The catalogue includes the artist statement of Lai's whole new creative subject in this exhibition " The Lonely Bubble in the Universe—Pale Blue Dot ".

The Lonely Bubble in the Universe—Pale Blue Dot

Lai Chiu-Chen

 
-Soap Film
 
We all move on the fringes of eternity and are sometimes granted vistas through fabric of illusion. —Ansel Adams (1902-1984)
 
Every bubble that refracts light into splendid colors is formed by a thin film sustained by surface tension. The thin layer of soap film, approximately 0.0000007 m in thickness, reflects all the things that float by; randomly, and unintentionally, the bubble reflects everything around. Sometimes, two or three neighboring bubbles, from point to line, are separated at a perfect 120-degree angle. Then, they converge into a new bubble. At a certain moment, viewer, work, and creator will sometimes converge and fuse into a complete bubble at the same angle—this is an ideal surrealist state. As water vapor evaporates, soon, all those things reflected on the surface will shatter and disappear. New bubbles, however, will continue to reflect all things around, as if nothing had ever happened.
 
As usual, I rely on my eyes to create works; I rely on those thin retinas at the bottom of my eyes to store all the reversed images. All images are like the reflected images of soap film, extracted within an instant; however, most of the data and images I chose before have evaporated and been sealed away from my brain, taking shape and breaking up like bubbles.
 
 
-Stream of Consciousness 
 
Bubbles would rise through the cider, in such multitudes that others were left hanging on the side of the glass, whence one could have scooped them up with a spoon, as a net lowered into the swarming vitality of tropical seas brings up thousands of ova.1
 
Through sophisticated observation and imagination, Marcel Proust (1871 – 1922) associates short-living bubbles with fish ova that symbolize the continuation of life. The two temporal concepts are contradictory, yet seem so perfectly comparable. All the bubbles inside the glass that rise following own routes emerge out towards the surface of water; although they quickly burst and disappear, they seem to work hard to put emphasis on their own existence. It reminds me of myself, when I face empty canvases,  I look through the various online images I have stored and added over the years, as well as all kinds of ideas that pop up in my head, like bubbles that take form one after another and then quickly disappear. Like a novel of stream of consciousness, which follows the smoke of the cigarette held in the hand of Swann that rises slowly and spreads around with airflow, scenes, time and space, and characters, events, and objects alternate and blink, and light, scent, temperature and humidity will also change accordingly. Like hair, nerves, or cables, all kinds of intricate ideas are intertwined, triggering the things I previously saw or thought about, and connecting to the running USB port to expand storage, without me noticing.
 
Finally, those tiny bubbles that fail to escape are scooped up by the spoon, becoming another form of life and nutrient; they find a small blank spot on the canvas where they can settle down in peace, allowing dreams and fantasies to become reality.
 

-Space
 
The most obvious difference between the featured works of this exhibition and my past works is that spaces in the paintings are divided and emphasized. Familiar anime characters weave through the structure that resembles interwoven window frames; partial natural images are added, which I rarely depicted before, to form visual vocabularies different from my past works; or, like old picture frames that have oval cut-outs, they display fragments of what I have seen or remember; these fragments search for and fuse with the lost halves among the images accumulated continuously online, to generate new meanings. Space dictates the direction of the works; toys that have been the main subject for years have ceded their position, and withdrawn into the background to play second fiddle to space.
 
In today’s world where online search engines are becoming more and more powerful, the images we encounter constantly reproduce and duplicate like organic matters; they fuse and mix with one another, and cannot be differentiated. Nonetheless, through constant selection and elimination, some artists’ compositions, or meticulously assembled marble floors in churches, are still being appropriated by me for the structures of my paintings. This way, I can seamlessly fuse past eras and styles into modern works to carry out a conversion of time and meaning. For example, the geometric spaces of Luiz Sacilotto (1924 – 2003), upon being given new visual imageries, have made the origami animals in “Mr. and Ms. Animals Who Live in the Congregate Housing” seem to be whispering in a room that is twisted, magical, and appears lonely. This kind of spaces always reminds me of the windows of Notre Dame du Haut—the windows of various sizes opened on the thick and sturdy walls, through which colorful light penetrates into the church to create the rich religious atmosphere. They also remind me of the irregular frames and cabinets of Rene Magritte (1898 – 1967). I replace his surreal objects and uninterpretable meanings, allowing the works to return to the reality I recreated. Like containers, these objects I have intentionally or unintentionally discovered are recycled, decomposed, removed, and reset, to become new meanings and existences.
 
 
-Pale Blue Dot
 
Pale Blue Dot is a famous picture of planet Earth taken by Voyager 1 in 1990. In the picture, Earth, only 0.12 pixel in size, floats in solitude in the dark and soundless solar system. This picture reminds us of our situation: it is like a bubble, tiny, fragile, pale, yet colorful; however, it carries our emotions and obsessions, self-righteousness, misconceptions, and everything known, thought about, or unknown by us through endless time.
 
Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves.2
 
It is always difficult to face oneself. Day in and day out, we are always with ourselves, but have we met our real selves? Every person is the producer and receiver of bubbles. Ourselves from every time seem to be floating in bubbles, emerging and disappearing, and I am like the president of Bubble Kabushiki Kaisha, absorbing all the things reflected on the soap films on one hand, while also screening, creating, and refining all the things to be reflected onto the soap films of viewers. As a creator, if we truly regard the external world to be like dew drops, bubbles, dreams, lightning, and clouds, then what exactly is it that we see? What have I created? In the modern world where self-consciousness and value have been infinitely inflated and maximized, our selves are, after all, just whispering in a hardly audible voice in a bubble, a tiny grain of dust, and a blurry light spot a mere 0.12 pixel in size.




1.Proust, Marcel. Translated by Wang, Tao-Chien. Countre Sainte-Beuve. Shanghai: Shanghai Translation Publishing House, 2007.6, p.20.
2.Joyce, James. Translated by Hsiao, Chien and Wen, Chieh-Juo. Ulysses (Vol. 1). Taipei: Owl Publishing House, 1999.11, p. 444.

Lai Chiu-Chen
Lai Chiu-Chen
2018.10
NT$ 800
26 x 26 cm|60 pages