At a recent conference held at the Chinese Taipei Film
Archive, artist Tsui stresses his works are not performances
but actions where the audience is essential for the
performance. Indeed the Chinese name for Action Art
is "Action Recording" where the emphasis in
this reading of the Chinese character set is not on
the performative aspect, but rather the various activities.
This concept follows well with Tsui's own thoughts,
he believes his video tapes, resulting artworks, are
documents that enable a secondary audience to experience
Tsui's works cater to Taiwanese and other cultural
audiences and do not require an intimate understanding
of the local political climate. Tsui light-heartedly
has stated he could easily sell his actions art techniques
on the streets of New York or London if ever needed.
Indeed his universal actions reply on comical appeal
and this assists in opening his work to a larger potential
viewership. His videos are sketches of human interaction
where no words or music are utilized and as such there
is hardly any specific cultural implication in the scenes'
In his early work The Welcome Rain Falling from the
Sky, 1997, the artist plays a darkly humourous game.
The lens I directed towards a grey concrete wall where
Tsui is depicted in the middle jumping between sides
of the image plane to avoid falling objects-first a
flower pot, then a motorcycle, and other ridiculous,
indistinguishable heavy objects. At the end of the minute-long
video, the artist graciously hops out of the frame.
Tsui, dressed in a white shirt, black track slacks and
sandals, looks like a camper rather than an artist,
escapes the various attacks of heavy objects in a spontaneous
The objects may be metaphors recanting to viewers about
the bleak and unexpected assaults in life. When Tsui
jumps out of the frame in the end, the viewers are left
to reexamine their own lives and inadvertly through
this pause are caught up in the graphics and re-watch
the video. His art which is closely aligned to depiction
of banal events seems inexplicable. Tsui creates works
which reside between humor and absurdity, it is left
to the viewers how to judge, rationalize and insert
themselves into this model.
Tsui's ability to address introspective and social
issues through his playful and staged constructs are
critical to both his success and to connecting with
viewers. Through investigating life and its gestures,
the artist aestheticizes again the mundane and brings
forward the absurd through do it yourself (DIY) actions.
Each video Tsui produces is a proposal and a document
of a DIY project as considered through the artist's
lens. His seemingly low budge filming and editing reflect
and highlight the DIY aesthetic while positioning the
viewer to be drawn into the scene and its related actions
depicted within it. Whether objects are falling or the
artist is seen skipping through water logged halls.
Tsui asks the viewer to watch, be amused and question
these gestures in relation to a history of art practice.
Each video depicts a physical feat that Tsui accomplishes
in the frame-its reading and definition like a history
of Taiwanese art are left open. Both the history ad
narrative of each piece seem unmediated but Tsui compels
the viewer to take part and become part of its final
For Tsui, he believes any technological changed in
delivery of his work will not impact it or its message.
Indeed the artist is prepared that every 2-3 ears his
low budget media of video will evolve and so will his
response in co-opting this form through its DIY aesthetics.
What Tsui has been able to accomplish through his video
work to dates, is to produce a body of images, that
through their staging show a confidence and maturity
of Taiwanese art which no longer reflects directly its
social history but rather indirectly comments on a history
of social presentation and interpretation of art to
a wider audience. Through the familiarity of both the
images and actions, Tsui beckons viewers to participate
and complete the action or dare to its end. This completion
of action by the viewer through this process is Tsui's
art and success.