The Tina Keng Gallery is pleased to present Chen Chun-Hao: Once Upon an Otherworldly Realm, the first solo exhibition of the artist in three years. Chen is known for his mosquito nail painting that emulates ancient landscape with small headless pins, a modern industry product, to conjure a visual effect that reinterprets Chinese ink painting. This exhibition is comprised of his classical “Transcendence,” as well as the latest “Spherical Heavens” and “Flat Earth” series.
Having adopted the nail gun as his paintbrush since 2009, Chen has cultivated a unique style in the contemporary Taiwanese ink genre. At the mention of “mosquito nail painting,” it almost immediately brings to mind the name of Chen Chun-Hao. The artist substitutes traditional brush and ink with headless pins and a nail gun in his emulation of Chinese classical 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.
Born in 1971 in Nantou, Taiwan, Chen Chun-Hao received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Taipei National University of the Arts (1996), and a master’s degree in plastic arts from the National Tainan University of the Arts (1998). He also participated in a residency program at the Headland Center for the Arts in California, US in 2002. The artist has exhibited extensively, including Reclaiming the Lost Territories,Tina Keng Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan (2014);The Way of Nailing, VT Art Salon, Taipei, Taiwan (2010); Maze, VT Art Salon, Taipei, Taiwan (2007);Flower Tent, Taitung Artist Village, Taitung, Taiwan (2006); Aura Beyond III, Huashan Arts District, Taipei, Taiwan (2002);Aura Beyond II, Stock 20, Taichung, Taiwan (2002); andAura Beyond, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan (2001).