A child baptising the mother, an octopus with a passport number printed on it and a stunted Bonsai tree surrounded by love songs are some of the quirky, off-beat photographs that you can discover at Taiwanese artist Charwei Tsai's solo ongoing exhibition, titled Thoughtforms
Taiwanese artist Charwei Tsai believes in the adage, 'A picture is worth a thousand words'. That's why the 31 year-old chose photography as the medium to unleash her thoughts and give it a form. Through her solo exhibition -- Thoughtforms -- Tsai expresses her views on topics that are close to her heart though in a subtle form with a hidden subtext.
Tsai writes Kafka's quote on her hand, "Germany has declared war on
Russia. Swimming in the afternoon" indicating how life goes on even
during turbulent times
At The Guild art gallery, a browse through her collection of 17 prints and three videos offers a unique look at disparate topics ranging from socio-political concerns to religious bigotry. Tsai explains that the mixed media works or "thoughtforms" are a visual manifestation of the mind's energy that manifests itself through mantras and philosophy.
The Bonsai series juxtaposes the manipulation of the bonsai tree with
the machinations of love
"I grew up in Taiwan and was heavily inspired by the Buddhist idea of impermanence and the cyclical nature of existence. These artworks give life to my thoughts and make them living forces with a certain structure," says Tsai. Her art is also inspired by the psychology that equates emptiness with enlightenment.
Her themes are varied and include politics with reference to alienation, ceremonies with reference to reversal cycles, religion in conjunction with harmony in diversity, society and it's effect on individuals with reference to Kafka and love and its synonymous nature with loneliness and manipulation.
Veeranganakumari Solanki, curator of the exhibition, observes that Tsai's art is important because it makes a subtle statement. "They are meditative works of art and will resonate across cultures. At the same time, the concepts are open ended and can be interpreted as per the individual," she observes.
The arresting artworks from the collection includes the video titled Baptism, which depicts a reverse baptism ceremony performed where a child cleanses her mother's hands at a Baptismal font at a church in Paris. "It's the purity of the child that I wanted to highlight as its untainted by the vices possessed by adults. Hence, the child should be baptising the mother," adds Tsai.
The artist's personal favourite is Etrangere II, a hand-inscribed photograph where the numbers from her Taiwanese passport are written on an alien-like octopus. She admits that the alienation she experiences while travelling inspired this image.
Heartbroken lovers will find solace in her Bonsai series of hand-inscribed lithographs. The image is etched with lyrics of love songs that Tsai grew up listening to, in Taiwan. The gifted artist admits that she was highlighting the machinations of love through the bonsai trees that are manipulated and dwarfed for a sense of beauty.
Her political concerns find reflection in Kafka -- Diary, 1914, a video depicting how we encounter things that make us feel strongly about the injustice happening around us but our daily life continues unaffected. Tsai works in Taipei and Paris and also publishes and edits Lovely Daze, a curatorial journal published twice a year.
Till: November 2
At: The Guild, Colaba.