Post-pop artist ‘Never Say Good­bye’

The China Post - - ARTS & LEISURE -

al­lude to the coun­try’s mixed past of pain and joys. Th­ese seem­ingly par­al­lel and op­pos­ing feel­ings have struck a bal­ance in Wu’s art through which he in­vites view­ers to ques­tion their past, present and fu­ture.

With this prin­ci­ple in mind, the artist projects his “sex­ual” as­pi­ra­tions for the past, present and fu­ture through a model wear­ing a la­tex mem­brane mask act­ing un­der the spell of old Tai­wanese songs in three video in­stal­la­tions. In the first set­ting, the model per­forms a magic act with a plas­tic tree; in the sec­ond in­stal­la­tion, the model stares at you while wear­ing var­i­ous mil­i­tary cos­tumes and sado­masochis­tic gear on his mouth; and in the third in­stance, the model walks down mem­ory lane in sailor cos­tume at dif­fer­ent mil­i­tary bases. The three video in­stal­la­tions, ti­tled “Un­for­get­table Lover” (2013-2015, 難忘的愛人), “Beloved” (2013-2015, 心所愛的人) and “Farewell, Spring & Au­tumn Pavil­ions” (2013-2015, 再見春秋閣) re­spec­tively, will be dis­played along­side two pho­to­graphs on light boxes in the spa­ces of the Palazzo delle Pri- gioni, a for­mer pri­son sit­u­ated next to the Palazzo Du­cale.

“Our Hearts Beat as One” ( 2001- 2015, 永協同心) and “Blind Men Grop­ing down the Lane” ( 2008- 2015, 瞎子摸巷) again evoke mem­o­ries and nos­tal­gia em­bed­ded within each of us while re­flect­ing the lin­ger­ing lim­i­ta­tions of life. Through­out his works, he crafts and di­rects the pas­sage of time, as it un­folds in his com­plex and shift­ing se­quences. Through th­ese, the artist also de­nounces the con­tra­dic­tions be­tween the medium, pho­to­graphs and video in­stal­la­tions, and the nar­ra­tive fic­tion that it pro­duces.

“The props used in my video in­stal­la­tions orig­i­nate from my child­hood mem­o­ries. When the tele­vi­sion had yet to reach the com­mon house­hold, and our only forms of en­ter­tain­ment were on the streets,” Wu said. He re­called the ma­gi­cians sell­ing home reme­dies in the night mar­ket and the trav­el­ing stunt­men who per- formed shows and cir­cus acts on de­mand.

Back at that time, he pointed out that per­form­ers would also build tem­po­rary stages to wel­come deities with tra­di­tional Tai­wanese pup­pet shows fea­tur­ing in­di­vid­ual char­ac­ters with strong, in­ter­nal per­son­al­i­ties that can be eas­ily iden­ti­fied by their ex­ter­nal ap­pear­ances. Per­haps that is the unique Tai­wanese folk and pop cul­ture that he hopes the West­ern public will no­tice, al­ready en­joy­ing the var­i­ous in­ter­pre­ta­tions or re­sponses his works will bring due to the dif­fer­ent au­di­ences. In his own words, he wants to “re­con­nect our soul with con­tem­po­rary po­lit­i­cal phe­nom­ena.”

Born in Changhua, Tai­wan, in 1956, Wu Tien- chang has lived in Keelung for most of his life. He re­ceived a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in Fine Arts from the Chi­nese Cul­ture Uni­ver­sity ( 1980). His work has been shown in­ter­na­tion­ally, in­clud­ing at the Taipei Fine Arts Mu­seum ( 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 1990, 1987); the Kaoh- siung Mu­seum of Fine Arts, Kaoh­si­ung ( 2011, 2010); the Soho Photo Gallery, New York ( 2010); the Hong Kong Art Cen­tre ( 2010); Es­lite Gallery, Taipei ( 2010); Art Bei­jing, China ( 2009); the Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art, Taipei ( 2009); the Na­tional Mu­seum of Fine Arts, Taichung ( 2009); the Na­tional Art Mu­seum of China, Bei­jing ( 2009); the Taipei Cul­tural Cen­ter, New York ( 2008); and MOMA Con­tem­po­rary, Fukuoka, Ja­pan ( 1997).

Wu Tien- chang will not be the only Tai­wanese artist to present his work in Venice as the Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art Taipei ( MOCA Taipei) will also host a solo ex­hi­bi­tion also in­cluded in “Col­lat­eral Events” of Ya­hon Chang (張耀煌) , ti­tled “The Ques­tion of Be­ings” at the In­sti­tute Santa Maria della Pi­eta.

Wu Tien- chang is rep­re­sent­ing Tai­wan in the 56th Venice Bi­en­nale In­ter­na­tional Art Ex­hi­bi­tion.

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