2017 Art Basel Hong Kong
23 – 25 March, 2017
The World of Video Art: The Expansion of Visual Environment — A Video Art Presentation by 5 Taiwanese Artists since 1970
Chi-Wen Gallery for ART BASEL HK 2017 continues its programme on the history of Taiwanese art video/film by presenting some of the most important early Taiwanese video artists / film makers. The artists are Chang Chao- Tang (張照堂), Kao Chung-Li (⾼重黎), Wang Jung-Jieh (王俊傑) and Yuan Goang-Ming (袁廣鳴).
Save for one, the video artists in this presentation were born in the sixties, at the time of the emergence and early propagation of television in Taiwan. Taiwan’s first television station was launched in 1962 and in fact, the oldest artist in the selection, Chang Chao-Tang (b. 1943), worked for the state-owned China Television Company (CTV) as a photojournalist.
This generation of artists was also the nation’s first to have easy access to cameras, camcorders, editing stations and other tools for creating and manipulating video. The end of martial law in Taiwan in 1987, together with economic growth and the rapid development of electronic devices during these years, influenced the cultural development of Taiwan and consequently the work practices of Taiwanese contemporary artists began to change. Artists felt increasingly comfortable to explore different subject matters without limits and their creative realm was able to expand with the help of new technologies. Moreover, with their specific knowledge of new media obtained in the West, returning students advanced the concept of video art into Taiwan and induced further interest for exploration.
In 1984, Taiwanese artist Kuo I-Fen published an article, ‘The World of Video Art: The Expansion of Visual Environment’, in a local arts magazine that served as a sort of manifesto and opened the gates to a new creative territory. It’s from this article that we named our proposed exhibition as it clearly defines that range of creative output we’d like to show:
Kao Chung Li, whose works frequently obscure traditional distinctions between sculpture, photography, painting and experimental films, is one of the most notable artists from his generation. His writings and works on moving images continually encapsulate this ever- changing complexity of expression. We will be showing his slideshow-based (Slideshow Cinema VI : An Autumn Afternoon 2014) in which he skilfully combines the techniques of collage, assemblage and photomontage, addressing the delicate relationship between mechanically produced images and image- producing machines.
One of the artists who studied in Germany, Yuan Goang-Ming is highly adept at combining symbolic metaphors with technological media. His early experiments on images were inspired by experimental film and hand-held video camera. In this period, he not only engaged in developing new forms of image narratives, but also focused on the shift of meaning caused by the deliberate dislocation between image and installation in his video artworks. His experiments continued until the mid-1990s. On the Way Home (1989) was created within this context.
Wang Jun-Jieh’s maiden video artwork The Variable Form not only blended performance art and improvisation with art historical concepts, but also dealt with the intervention of newly emerged electronic media in contemporary art. After the lifting of martial law in the nascent democratized Taiwan, he, without any source of reference, created three video artworks addressing a riotous profusion of issues ranging from the satire on sex and social taboos, The Depth of the Epidermis (1988), to the criticism against mass media and political hegemony, FACE / TV (1989) and How Was History Wounded (1989).
One of the most celebrated and pioneering Taiwanese artists, Chang Chao-Tang ventured into experimental photography and broke onto the cultural scene when he was still a university student in civil engineering in the early 1960s.