Superman clashes with Chinese legends in artist Jacky Tsai's fusion of comic books and woodblock prints. The UK-based Chinese artist will present his new body of work, a juxtaposition of Western pop culture and Eastern traditionalism, at his solo show at the Fine Arts Society in London opening October 18th.
Tsai's striking artistic expression blends characters like the Monkey King with iconic superheroes like Wonder Woman and Superman. The 11 Lichtenstein-like lacquer carvings represent Tsai’s ideas about the essence of The Harmonious Society from which the show gets its name—a Chinese government’s vision for the country’s future socioeconomic development based on stability and social cohesion. His ironic artwork pairing Chinese social and political ideology with bright, bold Pop art aesthetics serves as an approproate description of the modern China's conflicting self-identities.
“Jacky has always been interested in the issue of being a Chinese artist based in London,” Sara Terzi, Associate Director of the Fine Art Society and curator of Tsai’s upcoming show, tells The Creators Project. “Jacky's work places classic Western superheroes and Chinese characters drawn from well-known novels in dramatic scenarios. One of the works in the show presents a reversal on Nintendo's popular Pokémon Go game, instead of 'the West' catching an element of Asian pop culture, Chinese characters catch Western superheroes. Jacky plays with opposites and in doing so creates very interesting ironic pictures.”
Tsai’s approach towards using traditional Chinese art techniques, including fusion embroidery and lacquer carving, is impressive and gives a clear understanding of his willingness to preserve the sacred disappearing craftsmanship. "For Jacky, it is important that he expresses himself and keeps alive part of his culture," concludes Terzi. Check out more of The Harmonious Society in the images below: