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Artist: Hsu Che-Yu
Duration: 5 November – 25 December, 2016
Address: Rm204, Bldg 4A, 50 Moganshan Rd, Shanghai Vanguard Gallery
Tel: 86 21 62993523
The exhibition continued the style of “Microphone Test – Hsu Che-Yu Solo Exhibition” held last year at The Taipei Fine Arts Museum and it is also the artist’s leading creation of the 2018 exhibition plan. The exhibition revolves around “Family Image”.
The artist used his typical creation skills to reconstruct the animation of family image photographed by him and his family, but this time the protagonists are artist’s 37-year-old brother and his son less than 1-year-old. In the reality and fiction that reference and intertwine with each other, the protagonist’s private memory of life becomes a probe of the social structure where he lives in. The deviant behaviors of his brother before the age of 20, such as involved into fights, getting under arrest, exposure to drugs and selling counterfeit money are exactly products of the dissonance between the culturally defined goals and the institutionalized means in Taiwan society. The election turmoil his brother experienced after marriage was also a result of the friction of multiple values and codes of conduct between real life and social behavior in a structurally strained society. Individuals inevitably fall deep into this state of life, internalize and reproduce this structural tension of society. From the artist’s perspective, his brother appeared to be the protagonist in movie “Stranger than Fiction”, who can only be forced to live a life as a “Writer” settled by the pre-determined arrangements in the movie: fortuneteller’s instruction, parents’ expectation, education, politics, economy and etc. These aspects are as if the “Writer” in the movie, writing brother’s first half of life, while his brother repeatedly struggled and compromised these year in between. Following family practice, brother brought his son who was born a few months ago to the same fortuneteller for brother (also the family of artist), calculated on the birth of eight characters his son’s future education, work, marriage… all still blank to be written. The once ‘underage rogue’ rebellious brother, now has become the ‘Writer’ for his son as a father. Fate and man power are difficult to distinguish just as the reality and fiction in the image.
Hsu Che-Yu’s experience of mistaking grandfather’s real portrait for photo has spawned this exhibition of a series of photography. This is a kind of technology popular in the 1970s using charcoal pen to portray the portrait, later evolved into selecting types that have already been painted in the photo studio and then synthesize the photo by clipping figure’s headshot. This misidentification allows the artist to rebuild the relationship between photos and memories. Grandfather’s portraits are neither portrait based on real photographs, nor pictures drawn by artists, but a kind of irreversible and sourceless image. Before grandfather’s headshot was clipped with copy painting and made into memorial photograph, this ‘faceless portrait’ is an imageless memorial, the provider of stimulation, but cannot be traced back as memory. Here the timeliness of image does not come from the portrait producer, but constructed by the audience.