Things Wholesale: Taiwanese artist James Ming-Hsueh Lee’s new installation that reexamines our society’s excessiveness

In his new installation, James Ming-Hsueh Lee tackles our society’s excessiveness and how the supermarkets categorize their products (and brands) to entice consumers to buy more than what they need. The artist also changes the way we look at mundane things like post-it notes, coins, M&M’s, composition papers, tapes, and bottles by reorganizing them playfully, creating a fresh new visual experience.

The show Things Wholesale runs from 21 July to 24 September at Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, in Taipei.

You can see more of the artist’s works on his website.

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Pink post-it notes are stuck on the wall to create a large pink square.

Blue and red packaging tapes are stuck across the wall, creating a simple yet visually appealing striped mark. 

Bottles of shampoo, dish washing liquid, cleaning detergent, laundry detergent and body wash are placed on a tall thin white platform, creating a gradient of greenish blue color.

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Yellow M&M’s are stuck on the wall to create the ubiquitous Mcdonald’s sign. Next to it is a series of step ladders lined up that goes from the tallest to the shortest.

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The artist put these graph paper and Chinese composition paper in frames.

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Papers of varying sizes are framed and arranged in descending order, from biggest to smallest.

One-dollar coins are laid around a leafless”stem” and all over the platform. 

Taiwanese artist Chien Chih Kang’s paintings of wildlife and nature

In China, landscape paintings or what they call “sanshui” paintings, which literally means “mountain” and “water” paintings take precedence over other styles. It is also said that looking at mountains is good for the soul because the mountains can reach the skies.

Chien Chih Kang’s landscape paintings incorporate animal figures like rhinoceros, chimpanzee, dragon, and chicken. In his paintings, the artist includes perfectly round sun or moon in order to put an “anchor” to the ever-changing landscape beneath it.

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In order to paint the moon or the sun, the artist tore a piece of paper by hand, without outlining it first or cutting it with a pair of scissors, and attaching it onto the surface with glue. He then applied paint on the edges to achieve this effect as seen below.

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The pieces collected here are part of the exhibition titled Between Strength and Space at In River Gallery in Taipei.

You can see more of the artist’s work on Facebook.

Taiwanese artist Hung Yu Hsi’s landscape paintings

In China, landscape paintings or what they call “sanshui” paintings, which literally means “mountain” and “water” paintings take precedence over other styles. It is also said that looking at mountains is good for the soul because the mountains can reach the skies. Hung Yu Hsi’s sanshui paintings veers away from the traditional in that he incorporates modern elements into his paintings (see utility poles in one of his sanshui paintings).

The artist meticulously used the technique pointillism to produce these images. He also used a gold finish in between layers of ink to add to the mystical atmosphere. In his sanshui paintings, the artist put discreet squares which symbolize windows through which we view these mountains and water.

The pieces collected here are part of an exhibition titled Between Strength and Space at In River Gallery in Taipei.

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Taiwanese artist Ting Hsuan Peng’s new installation that explores her stay in The Netherlands

While studying in The Netherlands, Ting Hsuan Peng observed the country’s King’s Day, or KoningsdagKoningsdag is known for its nationwide vrijmarkt, free market, where the locals sell used items. They also have this “orange madness” or oranjegekte, where people wear orange, the country’s national color. In this new installation, the artist tackles the difference between the cultures in her home country and the country where she’s staying right now.

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The artist took a video of the locals celebrating the King’s Day and extracted the frames from the video, creating a gradient of colors.

 

 

Holland is a name in common usage given to a region in the western part of the Netherlands. It is also home to the famous Holland tulips. In this installation, products from Holland are exhibited. A piece of fake tulip and fake drugs (cocaine and marijuana) were placed in an open box. Fake tulips (plastic and covered in wax) were placed in a transparent vase.

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The installation is part of the show Disconformity at SLY Art Space in Taipei.

