Sun, Mar 14, 2004 - Page 19 News List

A quartet of contradictory expressionists

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

Children's games and simple objects are at the center of Chen Jang-hua's interactive work, Role Play IV.


The current quartet of artists in residence at the Taipei Artist Village (TAV, 台北國際藝術村) are currently hosting an exhibition which explores the themes of expression with a selection of contrasting and vivid installation works that shock, amuse and perplex.

Entitled Tangible Expression (情感原件), the exhibition at the popular Taipei gallery and artist workspace sees works by Norway's Jannicke Laker, Vietnamese artist My Le Thi and Taiwanese artists Chen Jang-hua (陳政樺) and Chiu Chi-chin (丘紀堇) competing for attention, yet at the same time united by the sole premise of expression.

Visitors to the gallery are greeted by what could be considered a rather unnerving piece of expressionism entitled Sketch for a Rape Scene. Created by Jannicke Laker, the video performance art takes the viewer on an unsettling trip to a film set, where a director is having trouble getting the leading man to act out a rape scene.

While the theme of the Berlin-based artists' work has caused some controversy, with the art center being subjected to numerous phone calls from individuals outraged by the thought of rape being presented as an art work, the act of violence is only a small part of the work. The bigger picture, and one that is an underlying theme of all Laker's works, is one of expression though humiliation, pain and frustration.

"The actor can't force himself to act out such a violent scene," explained Laker. "His inability to perform the scene leads to embarrassment and irritation, while the director becomes frustrated and takes her aggression out on the actor. It explores a reversal of roles in which the woman becomes the abuser."

Vietnam's My Le Thi, takes a more lighthearted look at expression with a special work for which she employed the help of 130 Taipei residents, who gave her a pair of old shoes or allowed the artist to make casts of their feet.

Performance notes:

Taipei Artist Village (台北國際藝術村) is located at 7 Beiping E Rd, (台北市北平東路七號). Telephone (02) 3393 7377. The gallery is open from 10am until 6pm, Tuesdays through Fridays.

Tangible Expression will run until March 28.

Entitled Our Shoes, the striking work sees My filling the gallery floor space with an odd assortment of shoes and plaster casts of feet.

Expressing togetherness, My's shoe and foot collection might appear abstract and rudimentary, but, according to the artist, the aim of her work is to show that people of all walks of life, ages, races, religions and nationalities can peacefully occupy the same space.

The latest in a series of shoe works created by My over the past 10 years, the shoes will be shipped to Australia, where they will join thousands of others she has collected from around the world. Her aim is to one day display all of her shoes in one huge exhibition and bring together dozens of nationalities under one roof.

Expression through play is the aim of Chen Jang-hua (陳政樺) and the work, Role Play IV (角色計畫四). A game-like interactive piece, Chen invites visitors to stand on the wheeled stalls and pull each other around the floor space with ropes. Although much like a child's game, Chen's work allows visitors to express their joy at the interaction between humans and simplistic child-like objects.

Finally, Chiu Chi-chin's (丘紀堇) Mitose IV (細胞有絲分裂四) tackles expression through a whimsical look at gender and sex. Her large pink works are awash with phallic references and her installations include condoms on top of coke bottles and rows of ties doubling for penis sheaths.

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