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蔡名璨 Tsai Ming Tsan








Tsai Ming Tsan graduated from the Department of Painting and Calligraphy Arts at the National Taiwan University of Arts in 2020 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in the same department. His ink paintings are characterized by their novelty and playfulness, depicting lively and vivid animals using solid traditional ink techniques, with the backdrop of Ming Dynasty Chinese furniture. He imagines these spirited animals interacting and playing on or around the furniture.

One of Tsai Ming Tsan’s world views is: “The world is composed of vibrations, and different time-spaces coexist within the same environment.” In his perspective, a chair that exists in our world might, under different vibrations, simultaneously exist in another world at the same location. This “other world” might be inhabited by various creatures. Tsai Ming Tsan observes and imagines the encounters and interactions between these two worlds from an observer’s standpoint. By using “furniture,” an everyday object, he connects animals and mythical creatures from another world to our reality. Within the same painting, he often varies the degree of realism for different things. His animals are stylistic but the ornaments they play with are more realistic. By juxtaposing levels of realism, Tsai Ming Tsan emphasizes the intersection of different realities.

To express the fusion of two or more worlds intersecting and the existence between illusion and reality, Tsai Ming Tsan uses 15-20 layers of wet and dry ink washes to create the rounded, semi-real outlines of his creatures. Compared to the famous Song Dynasty animal ink painter Yi Yuanji, known for his vivid monkeys and cats, Tsai Ming Tsan’s animals retain Yi’s fullness and dynamism but take it to a higher level. He simplifies the animals’ facial features, giving them more expressive and interesting expressions, and uses more pronounced ink washes to blend the contours with the background, enhancing the sense of fusion between different worlds. His simple yet bold strokes for furniture, combined with intricate ornaments, provide more interactive spaces for the animals, increasing the overall playfulness and making the paintings intriguing and captivating. Tsai Ming Tsan often employs the “painting within a painting” concept, where animals and mythical creatures emerge from scrolls within the painting to interact with the outside world, placing the viewer within three layers of reality.

Tsai Ming Tsan strives for the overarching binaries of “real and unreal,” “existence and non-existence” through smaller and tangible binaries such as “simplicity and complexity,” “black and white,” “blurring and flat coloring,” and “linear composition and color blocks.” In his work, he enters the illusory space of ink painting and constructs a realm of imaginative beauty. His use of contrasts creates a visual experience that is both familiar and strange, demonstrating the limitless possibilities of ink painting. Tsai Ming Tsan’s works have been exhibited in various regions and museums in Taiwan. His creations blend traditional techniques with contemporary elements, constantly challenging and breaking traditional boundaries, injecting new life and imbuing vitality into contemporary ink painting.


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