Thai artist Tawan Wattuya’s expressive watercolor paintings that depict social order

Tawan Wattuya is inspired by social events that evoke a sense of order, such as weddings, political events and beauty pageants. While staying in an artist village in China, Wattuya saw a military parade and the historical terracotta army. This provides a perfect addition to his body of watercolor works that depict a sense of social order. It is interesting to note that the softness of the medium such as the watercolor stands in sharp contrast to the rigidity of the structure of his subjects.

The pieces collected here are part of a group exhibition titled A Journey Far From Home at Galerie Nichido in Taipei. The show runs from 1 July to 16 September.

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Taiwanese artist Hsu Hui Ching’s video installation “The Right to Speak” series

An artist and school teacher, Hsu Hui Ching transforms language into a concrete form in her Right to Speak series in which the subjects of her videos are school children and professionals. In her videos, the children chew fruit and spit them out onto the glass panel in front of the camera, showing colorful bits on the screen. The professionals, on the other hand, are wearing their uniforms. They take food coloring by the spoonfuls and thinking about their frustrations at work, spit them onto the glass panel, this time creating splashes of food coloring which almost look like abstraction on the glass panel. Afterwards, they spray water from their mouths onto the glass, washing down the food coloring. The technique they use reminds me of the cave paintings where the paint was sprayed from the mouth around the hands, leaving eerie stencils.

Notice that all the children wear white in this series of photos. The artist asked them to chew fruit, not candy, because they are too delicious that kids tend to swallow them too soon!

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In this series of video, the uniforms the people in the video are wearing and the food coloring are the same color. The man in the video is a doctor. He’s wearing the scrubs he wore while doing his internship in the States. Trivia: The scrubs doctors in Taiwan use are green, not blue.

The man below is a firefighter.

The woman below is a nurse. After spraying the glass panel with white food coloring (which look like icing or cream), she sprayed the glass panel with water, washing down the white coloring.

The girl is playfully, and sometimes hesitantly (almost asking the people around her if she can really do such a wild thing!) chewing on a piece of fruit and spitting it out.

This video installation is part of the show titled Disconformity at SLY Art Space in Taipei.

You can see more of the artist’s works on her blog.

 

Taiwanese artist Chien-Chung Lin’s acrylic paintings:A throwback to childhood

When Chien-Chung Lin was still a child, he would carelessly ripped his clothes, like most children do, and his grandmother would mend them instead of throwing them away. The series of paintings collected here is a throwback to the artist’s childhood. Through his works, he attempts to transform memories into abstract landscapes that bear colors and textures resembling mended clothes.

The pieces collected here are part of the solo show The End of the Shadow at SLY Art Space in Taipei.

You can see more of the artist’s works on his blog.

 

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Japanese artists Katsuyoshi Inokuma and Tetsuo Mizu dual exhibition

Katsuyoshi Inokuma predominantly makes use of the ultramarine blue in his abstract paintings. For him this color provides a certain depth that other colors besides white and black do not. I like how the squares in his acrylic paintings, particularly in his pastel works, fade out into the background just like in the works of Mark Rothko.

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Tetsuo Mizu incorporated international maritime flags as motifs into his works. These flags are used to communicate with ships. While staying in Italy, he used to play with his daughter using flags. This inspired him to produce his latest abstract oil paintings that resemble combinations of these maritime flags. In contrast to Inokuma’s works, the edges of the shapes in his works form lines that look like crevices, making it look like these shapes fit like puzzle pieces.

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The show Harmonics runs from 8 July to 30 July at Whitestone Gallery, Taipei.

Spanish and Taiwanese printmakers group show

I was lucky to see this group show of Taiwanese and Spanish printmakers at AHM Gallery last Saturday. I just had an early dinner and walked past the gallery. I didn’t know there was an exhibit until I saw the poster just outside the entrance.

Some of the Taiwanese artists in the exhibition went to Universidad de Salamanca in Spain to study printmaking.

Taiwanese Artists: 

The picture on the left resembles the entrance of a temple adorned with symbols. The picture on the right, on the other hand, resembles joss paper, or ghost money, sheets of paper burned as offerings for the deceased on holidays and special occasions in Asian religious practices. The artist, Liao Shiou-Ping, is considered a master in printmaking in Taiwan. He introduced various techniques in printmaking to the country after learning the craft overseas.

