By Sofia Jesus
Macau-based artist Cai Guo Jie offers a fresh bird’s eye view of Macau in his newly-opened watercolour painting exhibition. As he tells mART, the city’s multiculturalism has been a source of inspiration.
The Taiwanese artist says he has been impressed by Macau since the first time he visited the city, as almost everything seemed different from what he knew back home. “It was a brand new experience,” he says.
He tells mART he was drawn, for instance, by the territory’s “blend of Eastern and Western elements”. His interest in the city eventually led him to move there, in 2011.
The exhibition Overlook the Macau City — Works by Cai Guo Jie opened this week and will be held until April 23, at Macau Art Garden. Promoted by Art for All Society (AFA), the showcase is curated by Chen Kuang-Yi, who was a teacher of Mr Cai.
The exhibition features a total of 14 landscape watercolour paintings of Macau scenery. The Penha Hill and the Inner Harbour are among the places portrayed.
Mr Cai explains his new pieces offer “a different perspective” towards Macau, comparing to his previous works, as they allow you to “look down at the city”. But there isn’t a social critique implied here, he says. He prefers to focus on his “personal feelings”.
The technique he uses aims “to express the culture that we experience in Macau,” he tells mART. That is why he combines a pen used in Chinese calligraphy with a pencil used commonly in Western creations, he explains.
His views of Macau, he says, are inspired by his memories of the city or by photographs he frequently takes of certain places in Macau from a variety of angles. It is the combination of all those views that is present in the process of his creation. If he feels something is missing from his mind, he goes back to the place “immediately” to continue his artwork.
Mr Cai holds a Bachelor degree with a major in painting and a Master degree with a major in installation, both from National Taiwan University of Fine Arts. He currently teaches in several institutions in Macau.
Mr Cai has busy times ahead. Some of his works will be taken by AFA to this year’s Affordable Art Fair, which will be held between May 29 and 31 in Hong Kong. Also next month, he is planning to take part in an exhibition in India, supported by the Orient Foundation. Later this year he is expected to participate in a joint exhibition in the Japanese capital city, Tokyo.