Double Square Gallery is delighted to join other 96 galleries from around the world in the second edition of Taipei Dangdai, which takes place at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, Hall 1 and runs from January 17 (Fri.) to 19 (Sun.), 2020. Double Square Gallery showcases four artists from three countries in this exhibition, including Hsu Yunghsu (Taiwan), Chen Wan-Jen (Taiwan), Florian Claar (Germany) and Sunil Gawde (India). Exploring the subject of spirituality in artistic creation, the exhibition is curated based on the relation and dialogue between alchemy and occultism. The objective is to reveal these artists’ unique combination of spirituality and material, and unfold their worldview, cosmic view and outlook on life through media, form, concept or narrative structure while immersing the audience in a sensory experience about the unknown.
In Psychology and Alchemy (1944), the Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung stated that although alchemy was viewed as a science, alchemists saw their practice as a form of artistic creation. In the process of experimentation, whether the combination of materials or the pursuit of innovative ideas and concepts, alchemists were like artists to consistently experiment in their creative process. From their repeated testing, improving skills or exploring the limit of materials, a certain degree of connection and similarity can be found between artists and alchemists in terms of ingeniously converting concepts into creations and creatively responding to the needs of society. Moreover, artists endeavor in refining concepts and values of the external environment into contemporary aesthetic thinking. In light of their “Magnum Opus,” artists and alchemists indeed share the same spirit.
Through their innovative form, aesthetics and thinking in artistic creation, the artists featured in the exhibition have shown multiple possibilities to explore and examine the development of human civilization and art. In Hsu Yung-Hsu’s work, we can observe his quest for challenging the media and presence of the body. Using extensive and labor-intensive procedures, he incorporates variable factors such as the environment, weather and firing in his art-making to conduct experiments and eventually produce pure sculptural installations, breaking new ground in clay sculpture with an unprecedented artistic landscape. Chen Wan-Jen embeds real people he has photographed in a virtual world, and uses digital collage created through an intensively laborious process to transport his audience into a world unbounded by normality. In this world, everything moves constantly without really incurring any changes. As time/space infinitely repeats, the absurd nature of human life and existence is highlighted.
Florian Claar, on the other hand, extracts common elements from the everyday life and combines them with mysterious and multilayered visual symbols. Through such rational yet magical replacement empowered by creativity, his work exudes an air of mystic power and reinforces the sensory and spiritual connection between spectators and his work that transcends materiality. Sunil Gawde excels at transforming conceptual ideas or thoughts into sculpture, in which he employs common everyday objects to convey dialectic, philosophical ideas about life. Juxtaposing Eastern myths, religions and allegories with rational thinking emphasized by the modern society, his work reflects an alternative reality, revealing witty humor and inspired concepts under its surreal visual representation.
• Hsu Yunghsu was born in Kaohsiung in 1955. He received an MFA from the Graduate Institute of Applied Arts, Tainan National University of the Arts in 2007. Hsu’s works have been shown in the US, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Korea and Australia, and his recent exhibitions include A World Made Light at the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts (2019); the 60th Premio Faenza in Italy (2018); and the 15th Swell Sculptural Festival at Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia (2017). In 2018, Hsu became a member of honor of the International Academy of Ceramics, an affiliated partner of UNESCO.
• Chen Wan-Jen was born in Hsinchu in 1982. He graduated from the Department of Fine Art, National Taiwan University of Arts in 2005. He was the recipient of the Grand Prize in the 2006 Taipei Art Awards and was invited to participate in the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York. His works have been shown in New York, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Tokyo, etc. and featured frequently in exhibitions of art museums and art spaces in Taiwan and abroad. A highly anticipated video artist in the contemporary art scene, his works have been included in White Rabbit Gallery in Australia, Hubei Museum of Art in China and Taipei Fine Arts Museum.
• Florian Claar was born in Germany in 1968, and graduated from the Department of Sculpture and Stage Design, the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart in Germany. He now lives in Japan and Germany. Claar launched his artist career of new media art, installation and film in Tokyo in 1994, and was the recipient of the 1st Prize of the Kajima Sculpture Competition (1998) and the 1st Prize of the Benesse Sculpture Competition (2005). He has created numerous public art projects for venues such as Midtown-Project Roppongi in Tokyo; 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa; IFS International Finance Center in Chengdu, China; National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts-Weiwuying, Kaohsiung; and Taichung International Airport.
Sunil Gawde was born in Mumbai, India in 1960. He completed his training in fine art at Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai. In 2009, he was invited to participate in the Venice Biennale; and in 2005, he was awarded the Best Solo Show by the Indian Habitat Centre for Excellence in Art, New Delhi, India. Gawde’s works have been shown in New Delhi, Mumbai, Madrid, Paris, Shanghai, Taipei, Singapore and Beijing, and are included in the collections of India’s National Modern Gallery, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Devi Art Foundation, etc.