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Liao Shiou-Ping, Gate of  Festival, 32 x 70 cm, Silkscreen, 2015 (left)

Liao Shiou -Ping, Fortune, 45 x 43 cm, Silkscreen, 2016 (right)

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Chou Ming-Yi, Se, 45 x 68 cm, Silkscreen

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Pan Meng-Yao, Emmanuel Puerta, 40 x 60 cm, Combined methods, 2016

My favorite of the lot:

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Lee Shu-Chuan, Chopin Estudio Op. 10 No. 12, 55 x 77 cm, Relief, 2016

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Lee Shu-Chuan, Toro III, 55 x 77 cm, 2016

 

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Shen Chin-Yuan, February 3.1, 55 x 77 cm, Combined methods, 2017

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Shen Chin-Yuan, February 3.3, 55 x 77 cm, Combined methods, 2017

Spanish Artists:

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Pilar Garcia Abril, Magnolia Grandiflora, Radial section, fragment, 2017, 46 x 68 cm, Woodcut and acrylic dry point (left)

Pilar Garcia Abril, Araucaria Heterophylla, Radial section, fragment, 2017, 46 x 68 cm, Woodcut and acrylic dry point (center)

Pilar Garcia Abril, Magnolia Grandiflora, Transversal section, fragment, 2017, 46 x 68 cm, Woodcut and acrylic dry point (right)

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Rita Del Rio Rodriguez, Transit II, 42 x 29.5 cm, Aquatint / Etching

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Fernando Evangelio Rodriguez, We are Everybody I, 45 x 76 cm, Chromoxylography (left)

Fernando Evangelio Rodriguez, We are Everybody I, 45 x 76 cm, Chromoxylography (right)

 

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Gema Climent Camacho, Blue Boat, 40 x 58 cm, Photopolymer 

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Gema Climent Camacho, Yellow Boat, 40 x 58 cm, Photopolymer 

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Manuel Manzorro Perez, Stud, 41 x 56 cm, Aluminum Plate Lithography, 1994

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Manuel Manzorro Perez, Nude, 39.5 x 31.5, Lithography, 1970

 

 

Taiwanese artist Yuan Hui-Li explores the use of paper ash and ink in her classic series

Yuan Hui-Li tackles the traditional and the contemporary approaches to Chinese landscape painting as a reaction to an environmental problem.

Disconcerted by her travel to Beijing in 2005 where smog enveloped the city, she realized that the beauty in traditional landscape painting in China no longer coincides with reality. Thinking that landscape painting must undergo change, she produced a series of Chinese landscape paintings drawn with paper ash. This series of paintings called Fiery Ink started as a performance in which the artist burned Chinese paper (to highlight that smog is produced by burning) and collected the ash. The artist then used her hands to pick up the paper ash and rub it against the handmade paper. Sometimes, she would burn the tip of the rolled up Chinese paper and use it as a pen. This method is very much different from making the Chinese ink–which is done by mixing the soot of burning pine trees and glue.

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The pages of Chinese paper with burned edges below mimic the mountain range in the Chinese landscape painting drawn with paper ash on the wall.

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The artist used paper ash to paint the landscape on the right. The landscape on the left is a duplicate of a traditional Chinese landscape.

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Burned Chinese paper which resembles a chimney

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Burned Chinese paper, burned rolled paper, candle wax the artist used to burn and heat the tip of the rolled paper

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These three rolls of burnt Chinese paper resemble chimneys.

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Getting her inspiration from Jinshan, a rural area on the coast in northern Taiwan where she has been living since 1992, Yuan Hui-Li produced a series of work which is a direct contrast to her Fiery Ink series. She explores the fluidity and liveliness of the color and ink as a medium.  The minute translucent calligraphic brushstrokes of varying shape and size culminate into bigger pictures that resemble boulders in Jinshan and sometimes, crystals.

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The show Moist and Burnt: As Ink Breathes runs from 8 July until 10 September at Tina Keng Gallery, Taipei.