Taiwan's mixed media artist Wu Chi-tsung (吳季璁) has taken the second leg of his solo exhibition tour across the United Kingdom to Lancaster City. Titled "Recalibrate,” the exhibition drew over 100 British artists, curators, educators, and students on its opening day on Jan. 31.
The exhibition showcases Wu's works from different periods of his career, including "Wire I,” with which he won the top award of the Taipei Arts Award in 2003, a collection of cyanotypes from the "Wrinkled Textures” series, and a newly commissioned installation — "Crystal City 004.”
Wu's "Recalibrate” impressed exhibition goers with simple mechanics; the artist combined basic mechanic principles with elements from traditional Chinese landscape ("shan shui”) ink paintings to create moving landscapes.
The opening day also featured a forum, in which art lecturers Sarah Casey and Gerry Davies explored Wu's use of modern lighting and traditional Chinese art motifs in his works.
Davies was curious whether the emphasis on integration with traditional Chinese art was a contemporary trend in Taiwan. In response, Wu said that the Asian approach is just the opposite of the West.
While the former values tradition, however, landscape inkpaintings during the imperial Ming and Qing dynasties lacked creativity and originality. This led many early visual artists in Taiwan to seek inspiration from the West, explained Wu.
Yet, the fact remains that Western aesthetics and artistic styles are not native to Taiwan. Thus, many Taiwanese artists are now exploring the concept of identity by returning to their roots, giving rise to a fusion of contemporary elements with traditional Chinese art forms, Wu pointed out.
When asked about the projector used in the "Wire” series and its resemblance to an old reel projector, Wu said that was inspired by the loss of his old camera. After losing his equipment and being unable to afford a new projector, he managed to make one of his own, with which he created a mirage to explore how the world shown through the lens of visual media influences people's views on the real world during the industrial era.
Wu's exhibition in Lancaster will run through March 21 in a split-site exhibition between the Peter Scott Gallery and The Storey.
The third leg of Wu's tour in the U.K. will kick off in Sheffield on April 4. The Sheffield edition of "Recalibrate” has also been selected as one of the featured cultural programs of the 2014 Tour de France Cultural Festival.
The co-organizers for the U.K. tour are: The Ministry of Culture, the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (Manchester), the Site Gallery (Sheffield), and Live at Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA).