Chen Chun-Hao's Once Upon an Otherworldly Realm at Tina Keng Gallery features a new series of the artist's famous mosquito nail paintings. Using a nail gun, Chen emulates classical Chinese ink paintings.
Driven into the canvas, every pin embodies the manual labor in art making, while translating the idea of emulation into a contemporary aesthetic. In other words, his work not only resonates with Chinese classical sensibilities in the undulating array of industrial pins on canvas, but also seeks the possibility of transcendence within the framework of the original. Tens of thousands of tiny pins protrude from the canvas, creating an optical illusion that makes the landscape appear afloat through an interplay of light and shadow, imbuing the idyllic terrain with a three-dimensionality that transports the viewer to a bygone place of serenity.
This exhibition is composed of three series “Spherical Heavens,” “Flat Earth,” and “Transcendence.” Consisting of large-scale emulations of late Ming-dynasty painter Wu Bin’s work, “Transcendence” is a tribute to Wu Bin and his “fantastic and extraordinary” paintings, a praise by later generations that has inspired the title of the series. In the “Spherical Heavens” and “Flat Earth” series, the shape of the works echoes the antique concept of “spherical heavens and flat earth” in Chinese philosophy, conveying the traditional aesthetic ideal that everything falls into place when man follows laws of nature and self-discipline.