The Tina Keng Gallery is pleased to present Eight Days a Week — Yao Jui-chung Solo Exhibition, on view from February 18 to March 16, 2017. Grounded in the unique landscape style that Yao has developed from emulating traditional shanshui, this exhibition comprises an array of old and new works enlivened by cartoon elements, as well as literary and art eccentrics, embodying how the artist’s practice undulates through time. At the turn of the year it is perhaps time to look back and redefine certain personal experiences. Immersed in a new reality where he has become a father of two daughters in his mid-forties, Yao Jui-chung has found new objects and remnants of memories as the subject matter for his painting, allowing his perceptive and radical style to evolve with more daily experiences as the backbone of his rebellious art practice.
The exhibition is inspired by the keen contrast between the artist’s past and present. As a loving father who spent years watching over his little girls, Yao yearns for the art friends who kept him company in his youthful days. In his latest “Baby” series, many popular cartoon characters and patterns abound. They either decorate the painting frame, or enshroud the Yao-style landscape in the painting, revealing the inevitable fact that Yao’s life as a father of two has been completely overwhelmed by this consumer culture.
Seeking consolation, Yao painted Eight Days a Week, a polyptych work that incorporates some of the art friends from his past: from the comrades with whom he co-wrote and co-edited the book Taipei 100, to the anarchists with whom he roamed the ruins, from the risk-taking artists who wrestled with him on the mahjong table during their “New Year’s Day Cup,” to the middle-aged guys who were obsessed with hot springs. Many of these people have become the power players in the Taiwanese art and literary circles. Hence, viewing the painting up close brings a sense of fun and familiarity.
This exhibition is a reflection of two identities: the striving artist from the past who walked the lonely road of art making, and the father he has become today, who adores his children just like many other fathers in the world. Switching between these two roles, Yao Jui-chung segues from scattered, whimsical thoughts of an artist to a universal sentiment that resonates with the times. It is in this creative process that he has honed his artistic language with finesse.