For English, please scroll down.
This scenario presents the portraits and archives of the nameless and anonymous, suggesting how three models of labor can escape their bio-political conditions. In other words, it is about how one could become a nameable individual.
Chou Yu-Cheng’s previous work tackles strategies of the redistribution of existing objects (such as materials, tools, readymade, or even another artist’s work) to discuss how to perceive and initiate an infrastructure, and then transform and reuse it as a new form of capital. In the series A Work History – Lu Chieh-Te, Chou attempts to illustrate the relation between the economics of artistic labor and bio-politics, by putting Lu on display. By highlighting an individual’s life through art, Chou’s exhibition asked two questions —“how to accomplish life?” and “how to become art?”. Ultimately it demonstrated the progression of a laborious life. Both an invisible and mobile laborer, Mr. Lu Chieh-Te constantly remains on shifting sands, as Taiwan offers no legitimate support or insurance for freelance workers. Mr. Lu’s sole production or trace, Monochrome, is a tip of the hat to his job as a temporary gallery guard. The black monochrome piece proves an unrecognizable, but autonomous composition without colors; harking back to the invisibility of the unconscious in Lacan’s terms. The painting can be seen as the manifestation of the psychological and unconscious social structure of labor in Taiwanese society.
An anonymous person is not a nameless one. On the contrary, he or she is either forced to or gives up their identity. We can then see the Hong Kong film Internal Affairs as an example of relinquishing one’s identity for the good of the state, borrowing Giorgio Agamben’s argument for sovereignty and life in our analysis of its lead character. Undercover police officer Chen Wing-yan is stripped of his rights to live as a normal citizen in order to carry out illegal yet government sanctioned assignments. Deprived of his individual identity he is forced to live as Agamben’s homo sacer (accursed man). The film’s setting certainly reflects the suspended political condition in Hong Kong after 1997 and asks: Has the critical moment to reclaim identity arrived? Or will identity always be subject to political motions?
The artist Chow Chun Fai, who participated in the legislative council election in Hong Kong, has been working to transcribe the relation between life and politics within the local context. Infernal Affairs, “I Want My Identity Back” is one of Chow’s movie painting series, which depict HK film stills from the 80s and 90s to reveal the subjectivity of collective seeing. The film painting might be considered a slice of a motion running parallel with the HK consciousness, or perhaps as a bridge that connects HK style, image, and life. Chow allows us to hold a gaze on this cinematic still to reserve a new and open interpretation for this single frame. Perhaps Chen Wing-yan will have a chance to reclaim his lost identity, not following the film script, and instead being driven by the flowing brush.
Hu Xiangqian’s many projects address the possible expressions of labor. Reconstructing Michelangelo is a story about the willingness to become an artist. The protagonist Shao Zhenxing is an apprentice under the artist Hu Xiangqian, who conducts his artistic practices of body, mind and spirit to set on a journey that confronts emptiness and self questioning, while sharing abstract ideas for art and art related experiences. In the final performance, Shao Zhenxing attempts to be a Michelangelo-style character, a symbol for the first identifiable art laborer, which allows him to begin shaping his image of life. It is a test through the process of enlightenment. The pressure that Shao dealt with for the sake of self-exhibiting, and in separating himself from his master, further reflects the narrative of people exhibiting autonomous aspirations in contemporary group-think culture.
These three works of art gaze upon one another: three protagonists, three uncertain lives from Taiwan, Hong Kong and China compose a circulating narrative and create our mirror images that are frozen and suspended, as the scenario attempts to connect with new agencies in the unknown political climate.
These three works of art gaze upon one another: three protagonists, three uncertain lives from Taiwan, Hong Kong and China compose a circulative narrative and create our mirror images that are frozen and suspended, as the scenario attempts to connect with new agencies in the unknown political climate.
CHOU Yu-Cheng creates alternative modes of operation and contemplation within existing mechanisms to expose implicit problems and create new sets of exchange value through unconventional collaborative models. His recent projects uses life experience, art history and biography as his subject to create an interplay between aesthetics and society to investigate the transformation and interpretation of modernity through a variety of media including sculpture, painting, literature and theatre. Chou lives and works in Taipei.
CHOW Chun Fai
In the temporal gap between the production and reception, CHOW Chun Fai’s nonlinear narratives are imbued with hidden yet intense political expression. His often humorous paintings drawn from cinema represent the vague and ambiguous social conditions of class and Status as a dilemma in reality. Chow lives and works in Hong Kong.
HU Xiangqian is known for performances that create unusual everyday situations. Through a theatre of the absurd he directs the evidence of existence as a critical act directed towards social and political institutions. Through a precise and sophisticated manipulation of the boundary between performance and reality he creates new contiguities and self-reflections. The political power of his work is based in these short circuits that invalidate the limitations of perception. Hu lives and works in Guangzhou and Beijing.