Lai Chih-Sheng

Lai Chih-Sheng|Courtesy of the Artist

Delicate interventions in space and the landscape – a pulled thread, a hole gathering droplets of water, a tree emerging from the walls. Lai Chih-Sheng (b. 1971, Taiwan) pursues a practice that plays with tension, the everyday and personal encounters across multiple mediums in particular installation and sculpture. There is a playful minimalism in the way he observes detail and creates relationships between different parts of a room, engaging the viewer’s sense of body and presence. During the 1990s Lai Chih-Sheng was a member of the conceptual art group National Oxygen, presenting his early work in disused structures around the periphery of Taipei, which often involved seemingly futile labour. As such, there are certain pervading traits throughout his work: an affinity to environment and space, a sense of expanse, a lyrical delicacy that engages our curiosity.

Interested in self-reflexivity and how it applies to the tradition of conceptual art, Lai Chih-Sheng engages with a practice that is aware of its own ‘artificiality’ or absurdity. He consciously creates atypical realities within everyday circumstances that have a site-specific quality. In line with this consciousness of absurdity or atypicality, he explores minute perceptions. Lai Chih-Sheng also draws on his personal experience of working for 13 years as a professional bricklayer, using this as a foundation to comment on labour and consumption. As such, Lai strives to remove all vestiges of self-expression from his work, even going so far as transferring the responsibility for its completion onto his audience or the workers who install the exhibition.

Consider, for example, ‘Drifting Sandbar’ (2018) presented at the 2nd Great Taipei Biennial of Contemporary Art. A range of metallic cords stretch and string across the room, creating interventions in the space that at once delicately fill it but also make its emptiness all the more palpable. A raised plank of the same glossy grey colour as the floor acts as the anchor for the strings and a portal for visitors to walk down and engage. This act of tracing space also appears, albeit in a different way, in the earlier work ‘Life-Size Drawing’ (2012) presented at the Hayward Gallery, London in which single lines were drawn around the architecture of the space – delicate outlines, linear in form, but comparatively invisible to the naked eye. A drawing or painting action that relied heavily on labour, there is a pointing to futility while also honouring the textures of space.

Further interventions include Border (2013), recreated and presented at the Lyon Biennial in 2015 and Aichi in 2016, in which visitors edge along a narrow path suspended from the venue’s walls above a centerpiece of discarded materials left behind by exhibition installers. Taking to a stage in which one simultaneously observes and is observed, the mind is engaged as one is conscious of the generated waste but equally our bodies respond to the tight elevated walkway one has been granted by comparison to the below expanse of detritus. A sense of space and distortion is equally achieved in ‘Scene’ (2015) in which the ceiling is lowered so it hovers right above visitors heads, as if entering a darkened yet luminous cave.

Ultimately, Lai Chih-Sheng prompts us to pay that little more attention to our surroundings, to what we contribute and how, engaging with our contexts, the peculiarities of space and the present. Through his subtle and delicate interventions and alterations, he points to the correlation between magnanimity and impact, demonstrating the weight and value of the subtle and minimal.

Lai Chih-Sheng has exhibited internationally including solo exhibitions at Observations Society, Guangzhou (2018), Eslite Gallery, Taipei (2015) and participated in group exhibitions at Aichi Triennale (2016), Lyon Biennial (2015), OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen (2014) and Hayward Gallery (2012).

2003 M.F.A., Graduate Institute of Plastic Arts, Tainan National University of the Arts, Tainan, Taiwan
1996 B.F.A., Department of Fine Art, Taipei National University of the Arts, Taipei, Taiwan

|Selected Solo Exhibitions|
2020 "Linger", ALIEN Art Centre, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
2020 "Closer", Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
2019 “Besides,”, Kirishima Open Air Museum, Kagoshima, Japan
“Still Life”, Gaiart, Taipei, Taiwan
2018 “Canton Flower Bridge”, Observation Society, Guangzhou, China
2017 “Between Dog and Wolf”, ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
2015 “At" Lai Chih-Sheng & Lee Kit, Project Fulfill Art Space, Taipei, Taiwan
“Scene”, ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
“Room1734”, Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France
2013 “Lai Chih-Sheng: Instant”, Project One, Hong Kong
“Instant”, IT PARK, Taipei, Taiwan
2011 “An Exception to Reality: Lai Chih-Sheng”, ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
2005 “1996 – 2005 Someday, Something and Someone”, IT PARK, Taipei, Taiwan
2004 “Reality in the Sky”, Domicile, Taipei, Taiwan
2001 “Combined”, Paint House, Tainan, Taiwan

|Selected Group Exhibitions|
2020 “To Martian Anthropologists", New Taipei City Arts Center, Taipei, Taiwan
2019 “Healthier, simpler, wiser.”, Edouard Malingue Gallery, Shanghai, China

