Return to Innocence: remembering Ni Tsai-Chin - Art Collector

Ni Tsai-Chin, Mountain View Outside the Window (5). Courtesy: estate of the artist and Lin & Lin Gallery, Taipei

By Jason Chung Tang Yen

Speaking of Ni Tsai-Chin, almost everyone in the Taiwanese art world knows him as a prominent figure. With his recent passing, Lin & Lin Gallery presented the late artist’s most recent works alongside works from previous series, paying homage to the artist’s extensive practice. Known not only as artist but also as academic, scholar, art critic, activist, museum director, foundation CEO and chairman, Tsai-Chin has contributed his life to the local art community and helped shape its development.

Tsai-Chin originally wanted to study Western painting, but changed his mind on encountering the Song Dynasty style of ink painting in his research for his master’s dissertation. Imbued with the artist’s own creativity and unique visual language, his style is free of traditional boundaries of this technique, but sophistication remains constant in his work.

Toward the end of his practice, troubled with health issues, Tsai-Chin paid attention to landscape scenery and in particular seascapes. In his last words, the artist proclaimed: “As I’ve been tormented by liver disease and retinal degeneration, I’m used to looking at the blue sky and white clouds, I anchor my heart high up in the skies, so I can forget all about my triumphs and disasters, clear and pure. In an epoch that has the luxury of peace, the state of true peace and freedom so vast is difficult to achieve, because of this, I paint windows of leisure and I have no more wish than to have this kind of nature.”

The elevated state of tranquility and calm is evident in Tsai-Chin’s paintings; he reminisces about a beautiful past and shows hope for a better future to come. Whether or not this is a real future, it serves as a wonderful milestone and a reminder of what is possible.

Ni Tsai-Chin’s solo exhibition, Endless Roaming, shows at Lin & Lin Gallery in Taipei from 11 July to 2 August 2015.

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