The artist's Cyano-Collages replace the traditional ink and brush used in Chinese shan shui paintings—literally, “mountain-water-pictures”—with experimental photography to reinvigorate the traditional landscape language. To create these stunning images, Wu Chi-Tsung prepares cyanotype photographic papers—Xuan paper treated with a photosensitive coating—that are crumpled, exposed to sunlight, and then mounted onto aluminum, creating a spectrum of tonalities. The results are collaged images that resemble the mountainous landscapes often found in Chinese shan shui paintings, but which are produced using a completely contemporary process.
I’ve been dealing with ‘east and west’ as well as ‘past and present’ themes in my art since 2009. I try to melt the boundaries and explore the common ground among those.
Trained from an early age in the practices of Chinese calligraphy, Chinese ink painting, watercolor and drawing, Wu Chi-Tsung worked for many years in a traditional idiom. Following a period spent creating experimental ink paintings, he turned to video, installation, and photography, finding in these new media compelling conceptual stratagems that spurred new and dynamic approaches to making images.
Whenever I conceive a new project in any form, the language of painting is always my archetype.
Wu Chi-Tsung’s Still Life series conceptually translates motifs of traditional cut-branch flower painting into time-based moving images. Describing these works, Wu Chi-Tsung stated that they are inspired, “by a cherished memory of painting; however, the mourning over this lost memory might not be limited to painting only. Some nameless emotions and memories unconsciously and slowly dissipate until, to our surprise, they are far away and cloaked by a white mist, their appearances obscured.”
For the 'Still Life' Series, I initially wanted to translate Ink Art into Video. This intention ultimately affected my entire creative process, and I revisited the link between art, cultural tradition and my own identity.
Light is the foundation of vision and sight... the focus of attention is usually on images because they reflect how humans see, understand, and imagine the world.
Wu Chi-Tsung’s Wire series employs a structure similar to a magic lantern: an early type of image projector that used a light source, pictures printed on transparent plates, and one or more lenses. The automated mechanically controlled equipment repeatedly adjusts the focal length of a camera trained on a single piece of wire mesh. A strong light illuminates the mesh and is directed through a large camera lens that projects a continually evolving image onto the wall. The result is a moving image that suggests an exquisite Chinese landscape. With this work, Wu Chi-Tsung explores how images change the way we see and imagine the outside world.
Chi-Tsung’s immersive installation, Dust, investigates the artist’s deep concern with our relationship to images. A camera, positioned at one end of the darkened gallery, has its lens focused on the light of a projector installed at the opposite end of the room. The camera is focused on the center of the room and sends a live video signal to the projector. Thus, a recording of the reflection of the circulation of dust particles moving about the room are projected on the wall, wavering and glimmering. As viewers progress through the space, disrupting the flow of air, the images of flickering dust change constantly and instantaneously. The emerging and hidden images in Chi-Tsung’s work suggests a new relationship between artist and media, image and viewer.
I always have the feeling that rather than me exhibiting my works around the world, it is my art that is taking me to experience the world, to communicate with people, to open my mind. My art life is a process of self-exploration and self-liberation.
Chow, Vivienne. "Wu Chi-Tsung Is Drawing Global Notice for Revamping Chinese Landscape Painting With Video, Light, and a Big Dose of Chance." Artnet news, November 3, 2021.
Lee, Nicole. "Interview with artist Wu Chi-Tsung, art is never a blank paper." Vogue Taiwan. October 7, 2021.
Chun, Emily. "Wu Chi-Tsung's Cyanotypes Reinvent Chinese Landscape Painting." Ocula, December 15, 2021.
Born in 1981 in Taipei, Wu Chi-Tsung currently lives and works in Taipei, Taiwan and Berlin, Germany. He was the recipient of the Liu Kuo Sung Ink Art Award, Hong Kong and Taiwan, 2019. In addition, he was awarded the WRO Media Art Biennial, 2013 and Taipei Arts Award, 2003. He was short-listed for the Prudential Eye Awards, 2015 and the Artes Mundi, 2006. His work has been included in international exhibitions at institutions such as the Mori Art Museum, Japan; the National Museum Cardiff, United Kingdom; the Long Beach Museum of Art, Los Angeles; the Casino Luxembourg – Forum d’art Contemporain, Luxembourg; the Museo Del Palacio De Bellas Artes, Mexico; the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) Art Museum, Beijing, China; Shanghai Art Museum, China; the Seoul Museum of Art, South Korea; the Minsheng 21st Century Museum, Shanghai, China; the Museum of Contemporary Art Yinchuan, China; the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan; the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing, China and the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan amongst others. His work is included in renowned collections including the Xie Zilong Photography Museum (XPM), the Post Vidai Collection, M+ Hong Kong, the Borusan Contemporary Art Collection, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art