Chambers Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening on March 7 of Odes by Taca Sui. Odes is the culmination of a three-year project which was previewed in May - June, 2012 when Taca participated in a two-person exhibition with Cui Fei Origins at Chambers Fine Art, New York. Now that the project is complete the current exhibition represents a more comprehensive survey from the entire body of work.
Born in Tsingtao, China in 1984, Taca currently divides his time between Beijing and New York. Since 2010 he has been working on a project inspired by the Book of Odes (Shi jing), the celebrated collection of poems which dates from the Bronze Age. To prepare for a photographic series based on the Book of Odes, he first spent a year immersed in the classic text and its enormous body of commentary. He worked out an itinerary based on places named in the text, visited them one after another--but without seeking to document the poems’ original setting, to illustrate their imagery, or to add another set of footnotes to the three thousand years’ worth of ingenuity and guesswork already on the shelves. Rather, in visiting the sites, Taca laid himself open to the discovery-procedure already implicit in the poems, and reproduced, not their particulars but their method.
The photographs in this collection don’t illustrate the Book of Odes, they evoke its workings in a different medium. Recognizing the elusiveness of the topic, Taca has stated that he hopes “to build a stable artistic structure that corresponds on some level to the composition of the Book of Odes, but at the same time pushes the Odes’ literary significance into a distant and unfamiliar world, bringing the work’s amorphous and mystical concepts into reality and by doing so, facilitates analysis of the Odes which truly is an artistic model with limitless possibility.”
In total there are now nine groups of photographs – Odes of Ya and Song, Odes of Zhou Nan and Shao Nan, Odes of Wei, Odes of Wang, Odes of Zheng and Kuai, Odes of Tang and Wei, Odes of Qi and Cao, Odes of Qin and Bin and Odes of Chen - from which a selection will be shown in New York. In subject matter they range from mountain ranges and rivers to close-ups of unexpected details but they are all unified by Taca’s masterly control of the platinum and silver gelatin process through which he achieves tonal effects of extraordinary refinement.
The formal austerity and timeless subject matter of Taca Sui’s work sets him apart from the great majority of his contemporaries, relating him to the earlier masters of the medium rather than to current practitioners of manipulated photography.