WHAT AM I?
IF I CAN'T
In the world of art, what are the conditions of realism that equate a completeness of a work with a completeness of information? And what are the mechanisms that enable an exhibition to become a temporary reality? We must pay attention to the framework with rationality and concepts as its guiding criteria that incrementally hinders observation when shared experiences of daily life no longer provide easy clues to reality. This undermines the prioritization of aesthetic attributes, while the work becomes objectified and the shared language between the viewer and the artist becomes increasingly alienating. The viewer is left gazing at a work awaiting an artistry that grows more distant, and the ability to extract aesthetic elements as an object of perception is gradually lost.
In recent years, Chen Ching-Yuan has tended toward a neo-classical ambiance in his painting, partly as a conscious reduction of the explosive quantities of information in his previous body of work, and partly as an elevated attentiveness to the aesthetic elements in artistic creations. Narratives, perceptions, and symbols are consistently fragmented in his oil paintings, transforming his work from “information” into “perception” as it enters a bigger picture of his overall art practice. Most of the ambiguity within comes from an understanding that the struggles with reality are rarely simply about rights and wrongs, but are rather an access to an operational reality that further reveals ways in which contemporaneity affects one’s thoughts and perceptions. Here, his paintings harmonize and balance the real world. This realness does not merely exist in a shared reality; clues can also be found in the world constructed through his paintings.
The exhibition appropriates a lyric from the song “Thanatos: If I Can’t Be Yours” played over the end credits of the feature film version Japanese mecha anime Evangelion as a self-dialectic between the internal and external worlds of the work. This dialectical process is also a mode of observation that further examines the internalized perceptions within this temporary reality through the practice of exhibition production. Here, creativity is a behavior that reconstructs the thinking and perception of the subjective self. Ultimately, we see that through his paintings Chen Ching-Yuan has made perceptual adjustments to the real world, in another world evoked by the temporary reality of the exhibition. In the same vein that these words are not an interpretation of Chen Ching-Yuan’s solo exhibition, the mode of operation thus produced is only a path that leads to a contemplation and perception of Chen Ching-Yuan’s world of painting. This open-ended conclusion is but a method, and not a definitive statement of the exhibition.
When I Look Back on My Life, the Dust Turns into Stars
27 x 35 cm | 2016 | Oil on canvas