Trace of Rain (Partial)
Trace of Rain (Partial)

Written by Jason Chung Tang Yen

Of the back of his successful presentation of this new series in Hong Kong, Chi Chien’s Passing Through The Post-Garden at Taipei gallery Galerie Grand Siècle has so far received overwhelming support from local and international collectors. The 41-year-old Taiwanese artist also recently won the 2015 Kaohsiung Awards.

Chien unites visual, literal and conceptual elements in his practice to voice his ideas. Repeated motifs such as airplanes suggest change and movement, probing ideas around capitalism and technological advances. With an actual antique American flag, Chien questions societal values with a poetic touch, hinting Taiwanese identical issues on immigration.

 Recreating same visuals again and again through different mediums, the audience is drawn in to further investigate, discovering various layers of repeated acrylic paint beneath the surface of these paintings. This deliberate cover-up in Chi’s works, revealing only a floral motif for example, ingeniously presents a shift of perception. With the background noise removed, the floral pattern becomes the main attraction as opposed to being only decorative in purpose. The artist points out the nature of gardens as a space where the public zone converges with the private; this sort of grey area is exactly a match to the theme of the show and the central ideology of the works, which explores the boundaries of ideas and surroundings. At the same time, it expands into a broader notion of nationality and visual culture. Chien’s seemingly elegant visuals in fact show rigorous expansion of theory combined with the appropriate amount of fantasy.

The pursuit of complexity and intensity is evident in his highly precise line work. His works are more than decorative, reminiscent of traditional Tiwanese red floral designs, while antique textile-inspired patterns also remind us of Renaissance art. Chien’s works are in sync with masters such as Alighiero Boetti and Jasper Johns, with a twist of Taiwanese contemporary and a personal flair.

This article was originally published on “http://www.artcollector.net.au/UnderneathTheFacade?searchTerms[]=Underneath&searchTerms[]=the&searchTerms[]=Fa%C3%A7ade