Now is the Past by Hai-Hsin Huang

Finding you or me in her books.





“Through drawing, discover the other side hidden under the outer layer of mundane life.”

Guests at a banquet, being blind drunk, make an exhibition of themselves, presenting an unbearable sight; or primary school children go outdoors and create “life drawings” with their smartphones and tablet computers. When we attempt to capture each and every such social phenomenon we are so used to, we will realize how funny and ridiculous they are. Under her brushes, they are brimming with humor and wit; executed in the form of rapid sketches, they represent an honest record. Various kinds of people, as seen through her eyes, have been put on display in galleries all over the world, making one laugh a hearty laugh, or split one’s sides with laughter.

Hai-Hsin Huang, born in Taipei and currently based in Brooklyn in New York City, is an artist adept at blending social and political issues into her works without losing their light-hearted mood. She has compiled the ordinary life she observes at museum visits, as well as the scenes before her eyes as a spectator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in New York City, into an album of paintings titled There is No Future. She depicts neurotic behaviors of arts museum sponsors, and a group of old ladies ablaze with jewels forming a circle around a plaster nude statue, on which they fix their eyes with deep concentration. With a range of human behaviors captured, each page is packed with pleasant surprises. Now is the Past is a mini-sized book measuring only 3.7 centimeters in width and 4.7 centimeters in length, the size of a matchbox you can hold in your hand. Each page features a picture zeroing in on human characters depicted in There is No Future. Pictures of people framed in a small box are like windows allowing people from outside see through what is inside.

At the venue of her album’s fresh release in Taipei, she has even transferred her original pieces to posters, with the facial appearance of museum staff and observers erased so that visitors can fill the void with their own faces, or mischievously, those of their friends or of anyone they want to poke fun at. This installation appears to be of a mischievous nature, but it might really be the faces of you or me being drawn inside the museum!