Tishan Hsu’s Art Preceded Internet Aesthetics by Decades. Now, His Prescient Work Is Finally Getting Its Due, Louise Benson, δημοσίευση στο Artnet News [22/3/2023]
A digitally native generation has become captivated by the New York artist, who is in his 70s.
Tishan Hsu is an artist in search of his own vision of the future. His creative journey has unfolded over almost five decades as Hsu has refined and honed his visceral interrogation of the collapse between human and machine. Yet, following a handful of solo shows staged in New York during the 1980s, including one with famed dealer Leo Castelli, for over 30 years Hsu rarely exhibited his work publicly at all. Instead, he chose to privately focus on his relentless quest to capture a new kind of embodied technology that had not yet come into being.
His prescient works have reached an audience that seems, finally, ready to understand them. In April, he will be honored at SculptureCenter’s annual gala, following showings at the 2021 Gwangju Biennale and ‘The Milk of Dreams’ at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022. Hsu opened his second solo exhibition with Hong Kong’s Empty Gallery last week, in time for a revived Hong Kong Art Week and Art Basel Hong Kong.
Hsu’s unique use of pigment recreates the flickering, familiar glow of screens; the rounded corners of his paintings foreshadowed the industrial design of the iPad and iPhone and the graphic representation of mobile app icons. Closed Circuit bears an uncanny resemblance to the Instagram logo: the painting was made in 1986, 24 years before the social media app launched. “There’s a certain mystery to this whole thing,” Hsu said, speaking over a video call from his studio in New York. “The work is resonating with things I see going on in the world now. I had no awareness at the time, but looking back to that early work, it’s surprisingly synchronistic.”
The artist’s surfaces often feature parts of protuding faces, echoing our own embeddedness with technology, but, in a darker turn, it also comments on our surveillance society and its acceleration towards the use of biometrics and facial recognition technologies. “For the first time, I feel the work is able to address many of the issues that are most important to me all at once, without explanation,” said Hsu. “I don’t need any articulation. The work is speaking on its own.”
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