A very small stage (2012) - Nick Tai
Fundação Oriente, Alcantara, Lisbon, Portugal
Material: Oil on canvas
[TRANSLATION TO ENGLISH OF THE PORTUGUESE SENTENCE
... Surprising... isn't inherent...]
ABOUT THOUGHT-PROVOKING PAINTINGS BY NICK TAI
Nick Tai is one of the young artists of Macao whose skill has rapidly matured in recent years. He belongs to a relatively special generation in Macao. During the latter period of Portuguese administration in Macao, he studied in a Portuguese-Chinese school. The Sino-Portuguese culture collided in him but without sparking any fire. However, he has never forgotten the Sino-Portuguese culture and his education.
He keeps thinking about how to express this apprehension via art creation; or in other words, how to silently reflect this apprehension in his creativity. Tai is a straightforward and optimistic person but also very sensitive. Sense and sensibility always interact in his works, and the ungrammatical Portuguese voice-over, which combines with Cantonese colloquial elements, becomes his symbol in his works and is like a monologue in the paintings.
Via his paintings, he can always express his own feeling concerning all walks of life. This is an observation and realization about society, people and things around him. The bright but not dazzling colours make people feel like staying in a tranquil place in this hustling, bustling city. This soft, flexible and intangible tone is like the unspeakable melancholy and loneliness of most urbanites but sometimes it is like relaxation and comfortableness under the sunshine and breeze.
Character is always the creative subject in his paintings, reflecting the various phenomena of society. The picture freezing moment is not only a pure image or a situational expression but also exudes a warm current lying deep inside. This kind of tenderness cannot be described in words, as it boasts poetic silence and wilful break-out. Although he only depicts one person and one object in his painting, he looks into the depths of the soul, seeking to explore different emotional scenes in the world.
The Portuguese in his paintings represent little mysterious footnotes. Sometimes, it is like an inscription or poem inscription in a Chinese painting. He always uses these footnotes to convey his own ideas for attracting viewers to deeply explore his paintings. Sometimes, this Portuguese is like a pastel with a delicate fragrance growing outside the wall, freely expressing its emotions under the afternoon sunlight, encouraging people to unconsciously imagine the scenery behind the wall. Those Portuguese phrases, which always appear in his paintings are Tai’s memory of the Portuguese governing Macao, a most interesting experience for him as a Macao person from that generation.
Every time I see his new creation, it always makes me smile. This also unexpectedly reminds me of the social issues and the various aspects of life from the famous comic book Old Master Q, which boasts a 50-year history and has accompanied Hong Kong and Macao residents as they grew up. The most common title of these four cell manga is ‘Thought-provoking’.