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NEW JACKY TSAI PRINT RELEASE | 'CULTURE CLASH'

September 10th 2016
Culture Clash is the first of the new and exclusive limited edition screenprints by Chinese artist Jacky Tsai for autumn 2016. Read the story behind the work below.

September and October will be busy months for Jacky Tsai. Eyestorm are to host his first New York solo show, which takes place in Bowery from September 22nd, and this will be followed by a London solo show in October. At the New York exhibition, alongside original works such as lacquer carvings, painting and embroidery and porcelain works will be a selection of limited edition screenprints, including three brand new Eyestorm editions, the first of which we’re releasing today.

Entitled Culture Clash - sharing its name with the title of the NYC exhibition - the stunning large scale edition of 60 sees Tsai continue to reference eastern and western cultures through iconic imagery and astute symbolism in his signature Pop Art style. As with his popular 2015 edition The Affair to the East, the energetic and vibrant Culture Clash features superheroes in mass conflict. Speaking about the work, Tsai explained that these key characters are representative of literary symbols in eastern and western cultural power that reflect two different ideologies. Fighting for cultural dominance, their speculative weapons are intended to symbolise the words, languages, definitions, voices, religions, and beliefs of both cultures.

Key characters in the work can be recognised as the Monkey King and pig man Zhu Bajie from classical Chinese novel ‘Journey to the West’, a story about the pilgrimage of the Tang Dynasty Buddhist monk Xuanzang who travelled to western regions to obtain Buddhist sacred texts, returning after much suffering. In the story, the Monkey King - a.k.a. Sun Wukong - is the eldest and strongest of Xuanzang’s three followers and protectors. Before he was assigned to Xuanzang he was a monkey born from a stone that acquired supernatural powers through Taoist practices, and is seen as an iconic symbol of rebellious spirit in historical Chinese literature. Zhu Bajie, seen here in the centre of the piece attacking a western female character in the water, is the second eldest follower and protector of Xuanzang. Half pig and half human monster, he is ugly, lazy and greedy; a sexual predator he is often getting into trouble.

Other Chinese characters include the men in blue with red shoes, who are typically dressed heroes from another great classical novel ‘Water Margin’, and the flying Apsaras, the female spirits of the clouds and waters in Buddhist mythology. Often depicted as flying figures in Buddhist cave art, they represent the softness and mellowness in Chinese visual arts and Buddhism, with their power coming from peaceful aesthetics such as music, dance, beauty and holiness. Tsai uses them in this piece to indicate the diversity and magnitude of Chinese culture.

Something else to note about Culture Clash is that the majority of the western characters appear to be female 1940s style pin-up girls, some with guns riding one of the many US fighter planes that feature in the piece, and some being captured or rescued.

Culture Clash is intended to be an introduction to the ‘East Meets West’ series that Tsai has been working on for the past two years, showcasing the strong contradictions in eastern and western beliefs, history and culture. By creating a war scenario complete with crashes and explosions, Jacky Tsai seeks to represent an overall context in this piece, gathering famous figures from different stories together, along with the symbolic significance they each carry with them, and integrating them into a contradictory while visually harmonious scenario.

Screenprinted beautifully at Coriander Studio, who have worked with some of the most successful artists in the UK over their 43 year existence, the stunning 20 colour screenprint includes metallic inks and a hand torn edge.

Culture Clash is available from today for £1680.00 - and you can see the print edition in more detail here.
ANGIE DAVEY
Creative Director
JACKY TSAI
Culture Clash
 
 
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