TSENG KWONG CHI (1950-1990)

Jean-Michel Basquiat1987, printed in 224 x 20 in.(60.96 x 50.8 cm) Cibachrome print

In the 1980’s Chi did a series of studio set group portraits consisting of the artists that lived in the East Village at the time. Most of the artists appear in costume and are playfully posed. A notable shift occurs in Chi’s work during this period of drug-induced performance-portraiture. In
one sense, the portraits mimic tableaux d’histoire, 19th century photography in which each person represented an allegorical figure through the use of costume and affected dramatic expression. In these portraits, Chi is no longer impassive and solitary. Instead he seems the
ebullient master of ceremonies, holding the shutter release aloft. However, in another sense, these images document a community, which at the time was ravaged by AIDS. Also during the 1980’s Chi documented the nightlife in the East Village dance clubs and the New York art world with an anthropological zeal.
Image size (without black border): 17 5/8 x 17 1/2 in.