We Came Whirling Out of Nothingness

We Came Whirling Out of Nothingness, 2014, Exhibition View, Photo courtesy of TKG

TKG+, Taipei, Taiwan
13 September ~ 12 October 2014

Exhibited works:

– We Came Whirling Out of Nothingness, 2014, Drawing series
– Spiral Incense Mantra, 2014, Installation
Incense Mantra, 2013, Video
Lanyu: Three Stories, 2012, Video Installation
Lanyu IV, VII, 2012, Photographs
Circle II, 2011, Video
Lovely Daze Complete Set, 2005-Present

Press Release:
We came whirling out of nothingness
scattering stars like dust.
The stars made a circle
and in the middle we dance.
‐ Jalaluddin Rumi

TKG+ is pleased to present Charwei Tsai: We Came Whirling Out of Nothingness. Comprising videos, installations, photographs, and the artist’s curatorial art journal Lovely Daze, this solo exhibition examines the ways in which human perception of time and space is dependent on and parallels nature’s underlying revolving and repeating circular and spiral forms. The works consider how these structures might inform us about natural occurrences in our universe, from the simplicity of a snail shell to the spectacle of the galaxy. Encompassing Tsai’s exploration of Sufism, as well as Buddhist traditions, the exhibition also highlights a transition in the artist’s practice of applying the Buddhist concepts of emptiness and interdependence to a universal concern with the environment.

The centerpiece installation of the exhibition, We Came Whirling Out of Nothingness, an 18‐meter‐long montage of notes, sketches, drawings, paintings, photographs, and objects, contemplates the spiral form and other circular movements. The work stems from Tsai’s fascination with Sufism, and especially the spirals and circles produced by the spinning of the dervishes during the ritual dance of the Mevlevi Sema Ceremony. According to the 13th‐century Persian poet and mystic Jalaluddin Rumi, whose teachings serve as the basis of the Mevlevi Order, the dancing dervishes represent the planets revolving around the sun. Immersed in their microcosms, the dervishes create new worlds and make contact with eternity.

Drawing from a Buddhist perspective, and the artist’s Taiwan‐formed traditions, the exhibition also includes works based on the cyclic, rather than linear, understanding of the world. This section includes works that examine the relationships between indigenous beliefs, the spiritual realm, and nature, through a new ephemeral installation of large burning spiral‐shaped pieces of incense, Spiral Incense Mantra (2014), the three‐channel video projection Lanyu: Three Stories (2012), and three photographs from the series Lanyu (2012).

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue that surveys the artist’s practice since 2005, with an essay by Mami Kataoka, Chief Curator of the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan, and an interview with Tsai by artist, curator, and writer Heman Chong.