LAI Chih-Sheng was born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1971. He graduated from the Department of Fine Arts, National Institute of the Arts in 1996, and acquired a master’s degree from the Graduate Institute of Plastic Arts, Tainan National University of the Arts in 2003. As soon as he finished military service in 1998, Lai founded an art group called “Nation Oxygen” with fellow artists like Lee Ji-Hong whom he befriended in college, and co-released artworks with them between 1996 and 1999. In 1996, the artist completed an artwork entitled Vertical at a deserted fabrics factory in Sanzhi, suburban Taipei. The work consists of a pile of bricks starting from the floor till the roof. The memorial Powder（2000）is his farewell to his cement worker’s career.
Lai established a multi media design company called “On-Office” with college good friend LEE Ji- Hong in 2003. Together they completed exhibition photography assignments and design projects that they specialize in. The artist fine-tuned his artistic methods through work, and developed his own aesthetic motifs. With an ambition “based on and beyond reality,” he questions the various forms of art and challenges people’s understanding of art. In fact, all of his ambitions and motivations have stemmed from “Nation Oxygen” which he founded and took part in earlier on. Taking imagination as a joint stimulus, Lai has hoped to see both individual artists and art groups taking underived approaches to make art, and continue to try new things and experiment with new mediums.
“To paint is usually to produce a subject on a plane, or to create various different things to allow viewers to learn an artistic world other than everyday reality.
Yet Drawing Paper tries to change such ideas: drawing paper draws itself on itself. No other things are involved here. It creates itself. “Itself” refers to the paper itself, reality itself, and art itself.
Therefore, even though the drawing paper in this artwork is almost invisible, it enables art and reality to co-exist in the same captured moment, and move to and fro continuously between truths and imaginations.” — LAI Chih-Sheng
We see the worth of art and feel art’s presence when the visible contour of reality is highlighted –or, on the contrary, blurred — in a work of art. LAI Chih-Sheng’s Drawing Paper ingenuously shows the two important tools for artistic expressions, the “subject”（“the drawing paper” as a subject）and the “act” carried out by the subject （“drawing-the-paper” as a verb）. As the artist said, Drawing Paper reveals the nature of the creation of art. It perfectly reflects the artist’s core belief: only when an artist truthfully deals with reality can he or she give accurate renditions of art.
Most artists born between 1971 and 1980 started their art career in the late 1990s and early 2000s. During this period, “visuality” was considered the most important element of art in Taiwan. Local exhibition institutions（such as fine arts museums）and commercial groups（such as galleries）were quick to embrace spatial installations that demonstrate a sense of existence, as well as artworks that emphasize “visibility,” for they felt their presence was being threatened at international arts biennales and festivals.
Discussions about the nature of art continued as reflections on artistic aesthetics were made, variously taking philosophical, social and political views. Only by year 2000 were certain conclusions made on how exhibition institutions should operate, what exhibition themes should be made, or how art could be practiced and released. Although artists like LAI Chih-Sheng under such circumstances had to compromise for felt frustrated sometimes, they learned, grew and prospered. They try to find answers to the complicated question of “what is art” by making art.
|Chinese title：||素描紙 20121118|
|English title：||Drawing Paper 20121118|
|Medium / Classification：||Mixed Media|
|Collection Unit：||Courtesy of the Eslite Gallery|
|Contact method for authorization：||
|Related Exhibition：||"The Pioneers" of Taiwanese Artists, 1971-1980|