Artist/Maker: Alex Chien (b. 1994)
Object/Materials and Techniques: Acrylics / Sprays / Oil Pastels on Canvas
Date: Painted in 2020
Dimensions: H. 80 cm. x W. 82 cm.
Art style: Illustration / Graffiti art / Cartoon art / Reflections of Surrealism / Pop Surrealism
Current Location: Artist’s collection
Curator’s note: Alex Chien through his series of works under the title Intensity makes a more or less disguised use of the ‘subversive’ and the ‘transcendental’ which vaguely specify Pop Surrealism’s philosophy.
With a strong sarcastic attitude and an inspiring sense of eerie, Alex Chien slips the audience into the perspective of an alternate reality, poking fun, while, at the same time, drawing attention upon the intensity in personal moments.
As the artist states about the particular work: ‘This series is called Intensity and shows the intensity in the moment of joy, madness, anger, agony. In this way, I want the viewer to appreciate the moment. It constitutes a series of transitions of my style and, eventually, more works will be added. Through his/her moments and stories, each person learns and evolves. All the stories in each work are inspired by personal stories, by things I have heard, narrated in a very surrealistic way.‘
In this sense, the present animatedly-arranged image, indulged in fantasy, and picked out in rich vivacious colours, brings into focus the state of feeling of the main oversized cartoon-tainted figure that looks as if in between a rather bizarre situation.
Lifeless objects are endowed with life, while eye-popping extinguishing illusions are going on a lush interplay. As a result, all together on the whole are synthesized into a visual pyrotechnics display.
Especially the emphasis on the face expression captivates the eye at once. Triggered by the intensity of a moment of high madness and suspense, it succeeds in provoking a rather lively vibe to the viewer who inevitably inserts himself in an uncertain cognitive state, becomes involved with the emotional tense of the hero, and shares the utopian version of ‘running away’.
What on earth is going on?
Will the hero manage to pull through?
Is this really happening?
However, there is no fixed narrative.
Run Baby leads the audience into a hallucinogenic head-trip whereas may fantasize the story behind in a different way, or still, question and, why not, change the narrative at any moment. Even the title of the work enhances the superficial embedded in the artist’s making process, offers thought-provoking starting points, and creates reflective connotations for the viewer.
Capitalizing on a vibrant dream-world composition, the portrayed illustration carries a graffiti expressive power that defines Alex Chien’s personal signature artistic vernacular. Apart from an overall charismatic sense of animation and a remarkable emphasis on paradoxical occurrences, all lines and shapes convey such strength and power that synchronously they communicate thought and humour, plus, grouped together, reinforce the contentious cartooning act that takes place in front of the viewer.
Through exceptional technical ability and flawless execution, falling, on one hand, under the influence of Surrealism while, on the other, becoming intrigued by the aesthetics of cartoons and comics, Alex Chien succeeds in marking out the uniqueness and the dynamism of a fairly Pop Surrealist oeuvre.