On the Empire’s Borders Chen Chieh-jen 1996-2010has a grand exhibition in Taipei Fine Arts Museum. The exhibition is in retrospect toChen Chieh-jen’s in-depth perceptions of historical issues and social ambience in Taiwan.
In 1980s, Chen challenged the limits of expression under the Martial Law system and the conservative art establishment with guerrilla-style performance art and underground exhibition.
After the Martial Law was lifted in 1987, Chen stopped producing art for eight years. During this period he was supported by his brother who worked as a street vendor and started to examine his family history and military court and prison, ordnance works, industrial areas and illegal shanty areas in the environment where he grew up. Chen also explored the trajectory of Taiwan’s modern history; from colonial domination, the Cold War/Martial Law period, and Taiwan’s time as a key base in global capitalist production; to its gradual transformation into a consumer society, entry into the neoliberal global infrastructure after the end of Martial Law, and variations in zeitgeist under Taiwan’s status as a state of exception in international politics.
Chen believes that years of domination and the current mainstream neoliberal discourse have either hidden or eliminated much of the social reality and historical context of Taiwan, and Taiwanese society has lost the ability to think about the future from the context of the past.
Resuming his artwork in 1996, Chen created a series of photographic and video projects that re-imagine, re-write and re-connect his experience of living in a marginalized region and the intrinsic spirit of Taiwanese society, as well as propose possible ways of subverting dominant neoliberal logic. Working with local citizens, Chen combines experimental aesthetics with the unique poetic qualities of video to initiate dialogue and connections with audiences around the world. Chen emphasizes the use of visual art to suggest bodily memories, perceptions, elusive states of mind, and hard to articulate atmospheres related to ideological and political topics, especially those in this era of increasing neoliberal domination. His artwork is not only an act of resisting the historical amnesia that surrounds us, but is also about imagining new forms through which a “people’s history” can be written and new possibilities through which a “democracy of diversity” can be achieved.
On the Empire's Borders|Chen Chieh-jen 1996 - 2010
Chen Chieh-Jen
Non sale
23.5 x 16.5 cm