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JACKY TSAI | NEW ORIGINAL WORKS FOR NYC SOLO SHOW

September 23rd 2016
‘Culture Clash’ is Jacky Tsai’s much anticipated solo exhibition in New York. Read more about what to expect of this exhibition in one of Manhattan’s most artistic neighbourhoods.

Over the past six months, Jacky Tsai has been working hard to prepare new work for his first solo show in New York. Taking place in the Bowery district of Manhattan between September 22nd and October 2nd, the exhibition, hosted by Eyestorm, will include six brand new unique pieces which will be displayed alongside limited edition screenprints, three of which were created especially for the show, including the newly released Culture Clash, which shares its name with the title of the exhibition.

Of the six new unique works, three are lacquer carvings - a traditional Chinese craft technique which dates back to 1600 BC. A highly artistic process, the lacquer is carved by hand using traditional carving knives with varying thicknesses of blades to create Tsai’s intricately collaged imagery. The colours are then carefully mixed, also by hand, to give a range of tones and opaque to high-gloss sheens. Impressively large in scale, the largest of these works is 180 x 107cm / 71” x 42”.

In two of the new lacquer carvings, Tsai continues to use superheroes to represent powerful forces in eastern and western culture. The Cliffs shows a struggling Batman, Wonder Woman and Captain America who appear to be defending themselves from a Chinese emperor as they fly through the air, surrounded by Chinese-style landscape. In The Hangover, a smiling superman appears to be relaxing post-party in a hotel room, surrounded by prostitutes, empty wine bottles and leftover fast food. In contrast The Last Chinese Tiger has a more serious narrative as Tsai brings our attention to an endangered species which has walked earth for over 2 million years. In the piece, a lone white tiger - presumably the last tiger alive - sleeps as Western characters appear to be protecting her from Eastern fighters with weapons. With less than 3,200 wild tigers left on the planet, many of which live in far flung corners of Asia, there are wheels in motion to protect this iconic creature from distinction, and a percentage from the sale of this piece will go to the Save Wild Tigers charity, which is close to Tsai’s heart.

In addition to the lacquer works there is an impressive embroidery piece, a work made entirely of painted porcelain and an acrylic painting on canvas. The Suxiu embroidery, titled Hyperreal Embrace, features an astronaut holding a mermaid in rich red and orange hues against beautifully illustrated backdrop scenery. Both subjects look content as they float in mid-air - or perhaps underwater - as they grasp each other fondly. This is a spectacular piece that took three months to produce, with intricate areas of the silk satin sewn in the Suxiu style, the most celebrated and oldest form of Chinese embroidery praised for its use of the finest threads, balanced compositions, dense stitching and smooth finish.

Plum Play is made from hand-painted porcelain, a traditional Chinese craft developed in the 7th or 8th century. A circular piece, it shows Storm Troopers - from the American film series Star Wars - who appear to be fishing. A mermaid holds on to their lines; whether they have caught her or she’s jeopardising their plan can be for the viewer to interpret themselves; something Tsai very much welcomes with his work.

The final unique piece is a painting on canvas titled The Queen of Hong Kong. In a very linear graphic style, Tsai uses symbols and simple illustrations representing various scenes of everyday life in Hong Kong to form the overall image of the profile of Queen Elizabeth II, suggesting the fusion of eastern and western existence. Originally used as the main image on a screenprint which saw Tsai create a series of ‘stamps’ in an edition of 33, each with a different number printed on it, this is the original acrylic on canvas version. For this reason, this beautifully finished painting, framed in a black tray frame for exhibiting, is quite a discovery for any collector of Tsai’s work.

Jacky Tsai | ‘Culture Clash’ takes place at 208 Bowery, 10012 New York, Sept 22nd- Oct 2nd 2016. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11:00am - 6:00pm.

See the works in more detail, along with Tsai’s limited editions here.
ANGIE DAVEY
Creative Director
JACKY TSAI
 
JACKY TSAI
Plum Play
 
JACKY TSAI
The Hangover
 
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