The development of digital technology has changed the lives of every human being on this planet since the 1990s: Popular media is taking over our lives and social media has become a part of everyday life. However, while technology may make life easier and more efficient, our life has also become an open book and our thoughts, feelings, even actions are being shaped and invaded.
Hsi-chi Wu's pure and touching artwork has always focused on "human life". Even in his earlier abstract series, he explored society and humanity with colors and shapes. After retreating to the natural environment of mountains and seas, he further established his unique artistic vocabulary which directly depicts people's behavior and the external environment.
"Stuck in Virtual Reality" conveys the core idea of Wu's earlier work, which portrays his concern of the struggle between humanity and the natural environment, oscillating between the two. With his strong and sensitive consciousness for the world, Wu's worry for the whole world and his observation of the society are disassembled into lines, representing the largest cage of the human soul.
The natural landscapes, such as the vast sky, sea and mountains are disassembled into lines; they seem to be invisible technological signals that surround people and sceneries' lives and even freedom. When people are stuck in intense sensory and virtual experiences of technology, the silent sceneries and dulled eyes voice the thoughts of those spirits that gradually feel empty. We can see the transformation of Wu's spiritual thinking after his inner observation and self-exploration from these rich and colorful pastel paintings. Compared to his earlier work, "Stuck in Virtual Reality" showcases works with different layers and dimensional spaces, which provides viewers a never seen perspective and challenges our first impressions of sceneries. In his magical but topsy-turvy world, not only is it a virtual life generated in this computer-age, but also our everyday reality depicted by the spiritual expression of the artist.
Compared to immense mother nature, human beings are tiny. Technological innovation seems to strengthen humans, but gradually, it causes us to drift apart from nature. Wu hides his reflection behind the contemporary society in his paintings and attempts to recall a possible echo with his unique language. As art critic Shu-Ann Wu once said, “Wu Hsi-chi’s silent paintings show that his questions are stronger and more urgent. However, if our daily life is tied up by numerous digital codes, the reality reflected through art creation is undoubtedly an attempt to search for an exit from the angle of aesthetics.”