Is a skull a symbol of life or of death….or both.
Skulls feature in the cultures of many societies, notably in South America where they form a remembrance back to those who have died, both friends and enemies, and also bring good luck to the for the future. In some parts of Asia they are distinctly evil and not to be invited, while in other cultures they are a symbol of impermanence and of life. Their origins in art link to tattoos first of sailors and then of prisoners, particularly in Mexico, and to church monuments and gravestones from medieval times onwards, while Damien Hurst is perhaps the most famous artists who have used skulls in their art.
Jacky Tsai’s skulls are beautifully detailed with different themes such as gambling and poker and religious architecture, items from which were the building blocks of the images, while he created a huge floral skull for the fashion designer Alexander McQueen. His work has previously been on show at the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea and the London Art Fair, culminating in the major solo exhibition ‘Reincarnation’ at Unit London in Mayfair, including his images combining pop art figures from China and from the west in scenes where superstars appear pole dancing and playing roulette watched over by warlords from Chinese triads. Such is the interchangeability that you are not sure who is good and who is evil in his paintings, each of which is a narrative in its own right.