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JACKY TSAI | ’Sanctuary Skull Lenticular’
June 11th 2021
A decade after the floral make-over of the famous skull, Jacky Tsai continues to reinvent the iconic image. The London-based artist’s early reflections of ‘beauty and decay’ - the underlying theme of the ‘floral skull’ - remains the conceptual approach to his later creations of the skull; some works formed by drawn collages of birds, butterflies and flowers and others by Pop Art imagery such as playing-cards and casino roulette wheels. Inspired by artefacts and historical architecture, Sanctuary Skull Lenticular is a marvel of details, enhanced by the lenticular medium, and one of the most captivating skulls in the young artist’s career.
by Henrik Riis
PRINT EDITION RELEASE
By now, another image of a skull would make most viewers retract and question the frazzled use of the motif by a myriad of contemporary artists in the past decades. Yet, somehow a few artists still have fresh, unique and original concepts to present, shifting the periphery of the associations of what is thought as a conveyor of bad news and mortality. These artists bring a sense of familiarity to the skull, closes the gap of the fear of the unknown and instead bring warm affirmations of closeness and sanctuary.

The ‘Floral Skull’ created by Tsai as an intern at Alexander McQueen in 2008 would come to define one theme of the artist’s future practice. Encouraged by the founder of the British fashion house - also his tutor at Central Saint Martin in London - Tsai visually dismantled McQueen’s simplistic approach of a naturally looking skull and instead rebuilt it by living beauty. The result was a tangled bouquet of blooming flowers and leafy branches with butterflies, birds, and large Cockatoo; a species of parrot with raised feathers on the top of its head, often appearing in Tsai’s works. Later he would refer to the ‘Floral Skull’ as ‘beauty in decay’, the first step of many on his artistic path leading to much more complex cultural dialogues between clashing Eastern and the Western identities.

In the years that followed, Tsai developed his narrative in several directions and regularly returned to the image of the skull. The early print editions, such as Soul Harvest and Vermillion Garden were closely informed by the earliest ‘Floral Skull’, although successive compositions became more and more influenced by the Pop Art movement; a showcase of borrowed modern-day motifs, collaged in bright colours. The Sanctuary Skull created in 2015 would change all that. Tsai had once again re-invented the skull.
JACKY TSAI
Sanctuary Skull (Lenticular), 2017

Edition of 33
6 Artist Proof (APs)

100(w) x 122(h) cm
39.37(w) x 48.23(h) inches
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JACKY TSAI
Sanctuary Skull (Lenticular), 2017

Edition of 33
6 Artist Proof (APs)

100(w) x 122(h) cm
39.37(w) x 48.23(h) inches
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Jacky Tsai (Chinese, b. 1984)
100(w) x 122(h) cm
39.37(w) x 48.23(h) inches
Lenticular.

Signed and numbered label on verso.

To see 3D MOVING IMAGE (6Mb file opens in new window), please click here
Edition of 33
PRICE
$ 7,585.00 Only 1 left at this price
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Find art trends here >
Absent of colour, the monochrome Sanctuary Skull stands out and rests confidently on its own achievement. A wonderland of details using the structural basis of architecture as subject matter, where every little corner reveals interactions between Eastern and Western characters set in a scenery of historic adoration. An image so close to perfection that any notable use of colour would diminish the astonishing landscape.

On a backdrop of the twelve zodiacs in the top, Peter’s Basilica draws in the viewer, leading to the two eyes giving an impression of peak holes: the left into an Eastern temple, and the right to an open court of a Roman place of worship. In between, the throne of King Solomon highlights the outline of the nose, completed by a stained-glass window below. All around, an abundance of Rococo-style flowers and bamboo stems guide to minute and engaging stories performed by Ruben’s angels, Roman sculptures, and ancient relics and column fragments. As much as Tsai bombards the viewer with information, it strangely never becomes overwhelming. The familiarity of it all creates a sense of peace to any viewer and keeps it a visual sanctuary.

After the completion of the Sanctuary Skull for the suite of Clubs, marking the completion of Tsai’s three-year project of creating a full deck of oversized playing cards, the artist revisited the imagery two years later. With the lenticular medium in mind Tsai added some elements of bright block colour to highlight the stained-glass windows, the eyes and a slowly spinning halo. Most importantly, he added depth and perspective. Objects that in the original two-dimensional print were invisible due to the many layers, are suddenly revealed as they move in front and behind each other. Sanctuary Skull Lenticular brings the entire scenery to life.

The Lenticular work shows Tsai’s innovative skills and remarkable talent as a storyteller by bringing contrasting imagery together, whether it is East and West, the modern and the historic - or beauty and decay.
JACKY TSAI
Vermilion Garden, 2013

Edition of 50
94(w) x 95(h) cm
37.01(w) x 37.40(h) inches
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JACKY TSAI
Vermilion Garden, 2013

Edition of 50
94(w) x 95(h) cm
37.01(w) x 37.40(h) inches
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Jacky Tsai (Chinese, b. 1984)
94(w) x 95(h) cm
37.01(w) x 37.40(h) inches
6 colour screenprint with hand torn edges on Somerset Satin 410 gsm paper.

Signed and numbered on front.

Image size: 80 x 80 cm
Edition of 50
Available from a private collection
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Find art trends here >
The genre of Eastern Pop Art created by Jacky Tsai has steadily positioned him as one of Eyestorm’s most popular artists in the past decade. Between 2012 and 2018, the nearly exclusive collaboration led to more than thirty print editions of which Sanctuary Skull Lenticular is one of only three works using a lenticular medium: the other two being Chinese Flora Skull Lenticular (2015) and Artificial Intelligence Lenticular (2018). Sanctuary Skull Lenticular is an edition of 33, signed and numbered by the artist on label on verso.

To read more about Tsai, from the early years of his practice up until today, we recommend reading the article Jacky Tsai | Artistic Practice.

You can find more information about this lenticular edition and see it in further detail, as well as other works by Jacky Tsai, on the artist’s page here.
 
Recommended Reading
Through a systematic study of the physical world, Damien Hirst discovers what a measured input of colour combined with mathematical regularities and randomness look like. Prior to being awarded the Turner Prize in ‘95, Hirst briefly deviated from the perfected grids seen in the famous ‘Spot’ paintings and allowed colour to roam freely on the canvas; intervened only by the laws of physics and thus giving science a voice within the constraints of his purpose-built mechanical device. The result of the journey was dazzling portraits known as ‘Spin’s. Brought to life through layers of inks, Beautiful, Galactic, Exploding Screenprint marks the debut screenprint from the series.
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Carne Griffiths - The Great Escape
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The Great Escape

Opium

Red and Blue

Green Felt Tip Girl

Imaginary Paradise

The Fun One Hundred

Only 2 left at this price
Available from a private collection
Available from a private collection
Available from a private collection
Recommended Reading
Juxtaposing the past and present, and the East and West, Jacky Tsai skilfully and humorously dives into themes of impossible romance, political affairs and other current events. In his practice, the fast-paced, ever-changing world - where few can barely keep up with the rapid development of technology - is embraced rather than feared; continuously exploring how to combine traditional artworks with the latest mediums and their potential. Artificial Intelligence (lenticular) from 2018 shows Tsai’s innovative approach in a work directing the spotlight at machine learning, or AI, and its challenges, years prior to it becoming an everyday tool.
Read more ...
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