Born in Taipei, 1967, Tsai graduated from the then College of Fine Arts, National Academy of Arts (which later was renamed as National Taiwan University of Arts) in 1990. She quitted from Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Arts de Paris-Cergy in 1993. Tsai’s work was selected and reserved in the category of new ceramic, Taipei County Ceramics Exposition, and also selected in the 23th Taipei Fine Art exhibition in the same year. She also participated in important exhibitions such as Taipei Biennial in 1998. She held individual exhibitions such as, “My Body & Me are alive together”, at Dimension Endowment of Art, Taipei in 1996, and “Dance of the Dotted Line” at Juming Museum in 2008. She receives great attention from the artist community with her outstanding concern of female life experience. She is also an artist-in-residence at places like Hwei Lan International Artists Workshop, and Taipei Artist Village. During the post-martial law period, when the trend of alternative space took off, Tsai was one of the primary promoters. In 1995, she established Shin Leh Yuan Art Space with other artists. This is an important rendezvous between human and artistic concepts, which has undeniable impact on the development of Contemporary Taiwanese Art.
It was in 2007 that I called for all mothers to join my creative project through the Internet. They were invited to write down their thoughts on motherhood on their bodies and then take a photo of it. Using photos sent by volunteering moms, some mirrors and spatial installations, I came up with this artwork that not only proposes the question of “are all mothers alike ?” but also certain answers. As viewers looked into these mothers’ bodies in a given exhibition space, they were encouraged to leave messages and post them on a big black wall, too. It can thus be said that the artwork had been participated/intervened/viewed by multiple authors at various stages. For this latest exhibition in 2014, daughters’ writings will be added.
— TSAI Hai-Ru
Tsai has regarded as one of the pioneers in the Taiwanese artistic movement of feminism for her concern upon female subjectivity and gender experience, which beget in-depth yet implicit connotation. By and large, her works included two tracks that intertwined with one another: one is the gaze upon self, subject, and existential experience, whereas the other is related to the feminine body, and varies of life processes that revolve around it. Artistic creation is thus playing a role of motility in the conversation between her and herself. Taking her work Spoon finished in 1996 for instance, the physical images viewers capture from the surface of spoon that is similar to mirror yet more cragged are thus shifting when perceived from different angle or location. Such arrangement is a metaphor implying the ever-changing relation between subjects and identity.
Identification of gender, for sure is in an ever-changing process corresponding to the change of female identity in different phases, while the self-narration of female would have subtle differences that seemingly is coherent yet broken. During the changing process, there would be struggling, exploration, joy, and condensation. In 2003, Tsai became a mother. The identity as a mom has provided an unusual experience while another subject was growing with the physical self. She attempted to depict this aforementioned process in works such as Two or One? in 2008. From her point of view, the soknown concepts as “daughter,” “mother,” and “wife” seem to be segments or clues along the same continuity of life history, sometimes intertwined, or interacted, while in some other time resonated, or triggered by one another. This view allows Tsai’s work to become a subtle, delicate entity that consists of different media, symbol and context. Tsai often describes her works as some sort of body space, which constantly absorbs, collide with or elaborate on new life experience or reflection along the flow of time. In 2013, her new work Diverge toward Spasm reaches from female experience, onto the memories of “White terror” suppression followed by the incident of 228, and how the masculine violence of the country/ethnic agonize and twist individuals and humanity alike.
|Chinese title：||天下的媽媽都是一樣的? －拾願與形塑|
|English title：||Are All Mothers Alike? – Make a Wish and Shape|
|Medium / Classification：||Mixed Media|
|Contact method for authorization：||
|Related Exhibition：||"The Pioneers" of Taiwanese Artists, 1961-1970|
|Related Work：||Two or One?|