Tao Hui: Not at All
Tao Hui is a young, upcoming artist who has, in a dozen years beginning 2006, produced a memorable and acclaimed body of short film works. These focus largely on themes of popular culture, individual identity and perception; how easily, in this age of social media, we are duped by narratives in which words and images collude to confound truth, actuality. Tao Hui’s signature approach is to create bizarre scenes, in which some aspect of reality is exaggerated, or distilled into a metaphoric form. Nothing is exactly what it seems. A representative piece is the 2014 short film titled Dusk in Tehran, that was created during an artist residency in the city. The action takes place in the back of a private car as it negotiates traffic in the city. The passenger is a young woman, dressed in white, with her head covered by a similarly-coloured veil; a reference both to women in Tehran and to a young women dressed for a wedding ceremony. As the journey unfolds, the woman delivers a measured monologue. This mirrors the one delivered on stage by Hong Kong pop-singer and actress Anita Mui to her fans during what was to be her final concert before she died of cancer in 2003, and which spoke of her life, highlights and regrets. The transposing of one identity onto another highlights human desire for love and affection, in this visual montage made as a contrast between the freedoms of Hong Kong and the constraints placed upon women in Iran. This is but one of the ways in which Tao Hui confronts viewers with a familiar aspect of cultural history or social identities and encourages them to realise the idiosyncrasies at work in all our worlds.
In a slightly different vein, the 19-minute drama, Excessive (2015), is well explained by the title Tao Hui gave it. Excessive explores the tensions between husband and wife, the kind of conflicts that arise when communication wanes and frustrations arise. We might decide that the scenario upon which Excessive pivots is just the stuff of endless TV soap operas and cinematic dramas, but Tao Hui gives this a provocative exaggerated twist, possible within art by making the work an installation. In addition to the projection, a virtual “prop-box” exists to blur the lines between real world and on-screen invention.
About the Artist
Tao Hui was born 1987, in Yunyang, Chongqing. He studied at Sichuan Fine Arts Institute graduating in 2010. In 2015, Tao Hui was awarded Art Sanya Huayu Youth Grand Award. The same year, he won the Grand Prize at Contemporary Art Festival Sesc Videobrasil. In mid-2017 he was named one of the four final artists for the 2017 Hugo Boss Asia Art Award at the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai. Solo exhibitions include “Now & Then”, Galeria Untilthen, Paris, France, 2016; “New Directions: Tao Hui”, UCCA, Beijing (2015); “1 Character & 7 Materials”, Aike-Dellarco, Shanghai (2015).
We would like to thank Aike-Dellarco, Shanghai, for its support of this project.