With Crisis of Now - Taiwan Project - Contemporary Asian Photography Part III features work by three Taiwanese artists, Wei-Li YEH, LIU Ho-Jang and CHENG Ting-Ting — to present their contemporary photography through multi-cultural observations, curated by Chun-Chi WANG.


Wei-Li YEH’s photographic series Three Places for Marguerite Duras (2003–2006) consists of seven photographs taken by Wei-Li Yeh in an abandoned house next to his residence. The series documents four consecutive years, with every sequential photo captured from the same angle, and opens with Yeh's blurred self-portrait. The series chronicles real or staged events as the artist returns to document the gradual changes and deterioration of the space. The photographs are presented in various formats: printed on canvas, mounted on acrylic or as light boxes, or lying on a table. Their considered mounting and display highlights the materiality of each photograph as an object. In Three Places, for Marguerite Duras, #2 of 7, 2004, a cracked and tarnished polyurethane coating over the photograph obscures the image of the abandoned house, with its collapsing asbestos ceiling panels and a hint of greenery beyond the window. The addition of the surface treatment discolors the photographic image in a manner not unlike memory. The series is an homage to French novelist, screenwriter and experimental filmmaker Marguerite Duras and her stories of departure, loss, and rootless existence. Yeh blurs fiction and fact with a materials-based technique similar to that which Duras deployed as she “writes herself a stable world,” as Maxine Hong Kingston has described. Yeh, in his own way, attempts to make sense of being neither here nor there and coming to terms with his own in-betweenness—he was born in Taipei, moved to the United States as a child, and returned to Taiwan twenty years later. He stabilizes himself through revisiting and documenting his world in the photograph-object.


Ting-Ting CHENG’s photographic series Robert Storey (Lonely Planet Taiwan)(2013). This series collects the five editions of Lonely Planet Taiwan published by Robert Storey between 1987 and 2001, and selects the same passages in each edition for comparison, then marks the key words that have changed in the passages. After researching through a number of English written tour guides of Taiwan, artist Ting- Ting CHENG applied the five editions written by Robert Storey from Lonely Planet between 1987 – 2001 in the project, and compared the subtle changes through time to explore the transformation of the society, identity and politics of Taiwan, and the oscillating relationship between the West and the East, exploring her own identity through the perspective of the other. Who is Robert Storey? The vinyl texts on the wall were extracted from the Lonely Planet books, not only signaling the hidden “authenticity” behind the “knowledge” provided towards the East/foreign cultures, but also questioning his role of being the representation of Asianess. As an outcome of the tour guides, in the video, Cheng collected clips from Youtube of foreign tourists having snake cuisines in the famous tourist spot – Snake Alley in Taipei, combined with her voice over, reading the texts introducing Snake Alley in the tour guides from 1981 to 2011 chronologically. Continuing CHENG’s interests in the perspectives towards the foreign cultures, and the way they were represented by mass media, this is the artist’s first project applying her own country, Taiwan, as the subject, hoping to find out how Taiwan is viewed and filtered by the context, and question the concept of tourism, exoticism and speculation in a broader genre.


LIU Ho-Jang’s photographic series B5-Project (2012-2017), this work is instal- lations made with furniture in combination with old pieced-up wood plates from Southeast Asia that I found in Taiwan. With the installation project, I continued to use the series of images in combination with local objects or events, proposing the meaning of rebirth in the images as a kind of communication tool and extending local supply of exchanged materials under globaliza- tion. In the work, wood materials are recombined and collaged; I also rubbed them so that they revealed new surfaces. “Feldman Lumber” is actually a manufacturer of new materials, reflecting comparisons between raw and treated materials at different times in a capitalist system. “The End of Newtown Creek” and “Waste Manage- ment” were respectively shown in and “B5” projects. In corresponding to the space and objects of the venues, I didn’t put forward specific texts as explana- tions. Rather, by representing a vague medium at the sites through lightboxes similar to advertisements (the dissolved author; a sorrowful space), I imply the “virtual border of substance” that involves one’s own labor and local capitalist system. This is about alienating and re- constructing medium. From the making of lightboxes to the “B5” project in, I carried out different stages of art production practice. From relations of general sub- jective order to multiple designations of identity as well as collaboration with different artists, I try to make ideal connections with material systems of production. If, re- garding labor relations in parallel to the local, we can take art as a possible extension and continuation of life, how can we avoid the capital?

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