Chen-Huan Tsai 蔡承歡
contact Chen-Huan at
Emotion and care as a medium. Sound as a means of engagement.
Recently, my work often looks cute, silly, or sometimes maybe even considered childish. But the animal drawings, fluffy installations, bucket helmets, wacky noises from my works are more than just being cute and silly. I am interested in sharing a conversation about gentleness, and the value of happiness, empathy, imagination and how these qualities of being human can have value through actions of playing together. We all have these intimate and tender qualities inside us that make us feel better when we are fragile. These qualities are greatly important, but sometimes we are uncomfortable to share or embrace them publicly because of external circumstances and social expectations.
Therefore, I create activities and objects with qualities of silliness, cuteness, clumsiness, fragileness, intimacy through the assistance of sound, digital fabrication, drawings and other techniques. I ask people to wear buckets on their heads and navigate in a soundscape; invite participants to dubb (make noises) for animals on walls; make drawings of dogs tripping over themselves because they have too many feet. I construct these situations to create chances of connections ( either with me, with others, or with any quality that the viewer feels). I am interested in bringing out these sometimes-suppressed feelings in casual ways of playing like children do, though what we are experiencing is read under the context of art. I hope my work is at least a safe space to express, experience and more importantly feel these qualities.
I am interested in how things are perceived and how combinations of things make people feel. I make work to connect and understand how things feel both physically and emotionally; to understand it feels when my objects are large, small, fluffy, flat cute, clumsy or transparent; to understand how others feel; also to understand how I feel responding to the external world. Sometimes, I also make my art because I am shy to befriend people directly, but I still want to engage, play, hug and express my energy of love to them. Therefore, I invite people to play together and participe in my art, and hopefully some gap is shortened because of the time and event we experienced together.
Chen- Huan (Julia )Tsai is a Taiwan born, Chicago based artist working with drawing, sound, sculptural objects, and interactivity. She focuses on investigating how gentleness, empathy, cuteness, and other vulnerable qualities of being human can have value in art. She sees "qualities that we are sometimes shy to share out loud " as a major medium for her practice. Through her works, she explores the relationships between emotions, materials, form, scale, and imaginative world-building.
Under this context, she conducts various experiments to connect, to create intimacy, and to understand how people feel when engaging with her works. By merging disciplines to creative multimedia environments, her works also provide space for participants, especially grownups, to play and behave silly. Recently, many of her works consist of fantastical animals and silly noise making activities. She uses sound as a means of engagement.
She holds a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in Art and Technology and was the recipient of the SAIC Belong and Compassion Grant (2019).