3 Hanover Square
This November, Unit London presents ‘Reincarnation’, a solo exhibition of new works by eminent Chinese contemporary artist, Jacky Tsai. Tsai works across a range of mediums including installation, sculpture and fashion. The artist’s largest UK show to date will include over twenty works and a monumental floral leather ‘Skullpture’, hanging in the centre of the gallery. The iconic skull design, originally created by Tsai for Alexander McQueen, has been adapted by the artist into a sculptural form.
Timed for the opening of Asian Art in London (1 - 10 November 2018), Tsai’s practice unites cultural influences from the East and West, fusing a range of motifs on large-scale vibrant canvases. By innovatively blending Chinese craft tradition – lacquer carving, painted porcelain, silk embroidery, and guohua painting – with western pop iconography, the works stimulate new ideas relating to beauty, mortality and identity. Tsai’s imaginative use of perspective and layering create culturally harmonious and aesthetically rich narratives.
New paintings on view at Unit London, include, Shanghai Tang Café (2018) and The Pole Dancer (2018), which maintain Tsai’s unique and instantly recognisable kaleidoscopic graphic style. The works highlight the influence of Western culture on Tsai’s practice, specifically by artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Vibrant superheroes and other western pop imagery are saturated by eastern landscapes, cultural symbols, craft and personal references to Tsai’s own family.
Jacky Tsai’s iconic floral skull, designed for the late British fashion designer Alexander McQueen in 2008, reflects the artist’s engagement with religious and spiritual themes. Tsai’s recurring use of the skull motif challenges the prevailing notions of superstition and fear associated with death in Chinese culture. Blooming from the bones, the flowers, butterflies and bees in Tsai’s ‘Skullptures’, celebrates the beauty in decay. The artist sees “the skull as a symbol of opportunity for new beginnings, rebirth from death”.
Tsai’s diverse works have garnered international acclaim and media coverage. Tsai is the first Chinese artist to be represented by the prestigious Fine Art Society and he has exhibited worldwide with exhibitions at Contemporary by Angela Li in Hong Kong and the Museum of Modern Art Moscow.
Born in Shanghai in 1984, Jacky Tsai is an eminent Chinese pop artist, creating pieces with an inventive approach to traditional materials and craftsmanship across a range of artistic fields. Tsai works to establish balance and harmony between cultural extremes. His original style, featuring references to Western Pop Art combined with eastern artistry re-imagines the concept of beauty to be appreciated by viewers of all cultural heritages. Tsai is perhaps best known as the creator behind British fashion designer Alexander McQueen’s iconic floral skull. The floral skull, illustrating the iconography of the skull with blooms of plants, is the best example of the artist’s vision. Since the debut of his very own fashion label, Tsai has collaborated with high-end department stores such as Harvey Nichols and Lane Crawford. In 2014, Tsai collaborated with the internationally acclaimed Chinese luxury brand Shanghai Tang. Since graduating with a Master’s degree from Central Saint Martin’s, his work has been exhibited worldwide, with key exhibitions in London, New York, Singapore and Hong Kong. Tsai has a leading role in Chinese contemporary Pop Art and he is the first Chinese artist to be represented by the prestigious Fine Art Society, the oldest commercial gallery in the UK. His more recent solo exhibition took place in the Museum of Modern Art Moscow.