Tao Hui, Yu Cheng-Ta, Victoria Sin, Su Misu
5 October – 2 November, 2019
We are delighted to present an exhibition of works by some of the artists with whom we have worked closely together in the production of the videos we screen. Participating artists are Tao Hui, Yu Cheng-Ta, Victoria Sin and Su Misu.
Tao Hu, The History of Southern Drama, Scene A, 2018
“The History of Southern Drama, Scene A” is conceived as a site-specific solo-project by Chinese artist Tao Hui, executed in Taipei during an artist residency hosted by Chi-Wen Gallery. This is an ongoing project and will continue elsewhere with the realisation of Scene B.
As a prelude to this project, Tao wrote a script for the video that centers around a fictional character, an elderly woman named Leng Shuihua, who authored a book titled The History of Southern Drama as her only literary work ever. Tao’s script depicts an interview that loosely connects Leng Shuihua’s life with the book and encapsulates a story behind it.
The History of Southern Drama, in itself a fictitious book, is not so much historical as it is in a sense biographical, based on the situation between China and Taiwan during the 20th to 70th year period of the Republic of China (ROC), approximately from the 1930s to the 1980s. In Scene A, through a dramatic perspective and a tone of ordinary language, Leng Shuihua’s background story comes alive by way of the video recorded interview, photographs and objects.
As becomes clear from the scripted interview, six chapters of the book have been adapted into film and television and the visual representation of these will be realized in Scene B through the production of short films that will evoke emotional release.
Yu Cheng-Ta, Tell Me What You Want, 2017-18
“Tell Me What You Want” is an ambitious 4 screen video project about the interactions of a tourist and the inhabitants of an exotic culture, culminating in friendship. The project was created between November 2015 and June 2017, when the artist Yu Cheng-Ta flew frequently from Taipei to Manila, all the while assuming identities of that of a traveller, a friend, and a film producer. The tile of the project “Tell Me What You Want”, refers to a sort of a greeting in the red-light district of Malate in Manila, which in turn refers to the local transactional structure used on the streets. This transactional structure can be described as a kind of an exchange or barter system. The artist’s relationship of exchange started when he was on a street in Malate, where as a foreigner he engaged the local small-time hustlers, referred to as “Marketing Boys”.
Owing to the needs of shooting his film, Yu enters into negotiations as well as transactions with the men. The various relationships and processes of exchange are intertwined with reality, the social network, the diverse longings and the imaginative perspectives across cultures. From these unusual encounters, he developed a friendship. Yu incorporated the negotiation of exchange of the local streets into the production of the project as a whole. He kept experimenting with the social and economic frameworks beneath these relationships of exchange, while at the same time, he tried to draw out the definitions of friendly exchange and transaction from the viewpoints of different cultures, disclose the bias rooted among different nationalities, and uncover the hidden class consciousness behind tourism and international relations.
The final result of his time in Manila are four video mockumentaries: “Malate”, “David”, “Joara”, and “The Shop”, which are independent yet synchronized with one another. Separately each film symbolizes the products derived from various people, cultures, viewpoints, and longings. The artist himself, through the reflection of his foreign character “David”, is the commonality implied in the four films, and through which many of the core issues of this exhibition are exposed.
In 2017 Chi-Wen Gallery introduced RC Foundation as the exclusive sponsor of the solo exhibition at Hong-Gah museum in 2017, which was showed the full four screen version.
A special monument to this film project in Manila was created by artist and gallery as part of their presentation in the Kabinett section at Art Basel Hong Kong 2018. This installation is a life size copy of the convenience store that his film character David gifted to the “Marketing Boy” Junio in exchange for his help during the film production, combined with the showing of the film “Tell Me What You Want – The Shop”.
In 2018 “Tell Me What You Want” was screened at Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen and at Centre Pompidou, Paris, followed by a reading performance.
Victoria Sin, If I had the words to tell you we wouldn’t be here now, 2019
Renowned drag queen Victoria Sin combined their drag with multimedia art forms since 2013. Alternative narration is the aesthetic prominence of their video works.
Produced and commissioned exclusively by Chi-Wen Gallery and performed on January 16th 2019, Victoria Sin created “If I had the words to tell you we wouldn’t be here now”, a performance using storytelling, drag, and elements of Taiwanese and Chinese opera to question how language not only gives shape to thought, but shapes thought. The performance staged a conversation between a desiring queer body and a traditional Taiwanese string instrument, the Pipa. Set in Chi-Wen Gallery’s own water garden, the work brings together narrative and image in order to bring to light how identity and experience are not only represented but also created and reinforced through language.
In 2019 “If I had the words to tell you we wouldn’t be here now” was restaged at the opening week of the 58th Venice Biennale and the video of the performance at Chi-Wen Gallery was part of the screening programme of Serpentine Gallery’s “General Ecology Project” at the PLANTSEX symposium. Later this year in November it will restaged once again at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Toronto.
Su Misu, I am a fake but my heart is true, Part II, 2018
“I am a fake but my heart is true, Part II” was produced by artist and gallery in 2019 as part of “Su Misu solo- exhibition – I am a fake but my heart is true”, and will be part of a group show “Guilty Party” at Wing Luke Museum in Seattle in 2020.
Taiwanese photographer Su Misu is known for exploring gender, BDSM and LGBTQ+ topics. Coming from a medical background, she’s interested in the “Synthetic”, the “Unnatural”, and other embodiments, using photography to discuss the struggle between the real and the illusory. Her work draws from Lacan’s psychoanalytic concept of the mirror stage, which is where a subject becomes alienated from itself and is introduced into an imaginary order. Despite her young age, Su’s photographic work is one of the highlights of our presentation due to her unique approach and skill in style and composition.
“I am a fake, but my heart is true, Part II” is a criticism of the vast objectification of the human body in modern society. The images depict futuristic doll-like mannequins represented by actual living human models, lying in despair on a pile of used cardboard boxes and other worn-out corrugated sheets and recyclable materials. Because anything that exists fades eventually, Su Misu poses a question about exploitation and abandonment.