We are bound to meet: Chapter 1. Many wounded walk out of the monitor, they turn a blind eye and brush past me.
Aug.09.2019 - Sep.08.2019
Curator: Tsai Jia-Zhen
Although the exhibition title ‹We are bound to meet› appears to be romantic, it intends to confront and treat the discernible and indiscernible wounds of historical trauma. The subject in this project is not the Self (individual, personal) against the Other, but a “we” that means you and I, and I am also conscious of you. This “we” refers to the people and events that have happened in a historical timeline, with everything in the present shifting into the future. In the tide of ever-changing events, only by understanding history as a unit of you and I, and not regarding it as other, can one begin to reach the essence of the wound, and see the truth of the event, and the truths of the past, present, and future. Only by encountering the past, and by people facing up to the wounds of an era, and confronting traumas caused by political history, can we then become “we” with “they.”
As a consequence of Japanese colonization, Korea and Taiwan share similar historical experiences in modern times. Therefore, ‹We are bound to meet› invites works that explore historical issues in Korea and Taiwan. This curatorial approach will take the form of a trilogy, presented successively, similar to the installments in a classical novel (here called Chapter One, Chapter Two and Chapter Three). The project showcases Ching-Yuan Chen’s filmic video: Staggering Matter (2011, 67’51”) as the prologue and Chapter One of the trilogy, which alludes to the fact that Korea and Taiwan have been pawns in a political game between USA, China, Japan and Russia from the period of Japanese colonialism to the neoliberalism of today.
Chapter One is entitled “Many wounded walk out of the monitor, they turn a blind eye and brush past me” from the short story “Carton-Box City” of Taiwanese art critic Val Ling-Ching Chiang who passed away suddenly in 2015. The short story was a metaphorical novel that Chiang wrote while participating in one of my projects in 2014, using unrequited love as an analogy for an unsuccessful student movement. Like the words in poems “calling out to the dead”, and the azaleas of Korean poet So-Wol Kim, words of despair and forlorn love, can actually be patriotic sentiments. This chapter will exhibit works related to Japanese colonial history, an era that although now a chapter in our history textbooks, is one which we have not yet been able to process the wounds and hurt that we have received from generation to generation. In a time when the international, political and economical situation is grim, it is important to confront and contemplate these wounds.
Sojung Jun’s work examines writer and architect Yi Sang, and how his work represents a shrewd insight into the transitional period from the colonial period to a capitalistic state, hinting at new possibilities of art as resistance to artistic attitudes. Fei-hao Chen is working on a project that centers on Charles W. Le Gendre (1830-1899), an American diplomat based in Xiamen, China, who was asked to intercede following The Rover Incident. Reconstructing various historical archives related to this event in the form of video, with the “Song of Reminiscence” of Taiwan’s indigenous Paiwan as its crux, the project will uncover historical connections between Japan, USA, Korea and Taiwan.
Chung Jaeyeon’s work dialogues with Liang-Pin Tsao’s photographic works. These two artists question the present purpose of architecture that was built specifically as political propaganda. In Jaeyeon’s moving image work, her personal memory conflicts with the official narrative, which views the building as a symbol of colonial power, which prevents a sense of closure from being reached. Consequently, she intends to reveal the constant dissonance that occurs as personal memory becomes subordinate to an official memory that stands for a consensus formed by political ideologies or collective interests. The photographic works “Becoming/Taiwanese” by Liang-Pin Tsao aim to document Chinese Martyrs’ Shrines, formerly Japanese Shinto shrines, and their relations to various communities and ethnicities in Taiwan. The project attempts to underscore the conflicts in the arena between the dead and the living, the sacred and the secular, and national history and democratic values. The relational tensions between Chinese Martyrs’ Shrines and the Taiwanese, as well as the contemporary significance of Chinese Martyrs’ Shrine in the context of transitional justice, will be thus explored.
Chapter Two is entitled “Looking back at the exhibition entrance, opposite the screen, the entering viewer blazes like fireworks exploding in the night, with the glow of fire illuminating the surrounding silent faces” and will attempt to explore modern protests and social movements in Taiwan and Korea, and is currently in progress.
Written by Jia-Zhen Tsai
About the Curator
Jia-Zhen Tsai has exhibited independent and collective curatorial project ‹Ambiguous Being, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Taipei, 2012›, ‹Unspoken,Regulate/Rhythmm, Month of Performance Art Berlin@tamtamBerlin, 2012›, ‹Live Ammo, Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, 2011›, ‹Borderline .Mirrorlike, Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts and Huashan Culture Park, Taiwan, 2008›, ‹Israel Young Artists Interchange Exhibition, Taibei, 2008-2009›.