TAIWANESE ARTISTS VENICE BIENNALE
Though they span architecture, film and photography, the four Taiwanese artists featured in the 53rd Venice Biennale exhibition ‘Foreign Affairs’ share a common focus. Each looks at the unequal treatment of the disadvantaged in the midst of globalisation, and has taken action through distinctive, personal, and practical means.
Furthermore, they have all engaged in dialogue and interaction with other areas of the world.
The insulting treatment recently accorded Chen Chieh-Jen while applying for a U.S. visa has precipitated discussion of the plight of the Taiwanese people under the post-Cold War, post-colonial, and neo-liberalist global order.
The new work, Empire’s Borders (2009), is a film that opens showing the various and sundry checks that Taiwanese citizens must endure when applying for a U.S. visa for business, tourism, or family reasons.
Watch excerpts from Chen Chieh-jen’s complete video works at the Asia Society… on the effects of globalization on the marginalized in society… and Lingchi Executions
Among his best known works are photos chronicling illegal workers in New York’s Chinatown (China Town); The Chain, a series of photographs taken at Longfatang, a controversial psychiatric shelter in southern Taiwan; and the matchmaking and courting rituals that bring Taiwanese men and Vietnamese women together in marriage (Double Happiness).
Chang began his chronicling of the lives of illegal immigrants on the streets of New York’s Chinatown in 1992, traveling to Fujian province in China to visit their families and relate the unique tales of these people that live on the margins of society. Hong John Lin notes that the most remarkable aspect of the photography process is that “the photographer becomes a part of the subjects’ lives, so that a total state of disarmament is reflected in front of the camera.”
Cheng – Ta Yu
Cheng-Ta Yu’s latest work is a video documentation of two Philippine women who married Taiwanese men and work in the same building in Taipei.
After more than a decade living in Taiwan, local language has become a tool in their daily lives, but in his interaction with them, Yu tries out three different languages (Mandarin, Taiwanese, and English), taking on some of their idiosyncratic pronunciations in his conversations.
To conclude the video with a note of levity, the women sing a song in Mandarin in an effort to liberate everyone from the language barriers that inevitably formed in their conversation.
Source: Press release via Universes in Universe
- MOMA acquires Israeli artist Guy Ben-Ner video Moby Dick – Apr 2009 – another artist who takes family and the domestic environment as inspiration
- Middle Eastern, Indian, Pakistani show seminal works in Lines of Control – interview Hammad Nassar – Feb 09 – a travelling exhibition looking at issues arising in nations, like but not including Taiwan, ‘made’ by partition
- UBS collecting global and video art – Aug 2008 – since 2000 the UBS collection has focussed on global diversity and immigration