Charwei Tsai
The Womb & The Diamond

Live Forever Foundation, Taichung City / Taiwan

January 31–May 30, 2021
February 5, 2021
Live Forever Foundation
No.789, Sec. 2, Gongyi Rd., Nantun Dist.,
Taichung City 40844
Vital Space

T +886 800 524 365
[email protected]
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The Womb & The Diamond is a solo exhibition by Taipei-based artist Charwei Tsai and curated by Dr. Jau-lan Guo at Vital Space and Art Corner at National Taichung Theatre in Taiwan. This exhibition presents a series of newly commissioned projects inspired by personal pilgrimages that the artist took in the past three years. Through these journeys, Tsai traces the wisdom tradition of tantra that is stemmed in 5th century India and through the medieval trade routes across western China, it reached furthest east to Japan, south to Java, and north to Mongolia.

The central piece of this exhibition is a six by three meters installation made with glass and mirrors in reference to The Womb & The Diamond Realm mandalas from Koyasan in Japan. Known for writing mantras on ephemeral materials, for this project, Tsai experiments with using breath and the sound of reciting one-syllable mantras to form each glass piece. These captured mantras are then placed on a circular mirror as a part of the larger mandala. 

Along her journeys, Tsai encountered rural communities many of whom are under the threat of losing their livelihoods of working with natural materials and traditional crafts to hyper consumerism. As a way to honor gentler ways of working with the Earth, Tsai collaborates with craftswomen from Indonesia and Mongolia to create a body of woven and sewn mandalas. Ndewa & Hamanangu, is a series of ikat textiles made with a young weaver Nency Dwi Ratna from the island of Sumba in Indonesia through the support of curator Alia Swastika. For this 10-month project, the weaver closely followed traditional methods passed down through her mother. As a tribute to the tradition, hand-spun yarn from locally sourced cotton and plant based-dye from hand-picked native plants took the form of a local totem "lobster" that symbolizes re-generation. Every step of the preparation follows the natural rhythms of the land. What seems to be mundane labor manifests into sacred geometries representing the interdependence of micro and macro cosmologies.

At National Taichung Theater’s Art Corner, Tsai will create a site-specific and durational piece writing verses from the Flower Ornament Sutra on rice paper painted with natural pigments extracted from cinnabar. This work will fill the seven by five meter window panel of the opera house. Additional drawings, using pigment extracts from minerals such as azurite and malachite found in

the cave paintings along the trade routes where many sutras travelled from India to East Asia during the Tang Dynasty, will also be exhibited at the main space.

A publication in collaboration with Zolo Press based in Brussels & Mexico City will be released in July 2021.

Charwei Tsai
Charwei Tsai was born in 1980 in Taipei, Taiwan where she currently lives and works. Highly personal yet universal concerns spur Tsai’s multi-media practice. Geographical, social, and spiritual motifs inform a body of work, which encourages viewer participation outside the confines of complacent contemplation. Preoccupied with the human/nature relationship, Tsai meditates on the complexities among cultural beliefs, spirituality, and transience.

Exhibition include: Human Rights Art Festival, Green Island, Taiwan (2020), Jogja Biennale and Power of Intention: Reinventing the (prayer) Wheel, Rubin Museum, New York (2019), Charwei Tsai: Bulaubulau, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), Manchester, UK, 2050, A Brief History of the Future, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan, in collaboration with Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, and Minimalism: Space, Light, Object, Art Science Museum in collaboration with National Gallery Singapore, Singapore (2018), Hear Hear Singing, Commissioned by Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, UK and Water Moon, Institute of Contemporary Art, Villeurbanne / Rhône-Alpes, France (2017), Biennale of Sydney (2016), Simple Shapes at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2015) and Centre Pompidou-Metz, France (2014), Sharjah Biennial (2013), Millennium Magazines, MoMA, New York (2012), Yokohama Triennial and Ruhrtriennale (2011), 6th Asia Pacific Triennial (2009), Traces of the Sacred at Centre Pompidou, Paris (2008), Thermocline of Art: New Asian Waves at ZKM Center of Art and Media, Karlsruhe (2007) and Singapore Biennale (2006).

Tsai graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in Industrial Design and Art & Architectural History (2002) and has completed the postgraduate research program La Seine at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris (2010). 

Curator: Jau-Lan Guo
Jau-Lan Guo is an associate professor of modern/contemporary art, theories of art history, and curatorial practice at the Taipei National University of the Arts. Her doctoral dissertation specifically addressed the question as to how American art criticism formulated an anti-modernist version of post-modern art theory by interpreting Robert Rauschenberg and Neo-Dada in the 1960s. Her recent research interest focuses on performative turn in the museum and art historiography.

Live Forever Foundation
Live Forever Foundation values sustainability in environmental and cultural aspects through supporting activities that enhance the relationship between human, art and nature. Founded in 2012, we are devoted to preserving our cultural heritage for future generations. At Live Forever Foundation, we put social responsibility at the heart of what we do. Through organizing exhibitions and charitable events, we aim to improve the quality of life through art and education.

Vital Space and Art Corner at National Taichung Theater are both a part of Live Forever Foundation.

Vital Space 
No. 789, Sec. 2, Gongyi Road, 
Nantun District, Taichung City, Taiwan
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm, by appointment only
T +886 800 524 365

Art Corner
National Taichung Theater
No. 101, Sec. 2, Huilai Road, Xitun District, Taichung City, Taiwan
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11:30am–8pm