Lai Chiu-chen’s works carry a whiff of pop culture but amidst his cartoon and comic book ideas their essence actually centers on age-old themes of painting: simulation and reconstruction. His mode of creation would seemingly resemble what Bohemian-Austrian poet and art critic Rainer Maria Rilke described: A small series of liberations precisely resulting from the sorts of contradictions that arise between what is currently fashionable and an artist whose worldview is not in synch with that fashion.
Among his works are those that resemble images of toy heads, seemingly like symbols of his own birth and growth. Considering the milieu in which they are created, Lai’s works could be said to be an assemblage of samples or specimens from life. Through his highly “controlled” creative methodology, once stripped of its frail composition, spatial elements and tactile sense of painting, we unexpectedly can find ourselves actually confronting the image itself, and in the repetitive layering of color upon this tableau the nature of the painting lies concealed evenly within its internal elements and peripheral outlines. Thus through these characteristics the works present a sort of smooth cooling sensation, profoundly rich in substantive variation. It is here where we can clearly discern how he has found the multiple within the singular and a peculiar way of winnowing out differing possibilities for painting within its constraints.
Lai has always painted only those things that he can see, as perhaps for him that is the only means of creativity that is real and will never fade from the popular imagination. The Canadian philosopher and academic Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) once said: Completely opposing new art forms appear precisely when the old forms are just reaching their peak. Perhaps we can expect Lai to create a radically different result and appearance within the contemporary arts environment based on this ancient artistic imperative.