Lin & Lin Gallery is pleased to present the solo exhibition of Lai Chiu-Chen, Paper Moon Following the Light, in March. The title of the exhibition is derived from a jazz song in 1933, 'It's Only a Paper Moon', the first chorus of which has an interesting connection to the way Lai creates his works.
It's only a paper moon
Hanging over a cardboard sea
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me
走光(zǒuguāng) is to be exposed intentionally or unintentionally, to draw the light of something, and to chase the light when it is interpreted in Chinese. Lai collects the material meeting his eye day after day in the memory bank of his brain. He organizes the material, consisting of cultural artifacts belonging to different texts, categories, and times, from a large pool of resources into a pile in which reality can be seen. In fact, his creation is a journey of searching for light, which is transformed by different perspectives and techniques of the artist in the images he selected from his search.
Lai's selections have been not only about the images seen on a computer monitor, but also about painting pictures all along. The artist has consciously shifted the content of painting from the objects and photographs used in the past to the painting of pictures, as if to show that the painting and image traditions have become objects of their own appropriation and imitation. These historical painted picture constructions of a scale-free network beyond the orthodoxy of fine art history and the networked and self-organized connection method constitute the artist's unique response to the canon of art history.
The fragmented symbols, images and memories have been reassembled, integrated and exported. They reveal a flat and cold feeling but also a solid and rich material transformation and lead viewers to think about the multiple meanings of the image in the layers of colours, the mottled texture of the painting and the painterliness embedded within the evenly spread interior and the border silhouette. Lai chooses painted pictures that span cultures, time, and space to be the object of his gaze before he starts painting. His paintings evoke a sense of déjà vu and a kind of nostalgia for history and memory that does not necessarily cause tears, but definitely a kind of distant poignancy, and these are the thoughts that Lai calls forth in viewers with his work.
Perhaps for Lai, painting is the game he is most absorbed in. Time is spent on all kinds of collecting, selecting, organizing, and connecting to manage the dimension in which the artist loves to wander. The game and playfulness we see in Lai's work explain his love of children's games, toys, and picture books, in which there lies a freedom and creativity that even Picasso envied. And the material that he painstakingly selects day after day is the light source that shines on the paper moon.
Lai Chiu-Chen, born in Jiufen Taiwan, 1970, graduated from Taipei National University of Arts, Graduate School of Fine Arts MFA Program. Lai's works received international attention as well as support, and were collected by several significant art museums, such as Long Museum (Shanghai), Taipei Fine Arts Museum and National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. He has won many awards, including First Prize of Taipei Arts Award, Dr Stanley Ho Foundation Art Award, First Prize of Kuo Po-Chuan Fine Arts Award, First Prize of Tunghua Rotary Club Fine Arts Award, First Prize of Grand Award of Prix de Paris, etc. He also won The Light of Transparent, Art Subsidization Program, National Culture and Arts Foundation in 2004 and Colonialism in Body, Art Subsidization Program, National Culture and Arts Foundation in 1997. The artist's important exhibitions include: Subzoology: 2020 Taiwan Biennial, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan, 2020; Rolling! Visual Art in Taiwan, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea, 2013; Have You Eaten Yet?- 2007 Asian Art Biennial, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan, 2007; A Glimpse of Contemporary Art in Taiwan, Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan, 2006; Scylla and Charybdis in Love: The Challenges Facing Contemporary Taiwanese Artists, Gwangju Art Museum, Korea, 2004; Parts of Toys, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan, 2003. Abnormal Temple, A Group Exhibition, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan, 2000. 1997 Final Roam, Abnormal Temple, Sanchih, Taiwan, 1997, etc.
Press release courtesy Lin & Lin Gallery.