Chen Chieh-jen & Chien-Chi Chang
24 May - 2 August 2014
Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF), Paddington in association with the National Art School Gallery (NAS Gallery), Darlinghurst presents work by two pre-eminent Taiwanese artists, Chen Chieh-jen and Chien-Chi Chang.
SCAF presents a newly commissioned immersive installation Realm of Reverberations by Chen Chieh-jen. The installation comprises four major filmic artworks focusing on the Losheng Sanatorium construction site in Taiwan. The artist has invited four very different women to share their unique connection to the Sanatorium and subsequent displacement from this ‘home’. These audio components are also presented in small wooden wagons, distinct vignettes that come aurally alive in the small spaces, forcing audiences to lie down or be seated. The short films are complemented by four audio interviews with marginalised women that visit The Wayside Chapel in Potts Point, Sydney, who also share their personal experiences on the theme of ‘home’. The same stories, re-envisaged by the artist, shall be presented within SCAF’s Culture+Ideas programme as a full length screening- please join our mailing list for screening times as they are confirmed.
NAS Gallery exhibits three works by Chien-Chi Chang, an internationally-respected Magnum photographer fascinated by the human conditions of alienation and connection. His work focuses on people whose bonds to society, family and community have been severed. The powerful photographic series The Chain (1993-1999), is a collection of 45 portraits of inmates in a mental asylum in Taiwan. Chained together in pairs, mentally impaired inmates of a so-called (Buddhist) sanctuary (which, in reality, operates commercially as a huge chicken farm manned by unpaid workers) face the viewer. Dressed in the poorest of ill- fitting garments, bent over or proudly upright, these members of a usually unseen community symbolise the human condition at its most elemental. In a new work commissioned by SCAF, Side Chain (1993-2014) more deeply explores Chang’s connections with the Lung FaTang Temple and its patients more widely. This is presented alongside China Town (1992-2011) which brings our attention to the plight of illegal Chinese immigrants to New York whose living conditions and decades-long exile makes us shudder in shame at the comfortable lives we enjoy.
Chen Chieh-jen was born in 1960 in Taoyuan, Taiwan, and graduated from a vocational high school for the arts. He currently lives and works in Taipei, Taiwan. During the 1980s, the Cold War/Martial Law period in Taiwan, Chen challenged the limits of expression under the Martial Law system and the conservative art establishment with guerrilla-style performance art and underground exhibitions. His artwork reexamines the narrative form and meaning of images through a dialectic of image/power, filmer/filmed, memory/history, reality/artifice and blending/variation, exploring new possibilities for images and for narrative. Chen Chieh-jen has held solo exhibitions at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum; Redcat art center in Los Angeles; the Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid; the Asia Society in New York; and the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris. Biennales (Triennial) in the Venice, Lyon, São Paulo, Liverpool, Sydney, Istanbul, Taipei, Gwangju, Shanghai, Fukuoka, and the Brisbane. Chen has also participated in photography festivals in Spain, Lisbon and Arles; Chen Chieh-jen was also the recipient of the Taiwan National Culture and Arts Foundation’s National Award for Arts in 2009, and the Korean Gwangju Biennale Special Award in 2000.
Chien-Chi Chang was born in 1961 in Taiwan. Currently based in Graz, Austria, Chien-Chi has spent over a decade working in New York’s Chinatown, documenting the lives of immigrants there. These pictures have appeared in National Geographic magazine, as well as the New Yorker, Time and German Geo. The series earned Chang first place in the category “Daily Life Story” from World Press Photo in 1999. That same year, Chang won a grant from the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund for humanistic photography and was awarded the Visa d’Or in magazine photography in Perpignan. He was named the Missouri/NPPA 1999 Magazine Photographer of the Year. He has exhibited at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, The Venice Biennale, and the Sao Paolo Bienal and at the International Center of Photography in New York. Chang is a member of Magnum Photos.
A full-colour catalogue published by Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation accompanies the exhibition and includes a commissioned short story by Man Booker Prize- shortlisted author and playwright, Deborah Levy; a contextualising essay by Sophie McIntyre, Curator, writer and lecturer at the Australian National University, Canberra, and an artist interview between Chien-Chi Chang and Dr Natalie Seiz, Assistant Curator of Asian Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
SCAF Project 22
A heartfelt thanks to The Wayside Chapel, Potts Point for their assistance with this project.