HANSEL TAI is a Chinese artist and designer working and residing in Estonia.
Tai’s work focuses on the Post-internet Epoch, in which naturalness is shadowed by the body cult,
deformation, subcultural signs and high gloss metal, and digital voodoo is materialized into fetish objects.
He graduated in 2016 from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, where he studied Art Jewellery. He
has continued his artistic research at the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn as well as the Gerrit Rietveld
Academie in Amsterdam. In 2019 he obtained a Master of Arts degree. He has exhibited in the Netherlands,
Germany, France and the USA among other countries.
The exhibition Nude Jade by Hansel Tai takes on the sacred material: jade. Celebrated as the ultimate
symbol of perfection and purity and valued for its translucent, skin like glow, jade is often carved into
intricate mythological and religious forms.
The focus of Hansel Tai's research is the LGBTQ+ culture among young Pan-Asians on a global scale. And he
does it by questioning traditional symbols. Tai's pendants, formally reduced and abstracted, are penetrated
with heavy ready-made circular barbell piercings. With this gesture – which is inconceivable, on many
levels, to those familiar with traditional jade carving – Tai's subdues the sacred jade, aiming to evoke a
strong emotional response from the viewer.
In this body of work Tai translates and subverts the traditional symbolism, through a transgressive and
alienating action, puncturing the stone with piercing, in an almost impossible act.
This is the first exhibition for Hansel Tai in A-galerii and he is presenting his iconic work on Jade. His
upbringing and education in China, and his later exposure to the work methods of the Estonian Academy of
Arts, with its very pronounced aesthetic, barely left a mark on him. For this solo exhibition, he takes the
best of both worlds, and with precision and determination he produces work in which materials and
techniques are the means to a very specific end.