Hints about Human Alienation and Spirituality- Caged by WU Hsi-chi

Powen Gallery
Sep 14, 2019 7:32AM

Written by Wu, Shu-Ann

Taking a panoramic view of western philosophy after the Industrial Revolution, we have seen various hints about the inclined incompetence of humans in modern times. From labor alienation, cultural industry to the society of the spectacle, human society has embraced speed and convenience due to technology and media. However, at the same time, humans have fundamentally lost their natural abilities and spirit. Long before “the Cage of the Human World” painted with oil pastels, artist WU Hsi-chi had spent 15 years developing a series of brilliant abstract oil on canvas works. However, in one occasional opportunity, the artist started to use crayons which connect to his painting memories in childhood, letting him find purer and more innocent creation experience. On the one hand, this shows that the artist started to examine himself at the age of 50, and on the other hand, this is the brand-new development of painting language. WU Hsi-chi also hides his observation of the society, and his reflection upon the contemporary society and humanity even in his abstract paintings. However, his concrete paintings which directly depict society and humanity are another totally different attempt. Thick oil pastels repeatedly rubbing against paper retain dense lines showing the artist’s emotions on the texture of the paper. Magic compositions present the thought of the artist, and at the same time, they are a warning of the existing state of humans, which serves as the pictures of life fables.

We will never forget about the long tradition of fable paintings which not only are the spiritual expression of the artist but also convey information to people with an obscure yet aesthetic approach, attempting to recall any possible reflection and inspiration to each subject. What numerous lines interweave in “the Cage of the Human World” are not only the manifestation of emotions, but also the reappearance of pictures that change humanity as the world becomes informationalized due to the prevalence of smartphones, community networks, and other technology. Although the paintings have rich and lively styles, their steady colors lead us to a more profound language atmosphere in which lines link everything in pictures like the Internet and servers. However, characters and scenery in the pictures are controlled by these lines, so they can merely look at the audience with their intangible expressions. Although we try our best to safeguard the independence and spirituality of humans, are the paintings of WU Hsi-chi not exactly the genuine description of our contemporary life when we view the world with our eyes? WU Hsi-chi’s silent paintings show that his questions are stronger and more urgent. However, if our daily life has been tied up by numerous digital codes, reflecting upon the reality through art creation is undoubtedly an attempt on researching for an exit from the angle of aesthetics.

In addition to art creation, WU Hsi-chi has been studying life philosophy to respond to his experience of growing up by Jinguashi Coast, and thus, he pays more attention to the original Nature and humanity. It is not difficult for us to imagine that he strongly feels social transformation is worth reflection due to his background. Therefore, we more thoroughly comprehend the possible potential of art today, and the unique aesthetic value accompanying the artist’s art creation.

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