For those who’ve visited Taiwan, their memories of the island will most likely call to mind a rich world of sights, sounds, and scents. Perhaps it’s the view of Taipei 101 looming over the capital, the smell of burning incense wafting from the temples, or the street-side vendors who call out for passersby to peruse their stall. For Kaohsiung-based artist Zook, Taiwan conjures up something altogether different. In his works, he spotlights the less-glamorous—yet indisputable parts of Taiwanese culture: betel nuts, cigarettes, and cheap liquor.
对于曾经造访过台湾的人来说，只要提起台湾，似乎一场结合视觉、听觉和嗅觉的盛宴便会映入脑海：高耸入云的台北 101 大楼，城中寺庙的阵阵炉香，街边摊贩对来往路人的吆喝……然而，对于在高雄生活的艺术家 Zook 来说，他对台湾的印象却是截然不同的内容。在作品中，他将目光投向了台湾文化中那些不太瞩目夺人，却又十分地道的部分：槟榔、香烟、便民酒水。
In the recently concluded exhibition at Arcade Gallery, Life Goes On Vol. 2, Zook elevates these “lowbrow” vices into gallery-ready art, displaying them in vivid acrylics.“Cigarettes and betel nuts may not be exactly healthy, but they’re normal parts of life for much of Taiwan’s working class,” he says. “Vices like these are a daily luxury for them, and like other locals, I have my own bad habits, such as drinking and smoking. These things are all ordinary parts of life in Taiwan.”
The gold-teethed man who makes recurring appearances throughout Zook’s works are self-portraits of sorts, and he’s almost never shown in a flattering light, whether it be loafing about a lit cigarette holstered in his belly button or passed out naked in a bathtub. Through self-deprecating humor, Zook pokes fun at the vapid folly of trying to keep up appearances. “Everyone loves to package themselves up perfectly,” he shrugs. “But life and culture are more nuanced than that.”
近期刚刚在 Arcade 画廊结束的《Life Goes On Vol. 2》展览中，Zook 他以鲜艳生动的丙烯颜料将这些 “低俗趣味” 登临大雅之堂。他说：“香烟和槟榔可能谈不上健康有益，但对于台湾大部分工薪阶级来说，它们却是生活中不可或缺的一部分。这些 ‘陋习’ 跟随着他们的日常生活。和其他台湾人一样，我也有一些坏习惯，例如饮酒和吸烟。但这些不过是台湾生活的日常罢了。”
你会在 Zook 作品中经常看到一个镶着金牙的男子，而这个男人就是他的自画像 —— 无论是在肚脐插着的香烟，还是在浴缸中昏睡的状态，他从来没刻意美化自己的形象。反而通过这种自我贬低式的幽默，抨击那些面子工程的愚蠢行径。“每个人都喜欢把自己包装得很完美。但是生活和文化往往比表面露骨得多。”他耸耸肩说道。
The new show builds on concepts from his debut solo show, Life Goes On, which implored audiences to live with authenticity, to not dismiss the parts of life that don’t align with their personal values, and to embrace the humanness of our shortcomings in our pursuit of betterment. The two shows are ambitious exhibitions for the young artist, whose street-art aesthetics belie larger ideas.
新的展览延续了他个人首次展览《Life Goes On》的概念 —— 呼吁观众忠于真实的自己，不要刻意回避生活中不符合自己个人理想的部分，而是要明白每个人都会有缺点，我们要接纳这些人性化的缺点，才能成为更好的自己。这两次展览体现了这位年轻艺术家勃勃野心，但同时，他的街头艺术也蕴含着更大的想法。
Zook’s interest in art came at a young age, with hours-long doodling sessions at home. That eventually developed into an interest in graffiti in middle school, when he was exposed to hip-hop culture. The back alleys of Kaohsiung quickly became his canvas. “I’ve never thought of myself as an ‘artist’ though nor did I ever think only an ‘artist’ can create art,” he says. “Art is something everyone can do. Creating art shouldn’t be thought of as a profession.”
Despite his street-art beginnings, Zook has begun working with a variety of mediums in recent years and now holds a newfound perspective of what “street art” truly is. For him, it’s no longer about making art in the streets—it’s about showcasing local street culture, in all of its gritty and grimy glory, through art.
“I just want my art to be representative of Taiwanese street culture,” he says. “The medium and locations don’t matter that much as long as I can show people what I see and what I’ve got going on in my head.”
尽管 Zook 以街头艺术为起点，但近年来他开始使用多种媒介进行创作，现在的他对于 “街头艺术” 的含义有了新的见解：对他来说，“街头艺术” 不再是字面理解上街头创作艺术的意思，而是通过艺术来展示当地的街头文化，包括其中肮脏和不怎么光彩的一面。