Rexy Tseng

Taiwanese Painter & Installation Artist

from: 01.09.2019   to: 30.11.2019

Rexy Tseng (Taiwan, 1986) is an internationally active visual artist who works primarily with the media of installation and painting.

In Tseng’s art we can see two ways of working that share similar concerns: installation and painting. In the installations, the artist uses technology to cast an ironic and playful gaze at human relations within globalized technocratic contemporary society. On the other hand, Tseng’s paintings look at relations drawing from more intimate thoughts and impressions, candidly depicting figures, their pain and pleasure defying the glorification of mainstream desires.

Photo portrait of Taiwanese artist Rexy Tseng in leather jacket.

His paintings focus on states of intimacy, duality and pairing between human relationships, be it relations of brothers, lovers, neighbors, friends or enemies. To represent that, the artist often uses the motif of unrequited desire, depicting it with dark humor, and setting it on the stage of contemporary daily living situations. The depicted figures are often entangled, in movement, and in a state of pain or pleasure. Tseng lets his paintings act as a invitation to the viewers to take a voyeuristic position into a private and visceral moment, and let it reflect onto themselves.

Diverse art-historical influences converge in Tseng’s painted work. While the artist mentions David Hockney, Frances Bacon, Luc Tuymans, Philip Guston as inspirations, also connections to the more collage-like and visionary paintings of Paul Wonner may be discerned, or to the work of Eric Fischl, with its depiction of psychological and sexual tensions underlying everyday relations.

As the artist explains,

Growing up under Taiwanese heritage, the suppression of personal wishes was a means of control, and deviation of wanting something outside of the culturally acceptable was shamed. It is through the depiction of the marginalized desires that I seek a higher degree of individuality. I aim to address moments of rejection, intimacy, exhaustion, division, and anger served with a humorous overtone and a sexual undertone.

Rexy Tseng, Artist’s Statement

In Tseng’s installations, he extends similar subjects of intimacy and pairing within sculptural materiality. The artist often uses domestic, mass produced objects as a starting point, bearing with them the connotative human presence and functionality. By means of mechanization and recontextualization, these familiar items are transformed into performative art objects representing human relations and their inevitable drama. Tseng places his installation pieces in the tradition of works by artists such as Arthur Ganson, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, and Maurizio Cattelan.


In 2009, Tseng graduated with honors at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

He has recently presented his work in solo exhibitions such as Against Composition at Art Center Pushkinskaya-10, Saint Petersburg; Ren Ren, Opposite + Grace Collection Gallery, Shangai, both in 2019; Qing Qing Qing at Hong’s Foundation, Taipei and Object.new at Yiri Arts, Taichung, both 2018. He has also participated in group shows such as Rexy Tseng + Charlotte Clermont at Fusion Art Gallery, Turin in 2018; I Was Meant to Love You at SÍM Gallery, Reykjavík in 2017 or Art Orienting at Arteles Creative Center, Haukijärvi, Finland in 2014.

An ardent traveler, Tseng has participated in artist residencies in numerous countries, including Italy, China, Germany, Rusia, Japan, Taiwan, Iceland, Finland, Hungary and France.

While staying at SomoS in Berlin, the Taiwanese artist concentrates on paintings that explore the nuances and dynamics of neighbor relations, responding to Berlin’s historic divide.

As Tseng puts it, “I am intrigued by the idea of someone who is potentially both a friend and an enemy, someone who you are in close proximity but has a potential of harm. I am interest in the tension and push-and-pulls between two entities in this context, and I would like to find a way to manifest it in Berlin. Not so much a political commentary, but more as a humanistic interpretation.”

SomoS is looking forward to present the results!


Rexy Tseng homepage


Rexy Tseng’s artist residency at SomoS is kindly supported by the
Taipei City Government Department of Cultural Affairs.

Taipei City Government Department of Cultural Affairs