Tina Keng Gallery participates in Art Basel • June 2024

Congratulations to The Tina Keng Gallery for being the first Taiwanese gallery to be participating in Art Basel!

Via Tina Keng Gallery:

As the very first in Taiwan to enter the Galleries sector of Art Basel in Basel, Tina Keng Gallery presents a meticulously curated project that spans Chinese modern and contemporary art, from early 20th-century modernist pioneer Yun Gee to contemporary master Su Xiaobai. This project is also a tribute to East Asian aesthetics encapsulated by the work of Cambodian artist Sopheap Pich. Exploring the spirit of the times, material experimentation, and different thematic focuses across a century, the project reveals the core of Eastern aesthetics, which emphasizes materiality, spiritual introspection, and the construct of “imagery beyond representation.” This presentation highlights a multilayered Asian cultural identity that Tina Keng Gallery has endeavored to cultivate and promote, offering Western audiences a more nuanced understanding of Eastern aesthetic philosophy and contemporary artistic thought.

Zhuangzi’s Dream of the Butterfly: An Extramundane Manifestation of Asian Aesthetics
As a pioneering figure in overseas Chinese artists, modernist painter Yun Gee (1906–1963) immersed himself in various avant-garde Western art theories in the early 20th century, while infusing his own experiences with Eastern philosophy. By merging the compositional elements of traditional Chinese painting with the literati qualities that accentuate poetic imagery, Yun Gee ultimately refined his painting expression into a multifaceted prism, reflecting spiritual narratives and underlying emotions. This gave rise to his theory of Diamondism, which combines form, color, and inner perception, establishing a significant trajectory in Chinese modern art.

The Düsseldorf-based abstract artist Su Xiaobai (b. 1949) creates a visual vocabulary with traditional mediums — oil paint, lacquer, and linen — which embody Eastern history, tinged with wabi-sabi aesthetics. His work emanates a sense of time, with the texture of lacquer exuding a warm luster. The sensuous and rounded edges, the weathered and cracked surfaces, all speak of a unity of humanity and nature, transforming the dialogue between traditional craftsmanship and contemporary art into a transcultural experience.

For Cambodian artist Sopheap Pich (b. 1971), nature and memory serve as profound sources of creative inspiration, allowing him to deepen his connection with traditional culture. Through the use of natural materials from Cambodian everyday life, from bamboo, rattan, burlap, mineral pigments, to metals, rendered with traditional weaving techniques, he imbues concrete forms with solidity and ethereal qualities within an abstract composition. A sultry atmosphere of the tropical forest permeates his sculptures, transporting the viewer to an ancient terrain of cultural memory, where whispers of bamboo and rattan echo and linger.

Through the diverse works of these three artists, Tina Keng Gallery’s presentation at Art Basel in Basel pivots on the famous thought experiment “Zhuangzi’s Dream of the Butterfly,” from Zhuangzi’s philosophical classic “On the Equality of Things.” His idea explores the relationship between dream and reality, leading to philosophical inquiries that span cognitive deconstruction and the transformation between self and the external world through phenomenological contemplation. The Zhuangzi-inspired project unveils the core of Eastern aesthetics, which revolves around materiality, spiritual introspection, and the construct of “imagery beyond representation” through an artistic language that bridges spirituality, cultural experience, and memory.

Venue|Messe Basel
Galleries Sector Booth|E14

The Participating Artists|Yun Gee, Su Xiaobai, Sopheap Pich
Unlimited Sector Booth|U59

The Participating Artist|Wu Tien-Chang