl in New Orleans, his opportunity to be the first Asian restorer to work in the Uffizi, and bringing his experiences to preserve cultural heritages in Taiwan, we all listened intently and were mesmerized.
His keen observations and unique perspectives bring to light two simple questions: What is important to you? And what will you do about it?
While modern society undergoes lightning fast changes, often with an “out with the old and in with the new” attitude, what do we value at the end of the day? What will be lost if we simply conform to popular trends and never take a stand? I am still pausing to think.
Time is an inevitable enemy to beauty of all sorts whether man-made or natural, yet the people who conserve its originality through the test of time are the front line, often unseen rescue team.
I am grateful for people like Leo, so my children and grand-children can walk by a historical site in Tainan, or visit the Uffizi and be able to admire the intricate compositions and brushstrokes of ancient masters. Thank you for preserving for the future.
More about Shun-Jen (Leo) Tsai:
Leo’s Studio: TSJ Art Restoration (in Chinese)
Leo on TED x Taipei (in Chinese)