Wu Chi-Tsung has participated in the artist-in-residency program co-organized by Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture and the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, Germany. From November 16th to December 10th, 2017, the program will present his solo exhibition “Far From East” at Berlin, showcasing his recent works, including installations, photography, and videos.
In Wu Chi-Tsung’s early works, he utilized media art to discuss the fundamentals of images and seeing. In recent years, he expanded his research field, traversing through the field of culture and art from East to West, as well as integrating traditional aesthetics and contemporary artistic concepts. In his dialectics and diverse way of practices, his artworks nonetheless preserved the sensibility and romance of an oriental literatus.
The exhibition begins with “Crystal City,” giving the audiences a glimpse of the artist’s point of view. Under the radiating light, the sharp and clear shadows of the ordinary plastic boxes became distinct, projecting a view resembling a concrete jungle of skyscrapers. In this artwork, Wu Chi-Tsung observes the ambiguous boundary between reality and fantasy, questioning as the cyber space took a major part in our daily lives, then what is real, and what is illusory?
“Wrinkled-Texture” and “Cyano-Collage” redefine the junction of photography and painting. The photography series “Wrinkled-Texture” is inspired by the “texturing method”, which is the core technique of Chinese literati painting. Cultivating the technique and the spirit of calligraphy, artists draw down a representational depiction of mountains and stones, which serve as the projection of his inner-thoughts. In “Wrinkled Texture”, Wu utilized cyanotype techniques to apply a photosensitive emulsion on Chinese rice papers, and then exposed the hand-wrinkled papers under the sunlight. After washing off extra emulsion, the shades and the patterns of the wrinkled papers were documented. The complete imagery resembles Chinese landscape – Shan Shui, which Wu substitutes ink and brush with photogram. “Cyano-Collage” inherits the cyanotype photography “Wrinkled-Texture.” The exposed rice papers were collaged into mountains, allowing the artist to further probe into the aesthetics of traditional paintings.
Lastly, the artwork “Still-Life 006 – Chrysanthemum” translates the traditional cut-branch flower painting into a time based moving image. As a video installation, the piece is projected on a hanging scroll, suggesting an outlying and ephemeral scenery that is akin to a vaguely fleeting memory. “Still-Life” series is originated from the artist’s awe to contemporary art and his nostalgia to traditional art.
Given the dominance role of European and American culture in globalization, contemporary art has been rapidly expanding, revolutionizing and innovating. However, it is disconnected to local traditional cultural contexts, increasing the disappearance of unique regional arts and aesthetics. Raised under traditional art cultivation, Wu Chi-Tsung is deeply aware of such disconnection. In his recent artworks, Wu has been finding the possible balance between Eastern and Western cultures, as well as traditional and contemporary art.
The term “Far East” is a Eurocentric geographical concept. Yet, in a globalized epoch, Far East is no longer far away, and the East is no longer east.
Grantee: Chi-Tsung Wu