“close”, Crane Gallery, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
“Folded Veil”, Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong
“Art of Absence", ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
"This is very simple. Who wouldn't be able to do it?", EXPO Dome, Taipei, Taiwan
2018 “Daily" The 2th Greater Taipei Biennial of Contemporary Arts, NTUA, Taipei, Taiwan
“Sui Generis" Jing-Pai of Taiwan, IT PARK, Taipei, Taiwan
“Video On the Phone", Hong Gah Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
2017 “Kau-Puê, Mutual Companionship in Near Future” Soulangh International Contemporary Art Festival 2017, Soulangh Cultural Park, Tainan, Taiwan
2016 “If it be your will, that I speak no more", ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
“Aichi Triennale 2016_Homo Faber: A Rainbow Caravan", Aichi Arts Center, Nagoya City Art Museum, Aichi, Japan

“Delayed", NHCUE ART SPACE, Hsinchu, Taiwan
“Untitled", ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
“NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE", NO SHOW MUSEUM, North America Tour – In 80 Days Across America
“Utopias and Heterotopias" The First Wuzhen International Contemporary Art Exhibition, Zhejiang, China
“SILK ROAD INTERNATIONAL" AMNUA Internatinal Project II, AMNUA, Nanjing, China
2015 “The 13th Biennale de Lyon: La vie Moderne”, Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon, France
“Alice’s Rabbit Hole–Everyday Life, Comprehensible and Incomprehensible", Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
“Abstract on-site”, ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
“A Hundred Years of Shame- Songs of Resistance and Scenarios for Chinese Nations", Para Site, Hong Kong, China
2014 “The Pioneers of Taiwanese Artists, 1971-1980", National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan
“The 8th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, 2014_We have never participated”,Shenzhen OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, China
“Margin Archive & Film Fest”, ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan

“Bloom" Eslite Gallery 25th Anniversary Exhibition, ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
“YES, TAIWAN - 2014 Taiwan Biennial", National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan
“Art for Oneself", Tina Keng Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
“Transcoding: The Geography of Digital Images", National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan
2013 “Mind on Forms”, Mobile Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
“Asia Cruise—Evidence”, Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei, Taiwan
“Drawing·Expression and Limit”, AMNUA, Nanjing, China
2012 “Invisible: Art of the Unseen 1957—2012”, Hayward Gallery, London, United Kingdom
2011 “2nd Chongqing Biennale for Young Artists”, Sichuan, China
“The 2011 Material Language—Soil”, Juming Museum, Taiwan
2010 “Micro-Image”, Ping Pong Art Space, Paint House, Taipei, Tainan, Taiwan
2008 “Ctrl Z”, inFIDI space, Taipei, Taiwan
2006 “A Realm with No Coordinates”, 1a Space, Hong Kong; NTUE Nan Hai Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan; NUTN Artistic Special Zone, Tainan, Taiwan
2005 “Every Time”, Nanhai Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
2003 “Taipei Arts Award”, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
2002 “First Tainan Biennial”, Tainan Municipal Cultural Center, Tainan, Taiwan
"CO2", Huashan Culture Park, Taiwan
2001 “Cross-cultural Project in Asia”, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia / Taipei, Chiayi,Taiwan / Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, China
“First Taiwan Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition”, Huashan Culture Park, Taiwan
1999 “Nation Oxygen Group Exhibition Part I”, Bali Abandoned House, Taipei, Taiwan
“Nation Oxygen Group Exhibition Part II”, Shin Leh Yuan Art Space, Taipei, Taiwan
“Island, Penghu, Nation Oxygen”, Penghu Islands, Taiwan
1996 “Experiment, Interaction”, Shanchi Abandoned Factory, Taipei, Taiwan

2014 Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France

|Program & Participation|
2016 saT CHAT presents: Lai Chih-Sheng “Life-Size Drawing”, Stanley Picker Gallery, London, United Kingdom
2016 Work: Water Event, YOKO ONO Lumière de L’aube at MAC Lyon, Lyon, France
2016 KANNO So+yang02 Work: "Asemic Languages", Aichi Triennale 2016, Aichi Arts Center, Aichi, Japan

|Art Fair|
2018 “DREAM VIDEO 100” West Bund Art & Design, Shanghai, China
2016 “Film” Art Basel HK, Hong Kong, China

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