Tseng Kwong Chi is known internationally for his photographic series titled Expeditionary Self‐Portrait Series a.k.a. East Meets West. In this series of over 100 images, he poses in front of iconic architecture and sublime nature, investigating tourist photography in a playful juxtaposition of truth, fiction, and identity.
During his brief career, Tseng created color and black-and-white photographs of his contemporaries such as Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat, McDermott and McGough, Kenny Scharf and Philip Taaffe which form a rich historical archive of the New York downtown Art world of the 1980’s. Born in Hong Kong, China in 1950, Tseng Kwong Chi received training in traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy before moving to Canada with his family at the age of 16. He studied painting and photography at the L’École Superior d’Arts Graphiques at L’Academie Julien in Paris, France, graduating in 1974. Tseng moved to New York City in 1978.
Tseng joined the East Village scene and became a documentarian and denizen of the downtown New York club and art scene. He formed a close friendship with Keith Haring and became Haring's “official” photographer, recording Haring’s art process in over 40,000 images in the studio, art openings, his early subway drawings and late large‐scale public art commissions. These photographs form the most extensive Keith Haring historical archive in the world.
Tseng died in New York at age 39 from complications related to the AIDS virus. His photography has been exhibited widely, including shows at Centre Pompidou in Paris, the 2004 Shanghai Biennale, the 1985 Whitney Biennial, The Smithsonian Institute, International Center for Photography, The New Museum, The Bronx Museum, The Andy Warhol Museum, Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, and The Asia Society.