Chu ChunTeng, Chang Li-Ren, Hu Ching-Chuan
November 23 – December 28, 2019
Chi-Wen Gallery is pleased to present a group exhibition by three Taiwanese artists Chu ChunTeng, Chang Li-Ren and Hu Ching-Chuan. The exhibition is on view at the gallery from November 23 to December 28, 2019.
Chu ChunTeng – “The House of Sleeping Beauty”, 2005
Chu ChunTeng’s early cinematic work “The House of Sleeping Beauty” was inspired by the Kawabata Yasunari novel “House of the Sleeping Beauties” from 1961. Taken in an old military dependents’ village, the video employs a montage of portrait-like pictures to weave into a larger narrative structure of an elderly veteran and his clandestine trips to a club. As his graduation work, “The House of Sleeping Beauty” has participated in several international film festivals. Later, during his studies aboard, Chu shifted the direction toward Fine Art and became attentive to the ways in which people in the East and West interpret each other’s cultures, an approach that directly related to the issue of value identification and other questions raised by his own circumstances.
Chang Li-Ren – “Alien Mage”, 2011
Chang Li-Ren’s “Alien Mage” investigates a group of people who are “mental outlaws” in contemporary society. They are known as “Wotaku” but there is also a legend about how they named themselves “Magician.” Most of the images, music and voices were collected from the Internet when the artist searched for videos that were suitable for the monologues and in addition he inserted some parts that were filmed by himself. The grammarless speech-synthesized French monologues, translated via “Google Translate” directly, were written by the artist himself as well.
Chang Li-Ren – “Battle City 1 – The Glory of Taiwan”, 2010 – 2017 and “Battle City 2 – Economic Miracle”, 2018
Chang mostly creates video installations, conceptual projects, and animations. In his works, he aims to construct a virtual world situated in between reality and imagination by means of narration. The artist spent several years building a small-scale city that was not modelled on any existing one but instead was constructed on the basis of his impressions of cities and his memories as a child. The first two episodes of this project, “Battle City 1 – The Glory of Taiwan” and “Battle City 2 – Economic Miracle”, will both be screened in this exhibition.
The first episode, “The Glory of Taiwan”, depicts collective hysteria in the face of incompetence. The second episode, “Economic Miracle”, portrays an imagination of how capitalism operates in its extreme form in a city. An unrecognized political entity has been transformed into a special economic zone, where ideological martial law has been replaced by economic martial law to further control the population. It is this form of microcosmic politics that the city model attempts to represent.
The storyline starts from a character, Chen Chih-Chiang, a nobody with a lowly socioeconomic status. After the pursuit of a woman he admires (Xiaoming) and being turned down, Chen becomes a terrorist attempting to destroy the world out of despair. Subsequently, he ends up being wanted by the government and the one whom every person in Taiwan is after. The U.S. government, as the protector of Taiwan, is so worried that they send an army for military operations, which further results in countries around the world setting up military bases in Taipei.
Chang Li-Ren, Ming Rih Li, 2017
Based on his own experiences during his stay in Tainan for the “Battle City” project, Chang created the 3D installation “Ming Rih Li” depicting an old film studio fallen into disrepair over the years. From two hidden holes the viewer can see images of the scenery outside the window of the artist studio, the inside of the studio and finally a model city. The first-person narrative reveals Chang Li-Ren’s feelings towards the local district, as well as a mind journey through his art practice.
Chang Li-Ren, Cheng Yuan, Rui Lanxin, FM 100.8, 2019
Chang Li-Ren’s latest work “FM 100.8”, in collaboration with Cheng Yuan and Rui Lanxin is a project of video installation about a city. Bygone scenes that have been left behind, empty hallways and standardized entrances and rooms, and landscapes that have become outdated in today’s time, all of these seem to suggest a doctrine and order that used to exist and also a collective existence and action that used to take place. Similar experiences that had occurred throughout different periods in time seem to partially overlap and connect, as they interlock with one another in different times and spaces It is now on view at “City Flip-Flop”, C-Lab, Taipei till December 8, 2019.
Hu Ching-Chuan, That‧This, 2018
For “That ·This” Hu Ching-Chuan’s used a downloaded 3-D software to scan spaces with her mobile phone, producing fragmentary and blurry images by moving the lens arbitrarily when recording. Hu then put the images of different environments scanned at different times in a new, virtual, artificial space coordination. As such “that space and this space” becomes “here and now” and appears in the same virtual time-space.
The artist’s mother emigrated from Myanmar to Taiwan in pursuit of an ideal life. She often contacts her family who emigrated to United States on video call. After Hu taught them how to make panorama scans with their mobile phones, they scanned their local area and living space and sent the images to Hu via the Internet. Hu then juxtaposes those images with her living space in Taiwan. The voice in the VR video is a dialogue of ten years ago between her mother who has immigrated to Taiwan and her aunt who has immigrated to the United States and they still spoke in Burmese. They have not seen each others for a decade but keep in touch through technology on the weekends. Their daily conversations are shifting through different spaces in the VR world. “There” and “here “ become closer to each other yet still far away. The fragmentary and blurry images represent the real appearance of sense and memory.
Hu Ching-Chuan, Uncanny Field, 2017
Hu Ching-Chuan’s “Uncanny Field” explores human relationship, time-space and coordinates under the complex network of multidimensional information technology, which combined form many different platforms of communication for people to stay in touch in cyberspace. Many of the artist’s relatives live in different countries around the world and to stay in touch they use live video messages in the weekends. The internet has helped people overcome time differences and distances. People now start to rely on the virtual world, which creates fragments of emotions and memories.
In the pre-production process of this work, Hu tried to stay in the actual living space of her relatives and friends who usually contact her only through the Internet. She used a 3D scanning software and an arbitrary lens capturing method to scan their daily living space, producing irregular, dilapidated and blurry images. Then, she imported these images of different environments scanned in different time slots into a 3D software, and put them in new virtual, artificial spatial coordinates. In an attempt to explore the era of accelerated development of information technology, the artist indicates that people may get more than what they bargained for, while on the other hand, the communication is also slowly becoming incomplete.