Symbolic Fairytale Portraits by Chang Chia-Ying

by CaroPosted on

There’s a new generation of Taiwanese artists remixing modern ideas into their artwork, stepping away from visual traditions. We see it in Lo Chan Peng’s frightening, fashionable muses (covered here), Liao Chi-yu’s video art that references 17th century Dutch still life- and Chang Chia-Ying. Her Russian doll-like portraits of animals and chubby children stare into the distance with hollow, glazed over expressions on their faces. Likewise, the viewer is invited to look through them; their torsos are a window into an alternate reality. They are surrounded by mysterious fairytale gardens, inspired by the cartoons Chia-Ying watched as a child.

Her paintings exhibit a mixture of pop culture and culturally identifiable motifs such as Jiaolong, like a mermaid with a serpent’s tail, and Taiwanese rock monkeys, a symbol of versatility.  There is a religious ambiguity about them as well, representing her inner exploration sparked by new life experiences. In her own words, “My works reveal a short circuit situation. Why do I say that is a short circuit situation, that is because every single symbol in a work seems to have its own mission, is doing something, is performing its own story; but the stories are cut, they are not precisely connected, cannot be tagged with chronological order; the stories play according to observers’ thoughts. Cartoon art is flat, like a freeze-frame, there is not much to describe behind the frame, comparing to this lack of significance I pursue a polysemous significance.”

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