TSOU Hsiang Hsiang Solo Exhibition
TSOU Hsiang Hsiang Solo Exhibition
Project Fulfill Art Space is pleased to present Holiday Plaza – Tsou Hsiang Hsiang Solo Exhibition opening this April. Tsou is currently a Masters student at Tainan National University of the Arts, Institute of Plastic Arts. This exhibition will showcase nine works from her Yonder series from 2016-2017, exploring Taiwan’s unique cultural memories through her serenely alluring scenes. The opening reception will be on Saturday 14 April at 4pm, and an artist talk at 3pm, with special guest Chang Li-Hao in conversation with the artist.
Tsou Hsiang Hsiang’s series Yonder explores the new craze for Western architectural style that had swept Taiwan since the rapid economic growth during the latter half of the twentieth century. Ornate decorations produced from decontextualized grafts of styles and elements from different periods enjoyed widespread popularity. The façades of buildings consequentially became pale imitations of Western architecture. Such a hybridized taste not only came into vogue, but also blended with Taiwanese culture and customs. This variant architectural style comprised of heterogeneous elements has over the course of time, become a spectacle unique to Taiwan.
From a contemporary perspective, the result of such blind pursuit of Western style might be close to kitsch. No sooner did the popularity of this hybridized taste wane, that it retreated into the periphery. For the generation that happened to come of age in this time period and bore witness to its development, these imitations seemed to be engraved in our memories. It may even be highly possible that they served as the initial models of 'exoticism' that we first encountered. A curious paradox emerged as a result: these distorted, alienated variants are more intimately recognizable to us than their originals in foreign lands. As the original images began to blur with continuous reproduction and modification, these imitations have been superimposed on our understanding of the environment in which we live. Rather than evoking foreign scenery, they instead trigger associations with local 'Taiwanese' cultural memory.
A sense of familiarity has been derived from such ‘Taiwanese exoticism’, although it runs against the idea of modernization, far from being rejected its infiltration into our everyday lives creates an emotional connection, rendering both recognition or criticism secondary. We may wonder whether this form of ‘Taiwanese exoticism’ has been automatically embedded into the memories of our environment. The alteration of meaning through the distortion of the originals during reproduction, the distortion caused by the use of different mediums, and the distortion of material value over the course of history, seems to create a peculiar sense of aesthetic beauty. As the meanings are peeled off layer by layer and begin to dissolve, they seem to bring a new order to this resonating atmosphere.
Painting is by no means simply an issue of representation. Treating the whole series as a unity, Tsou rearranged the compositions from different perspectives, deliberately keeping the brushstrokes in a flowing state displaying a sketch-like quality of instantaneity. The originally uncomfortable hybridization thus conveys a new sense of harmony, which echoes Tsou’s concept of a ‘natural state’, where serendipitous encounters allow us to see our environment without presupposition. In this sense, Tsou’s work explores the transformation of our perceived spaces, where real spaces converge with our internal memories, creating a true impression of the places we live.