Financial Times Features: Something in the Water — the Rise of Aquatic Art

 Cyano-Collage 078, 《氰山集之七十八》,85 x 200cm, 2020
Acquired by the UBS Art Collection 

In a recent article featuring the rise of water-themed art in the Financial Times, Wu Chi-Tsung’s Cyano-Collage Series was introduced in detail as a supporting argument for the potential cultural and philosophical depth of Art of this theme. 

It was stated that Wu Chi-Tsung didn’t originally intend his cyanotypes to be about water. He began the works with mountains in mind, but soon saw that his photographic blue spaces resembled tumultuous waves. As the series grew he began to explore ways the works could be interpreted as traditional Shanshui paintings, ocean views and natural landscapes. 

Chi-Tsung shares that “I was thinking I could try the possibilities of combining earlier techniques and materials, and hoping I could work with Xuan paper.” Regarding the production process that is direct and analogue, “I’m basically like a farmer,” he laughs, “it’s physical. I crumble the paper, I feel the paper. When the humidity is different it affects the paper. If it’s drier, it’s harder. If it’s more humid, it’s softer. There are lots of coincidences that I cannot control. That’s the best part.” 

The writer continued to state that the results are abstract but appear like seascapes. “I cannot say if [the work] is concrete or abstract,” Wu adds. “Chinese landscapes never really represent specific mountains. An artist draws their own interpretation of the scene.” Chi-Tsung’s works are growing ever larger: his recent show at Sean Kelly in New York included a triptych of pieces reaching up to 9m high. The works also reflect the artist’s love of rock climbing in Taipei – “facing a giant wall every day and a sea wave just behind me”. Similarly, his aim is to immerse the viewer in the space.





Written by/ 文 Francesca Gavin