Jacky Tsai at Unit London
Cultural fusion forms the heart of contemporary artist Jacky Tsai's practice. The artist innovatively blends Chinese craft tradition - lacquer carving, painted porcelain, silk embroidery, and guohua painting - with western pop iconography. Tsai’s imaginative use of perspective and layering create culturally harmonious and aesthetically rich narratives - appealing to audiences from a diverse set of cultural backgrounds.
Jacky Tsai’s iconic floral skull, designed for the late British fashion designer Alexander McQueen, reflects the artist’s engagement with religious and spiritual themes. Tsai’s recurring use of a skull motif challenges the prevailing notions of superstition and fear associated with death in Chinese culture. Blooming from the bones, the flowers, butterflies, and bees in Tsai’s ‘Skullptures’, celebrate the beauty in decay. The artist sees, the skull, “as a symbol of opportunity for new beginnings, rebirth from death.”
Since his breakout debut with McQueen, Tsai has successfully launched a fashion label and collaborated with high-profile brands: Harvey Nichols, Lane Crawford, and Shanghai Tang. Ambitious and continuously evolving, Tsai’s practice is as suited to the demands of consumer culture as it is to the roots of his practice. Whether fabricated in cloth or painted on the hull of a cruise ship, Tsai’s work maintains his fiercely unique and instantly recognisable kaleidoscopic graphic style.
Born in Shanghai in 1984, Tsai was greatly influenced by the Western culture, especially by artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Tsai moved to London in his twenties to complete an MA in Illustration at Central St Martin’s. The impact of his East to West relocation can be traced through his art - where vibrant superheroes and other western pop imagery populate traditional eastern landscapes. Tsai’s diverse works have garnered great international acclaim and coverage; he has exhibited worldwide at The Cat Street Gallery Hong Kong, and the Museum of Modern Art Moscow. In November 2018 Jacky Tsai had his first UK solo show at Unit London.