/ Lai Chih-Sheng: Linger

Artist

Text | Yaman Shao

Not everything that transpires has an underlying motivation; a connection sparked by a collision with a related touchpoint can place the outcome before the motive. Beliefs not far apart in thinking ultimately lead to a moment where parallel paths begin to intersect. Knowing Lai Chih-Sheng comes from such a quality, his works seem even more to be about this process. The truth may appear in many forms, yet one appearance cannot represent the whole truth. Lai Chih-Sheng’s works opt to leave appearance to transformation through the process. The truth to which appearance refers is the spiritual understanding that is not normally unfamiliar to us, yet that we usually have no chance to ruminate upon.

Growing up in a family of faith, Father believed in an order to everything under heaven. This faith did not come from tangible doctrine, rather out of the ability to observe and perceive from the surrounding environment - the unshakable belief that pure will can become reality; that through effort one can see the truth clearly. I am sure that, in Lai Chih-Sheng’s vernacular, it owes more to the necessary and inevitable outcome of attention to every portion outside that which is tangible, where action is only taken upon full assimilation. Among the array of society’s values, outcomes are more often than not given greater weight than processes. However, the two carry equal weight to me so as to maintain a state of constant progress, or risk passing away from immaturity.

As an exhibition space, the ALIEN Art Centre is less of a compromise than a perspective akin to a residence in which viewers can interpret exhibitions. The circular architectural structure places points of interest around every turn. Here, people and the wind, light, and sound comprise a latent awareness from the soul - existing, ephemeral. No matter what the appearance, intense light can fill in new spaces, while faint light can deepen its inherent patterns. The play between light and appearance as it is, is connected to our emotional vicissitudes. To some degree, painting, masonry, tilling soil, precision engineering, physical expression, and the weather… on the road to find the soul, is akin to the grasp of physical force - and this is an indispensable accord between Lai Chih-Sheng and a space.

On a full moon day, the sea beyond the ALIEN Art Centre engulfs the walls of a rock cave formation, dashing our anticipation of making a visit. The emptiness of disappointment deepens the feeling of missing out on satisfaction. That loss permits binary existence - between anticipation of speculation, and other things on one’s hands at the time. Oftentimes, new ideas and discoveries emerge from the cracks as a result. Here, the drifting distance is lovely, yet born from faith. Within Lai Chih-Sheng’s vernacular the path to assurance abides.

Border_Lyon (2015) The 13th Biennale de Lyon: La vie Moderne”, Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon, France|Courtesy of the Artist

Paint Cans_Kirishima (2019)|Courtesy of the Artist

No Ifs (2013)|Courtesy of the Artist

A Note (2017)|Courtesy of the Artist

Airing (2008)|Courtesy of the Artist

Drawing Paper (2012-2020)|Courtesy of the Artist

30 cm (2017)|Courtesy of the Artist

Stop by (2019)|Courtesy of the Artist

Border_Lyon (2015) The 13th Biennale de Lyon: La vie Moderne”, Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon, France|Courtesy of the Artist

Canton Flower Bridge (2018) Observation Society, Guangzhou|Courtesy of the Artist

Closer (2020) Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei|Courtesy of the Artist