ONLINE EXHIBITION July 2 – August 31, 2022 CHEN Mei-Tsen
Series of oil paintings on canvas, 2012-2017
The idea came to me to ask myself about my place in this migratory world, at a time when the duration of my stay in Paris was going to catch up with that which I spent in Taipei, my hometown. What did I feel during my travels as an urban nomad? The translation of these external trajectories into internal movements has become a kind of initiatory journey in search of identity(ies). The choice to make a series of oil paintings out of it was a risky bet. Because condensing my travel experiences with their shifts in geographical space-time by drawing a few lines and colors allowed me precisely, through the gesture of painting, to rediscover the child that I was, drawing while dreaming of discovering the world.
This series of paintings depicts the city maps I have visited and those where I have stayed. They are my paradise on earth, my organic cocoon, which is constantly changing, both physically and mentally, like the rhizomes. Therefore my Paradise series consists of vascular trees whose tentacles intertwine with city maps like a spider’s web. In the form of a connection of transient circulations, these plant ramifications are irrigated by networks of nourishing vital fluid in perpetual movement which, by their beige, red and purple colors, thus lead to the analogy with a living organism which would weave its nervous system and his bloodstream. We can therefore consider that these cut-aways constitute, in a way, my self-portraits.
The approach of my work is based on a questioning of my conception of the current uncertain and random world. What is my vision as an artist? How does it inspire my creation? How do I identify with countries with such different cultures? The answer to these questions remains largely open. Perhaps am I, in my Paradises, the invisible spider who patiently weaves her web, builds the link while waiting for something to happen and new perspectives to open? Or, on the contrary, am I rather this tiny insect captured by a net which vibrates and is constantly agitated? In either case, there is no doubt that, through their mutations and their exponential evolution, it is the new modes of travel that will transport me to a perplexed and indefinable horizon, that of a world in frenetic expansion.
CHEN Mei-Tsen, January 2018