Wang Tau Kun


Born in Macau in 1996, he graduated his BFA from the Department of Digital Media at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with a minor in Photography in 2019. After graduation, he founded KUN STUDIO Photography Company as a commercial photographer. He has photographed many celebrities such as Audrey Pence, Ouyang Nana. After returning to Macau in 2020, he works as an image visual artist. Now he works in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and lives in Zhuhai. From his earliest practice to the present, create landscape image of his understanding of the time which he called “Timescape”. architecture, mountains, water, sky and earth are his favorite. He never aims to faithfully reproduce the images of these objects, but to express the themes of the times through these images. Growing up in Macau, where China and the West are “blended” since childhood, has deeply influenced him. How the two cultures resolve contradictions and conflicts and merge together as new, and in the strong contrast produces a unique beauty. Just as himself believed in God from the West, and at the same time had a certain resonance with Zhuangzi’s worldview. This sense of beauty has been running through his creative veins. His works have been exhibited in Beijing, Macau, Zhuhai, Hengqin, Guangzhou, Taiwan and Massachusetts. He won the third place in the IPA Photography Award. Works are in private collections.

Kun Wang Tou. Kun is a young artist born in the 90s, specialising in photography and image creation. In recent years, he has made a series of creative researches on abstraction of images from landscape photography to post-production process. This exhibition presents digital photographic landscape works by him, who transforms everyday landscape and nature into abstract visual forms, exploring the possibilities of viewable and non-viewable in a “new photography”.

Kun Wang Tou says, “The non-view digital photographic landscapes are inspired by Zhuangzi’s famous question: ‘Is its azure the proper colour of the sky?'” Rather than being a work of sentimental expression, Zhuang Zhou’s “Enjoyment in Untroubled Ease” is a polemical essay on the perspective of viewpoints, in which Zhuang Zi gives examples of how our ability to view is limited when we see things from a certain perspective: “The mushroom of a morning does not know (what takes place between) the beginning and end of a month; the short-lived cicada does not know (what takes place between) the spring and autumn.” Thus, Zhuangzi asked, “Is the sky pale or azure, the true colour of the heavens?” And how can the reality of what is “to be viewed” be explored?

The “Non-View” proposed by Kun in his own words, is “against active and superficial viewing, experimenting between the photographic medium and digital landscape images, expressing the contradiction between man-made objects (technology) and nature, extracting elements from landscape photographic images, reducing them to ‘pixels’, and printing them into large scale imagery works. The abstract landscape mirrors the reality of viewing, as an exploration of ‘non-view’.”

Then we see the “landscape” images created by Kun using the digital post-production process, whose “imagery” is the embodiment of the artist’s aesthetic ideal and pursuit of aesthetic meaning, the unity of subjectivity and objectivity, and is the objective object used to support the subjective consciousness. His view of “non-” is a post-modern subjective rebellion, rather than the nihilistic denial of all possibilities of objective existence. Together with its virtual character, it refers to the “non-viewable” nature of imagery. Imagination and fiction are used to represent what is not in reality, and it can also use non-realistic forms to represent what is already in reality. Kun’s virtual “landscape” photography is not a fiction, but an extension of its digital nature. He says, “The colours we are used to are only processed results by the human eye and brain, while reality can have infinite possibilities. And the essence of digital photography is the capture of data.”

As the “Observer effect” in quantum mechanics refers to, the act of “observing” has an effect on the object being observed, and before any “observation”, everything in the world actually has “N” possibilities, and once encountered with the “observation”, a certain vision of things will be fixed, thus the so-called “reality” is nothing more than subjective observation. If this being the case, the artist has thus plunged into an almost obsessive observing and experimenting in the visual field of data, in search of a new territory in his philosophy of photography. If we can imagine a “new photography” that runs counter to the realistic nature of traditional photography, a “new photography” that treats all the “observable” “reality” as fundamentally “non-objective”, can the artist create his new world from it?

From his earlier work “Non-View: When the Sky Opens” (2020) with its image of the beginning of the sky, to “Non-View: Noah Sees the Mountain Top” (2021) with its image of the end of the world, to “Non-View: The Initiation of the Landscape Interconnection”(2022) in which he sees the mountain as water and the water as mountain, the artist is destroying and re-creating in the world of digital photography, trying to break all the rules. And even in his latest work “The Birch of Non-View” (2023), trees appear in the form of a quasi digital drawings. The artist visualises a new aesthetic concept in front of our eyes, inviting the viewer to look at it from a “Non-View” perspective, which, may eventually reveal the answer to Zhuangzi’s question.