Through her works, the Taiwanese artist Charwei Tsai (born in 1980) has developed a particular approach to the text / image relationship by populating many of her works with handwriting. Often referring to Sutra, these words are repeated over and over, revolving around one another. Tsai explains that she has always had a strong affinity for the written text, especially Buddhist scriptures. And this practice appears as way to decode her understanding of contemplation, meditation, and emptiness. As she describes: “Over the last nine years of my practice as an artist, people often ask me if I am a devoted religious artist or simply in love with the aesthetics of writing texts. Although I have always almost single-mindedly tried to explore one theme that is the Buddhist concept of emptiness, I never thought of myself as a religious artist. I always considered emptiness as a philosophical concept. In my daily life I am still trying to grasp this concept.”
Of particular interest, her series “Universe of Possibilities” (2016) invite us to rethink our conception of transience, while disturbing our sense of scale and perception. The seemingly strange planets made of swirls and spirals we are looking at are in truth close-ups of off-casts that had been discarded in mass quantities by commercial fishing boats along the coast of Central Vietnam. The words “Multiple Truths”, “Luminous Mind”, “Profound Simplicity” appear here and there onto the photographs.
Tsai graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in Industrial Design and Art & Architectural History (2002) and has completed the postgraduate research program La Seine at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris (2010). She is editor-in-chief of Lovely Daze, an art journal published twice a year since 2005.
More information: Charwei Tsai’s website