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Thao Nguyen Phan: Dangerous Optimism Ocula Conversation Thao Nguyen Phan: Dangerous Optimism Tessa Moldan, Brussels

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Los Angeles' art scene has a lot to offer during Frieze Los Angeles, with galleries, non-profits, and museums gearing up for the fair's second edition between 14 and 17 February 2020. In this Ocula Lowdown, Tessa Moldan lists a selection of the city's must-see shows.

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Jaki Irvine's Manifesto on Life at Kerlin Gallery, Dublin Ocula Insight Jaki Irvine's Manifesto on Life at Kerlin Gallery, Dublin Apoorva Rajagopal, Dublin

Ack Ro' , Jaki Irvine's reflection on the fragility of life at Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, is an 'ambitious, holistic installation' staged like a 'wild disarray of interconnected yet fragmented pieces'.

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HomePage Artists

b. 1950, Hong Kong

Tseng Kwong Chi Biography

Tseng Kwong Chi was born in Hong Kong in 1955. Moved to New York in 1978. He studied in Hong Kong, Montreal, Vancouver and Paris.

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Tseng Kwong Chi (or Joseph Tseng) is internationally known for his photographic series Expeditionary Self-Portrait Series a.k.a. East Meets West. In over 100 images, he poses in front of iconic architecture and sublime nature as his invented artistic persona, a Chinese “Ambiguous Ambassador” in the classic Mao suit. His work explores tourist photography in a playful juxtaposition of truth, fiction, and identity.

Mixing stereotypes in his sunglasses and Mao jacket, a visitor badge on his jacket, Tseng began The Expeditionary Series, featuring himself as the ubiquitous visitor from Mainland China—a place he never visited—drawn to the sites much photographed by tourists.

Tseng was an important documentarian and denizen of the downtown 1980’s New York club and art scene. During his brief but prolific 10-year career, he also created vibrant colour and black-and-white photographs of his contemporaries Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat, McDermott and McGough, Kenny Scharf, Philip Taaffe, Madonna, Grace Jones, the B-52’s, and Fab Five Freddy, among others, a rich historical archive of the decade.

In 1990, Tseng died at age 39 from complications related to the AIDS virus, leaving an enduring body of work that engages major photographic traditions -- the tourist snapshot, portraiture, the Sublime tradition of landscape photography, documentary and performance. Tseng’s photographs have been exhibited widely in international exhibitions and are in numerous major public museums and private collections. 

Solo exhibitions include: Tseng Kwong ChiPerforming for the Camera, Tufts University Art Gallery at the Shirley and Alex Aidekman Arts Center, Massachusetts (2016); Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Illinois (2016); Chrysler Museum of Fine Art, Virginia (2015); Grey Art Gallery, New York University (2015); Tseng Kwong Chi—Citizen of the World, Ben Brown Fine Arts, Hong Kong (2014); Tseng Kwong Chi—Pop Shop Tokyo Photographs, Canvas International Art, Amsterdam (2014); Tseng Kwong Chi—Ambiguous Ambassador, Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art (2011); Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American PortraitureBrooklyn Museum of Art, New York (2011–2012); Dreamlands, Centre Pompidou-Museé National d’art Moderne, Paris (2010); Self and Other : Portraits from Asia and Europe, The Museum of Modern Art, Kanagawa (2009).

Exhibition view: Tseng Kwong Chi, East Meets West, Self-portrait series 1979–1989, Ben Brown Fine Arts, Hong Kong (10 January–3 March 2020). Courtesy Ben Brown Fine Arts.

Tseng Kwong Chi Featured Artworks

Lightning Field, North Dakota (Left) by Tseng Kwong Chi contemporary artwork
Tseng Kwong ChiLightning Field, North Dakota (Left), 1987Silver gelatin print
36 x 36 inches
Ben Brown Fine Arts Enquire about this work
Canadian Rockies (Flintstones) by Tseng Kwong Chi contemporary artwork
Tseng Kwong ChiCanadian Rockies (Flintstones), 1986Silver gelatin print
36 x 36 inches
Ben Brown Fine Arts Enquire about this work
New York, New York (Empire State) by Tseng Kwong Chi contemporary artwork
Tseng Kwong ChiNew York, New York (Empire State), 1979Silver gelatin print
36 x 36 inches
Ben Brown Fine Arts Enquire about this work
Paris, France (Sacre Coeur) by Tseng Kwong Chi contemporary artwork
Tseng Kwong ChiParis, France (Sacre Coeur), 1983Silver gelatin print
36 x 36 inches
Ben Brown Fine Arts Enquire about this work
Paris, France (Female Figure and Eiffel) by Tseng Kwong Chi contemporary artwork
Tseng Kwong ChiParis, France (Female Figure and Eiffel), 1983Silver gelatin print,
180 x 180 cm
Ben Brown Fine Arts Enquire about this work
Los Angeles, California (Paramount) by Tseng Kwong Chi contemporary artwork
Tseng Kwong ChiLos Angeles, California (Paramount), 1979Silver gelatin print
50.8 x 40.6 cm
Ben Brown Fine Arts Enquire about this work
Lake Moraine, Canada (Canoe Mountain, Alberta) by Tseng Kwong Chi contemporary artwork
Tseng Kwong ChiLake Moraine, Canada (Canoe Mountain, Alberta), 1986Silver gelatin print
50.8 x 40.6 cm
Ben Brown Fine Arts Enquire about this work

Tseng Kwong Chi Current Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Tseng Kwong Chi, East Meets West, Self-portrait series 1979–1989 at Ben Brown Fine Arts, Hong Kong
Open Now
10 January–3 March 2020 Tseng Kwong Chi East Meets West, Self-portrait series 1979–1989 Ben Brown Fine Arts, Hong Kong

Tseng Kwong Chi Represented By

Tseng Kwong Chi In Ocula Magazine

Gregor Muir, Princess Alia Al-Senussi and Abdullah AlTurki Ocula Conversation Gregor Muir, Princess Alia Al-Senussi and Abdullah AlTurki Anna Dickie, Hong Kong

Duddell’s, the restaurant and bar which has also become one of Hong Kong’s most important art spaces, recently collaborated with London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) to present the exhibition, Duddell’s Presents: ICA Off-Site: Hong Kongese . The exhibition, which opened earlier this year to coincide with Art...

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This Market Of Mine: Final Reflections On An Art Fair Week Ocula Report This Market Of Mine: Final Reflections On An Art Fair Week Stephanie Bailey, Hong Kong

Art Basel in Hong Kong has been, by all accounts, a success. Of course, no one would have expected anything less from Hong Kong, a city Milton Friedman once held up as a prime example of a “perfect” capitalist society. Perhaps it was this context that made the market a key point of contention at ABHK. It all came to a head on Friday...

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Tseng Kwong Chi In Related Press

Performing for the Camera: Tseng Kwong Chi Related Press Performing for the Camera: Tseng Kwong Chi 17 June 2015, ArtAsiaPacific

Currently on view at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery is a fine, focused retrospective of the works of Tseng Kwong Chi. Tseng’s father, who had fought for the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) during China’s civil war (1946–49), fled with his family to Hong Kong shortly after the Communist victory in 1949. There, Tseng...

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