Ko-Si Chi is a living legend. The artist, now over 83, was one of the first Taiwanese photographers to earn wide international acclaim. Other artists have compared his photos to paintings, poems, and literary conjunctions of opposites—even, occasionally, in the same breath. His artwork is at once simple in composition and complex in technique. Colours shout from the prints. Shadow and light perform a delicate dance. Shapes seem to be carved out of the thin blue air. In a word, these are masterpieces.
The artist’s work has finally reached Bangkok. Titled Wu Jin, the collection of images on display at Adler Subhashok Gallery represents a philosophy forged through 50 years of professional experience. Wu Jin (無盡) means timelessness in Chinese, and that word seems to achieve the right effect.
Ko-Si Chi has been described as a man on the move, constantly travelling and shooting, a wanderer without a definite destination. Perhaps an effect of the artist’s itinerant nature, the scenes he captures, whether nature or still life, often transcend measurable time. They are moments in a travelogue—life plucked from one era and placed in another—achieving the same longevity as the musical prose and haikus of Matsuo Bashō.
Many of Ko-Si Chi’s photos are stark, backed up by bold, yet limited, colour palettes imbued with contrasts. The simplicity often lends a calming effect to the mood of the pieces. Though austere, they are nevertheless rich and diverse as well, injected with his questioning perspective and redolent of the division between humanity and nature. They also tend to examine the world through the viewpoint of the subject, allowing for better understanding of life beyond the focus of the lens.
The exhibition honours the sixtieth anniversary of the artist’s career—six decades of profound artistic achievement. It runs until October 18 at Adler Subhasok Gallery (160/3 Sukhumvit 39). For more details about the artist, visit his website, kosichi.com.