Thu, Aug 17, 2006 - Page 15 News List

Art in the city

If you haven't made it away on vacation, there are three art exhibitions to titllate the senses

By Susan Kendzulak  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Love is not an easy game to play for Cheng Shih-chun.

PHOTOS: SUSAN KENDZULAK

If you're city-bound this summer, there are several refreshing art exhibitions to excite, soothe or even shock you. The works on view range from the lighthearted to the digitally interactive to outrageous performance art. In the exhibitions we see several art stereotypes: the professorial artist didactically telling his viewers about color theory; women as nurturers trying to give back to their communities; and the rock ‘n’ roll burnout artist.

Singing in Your Brain is Tsao Hsun-chih's (曹訓誌) first solo exhibition. He has four projects on display and takes a playful approach to dense color theory and ideas regarding perception.

The first work is a video of a woman singing the well-known Happy Birthday song, except there is no sound coming from her mouth. On seeing her mouth move, the viewer mentally fills in the melody. Tsao says suggestion is quite overpowering to the senses and that even though we use these faculties, we often do not pay much attention to them. Focusing on how our minds can fill in melodies or perceive color and sensations is a lot like “singing in one's brain.” In another room, Tsao uses two wall-sized projections to illustrate that point. In one, an optical illusion occurs as multicolored pixels seem to fill the screen, but the video was made with only two colors, red and green, and the mind is tricked into perceiving purple, yellow, orange, white, and gray.

Over at the Taipei Cultural Center is a small exhibition organized by Taipei Artist Village director, Su Yao-hua (蘇瑤華). Titled Women in Taipei it brings together three female artists who try to include community, family and place in their art. Hsu Chia-jung (許嘉容), the only featured artist to live in Taipei, uses her personal family photos to construct three-dimensional mannequins. Using transparent positive film, she stitches the snaps together and uses a light bulb placed inside the mannequin to create a glowing image.

Thai artist Teerawat Mulvilai exhibits the private journals of Southeast Asian women who have made Taiwan their home, while American Lexa Walsh exhibits her Immortalization Project in which she collects nostalgic objects from people and then conducts interviews to examine sentimental attachment. This modus operandi has become a trend at the Taipei Artist Village where visiting artists from around the world exchange personal mementoes with members of the local community.

In addition to the exhibition at the Cultural Center, the Taipei Artist Village runs a schedule of art, dance and performance programs that change monthly according to which artists are in residency at any given time. The artist village has a pleasant cafe with fresh baked goods so one can take a peaceful rest between gallery rounds.

At IT Park, performance artist Cheng Shih-chun (鄭詩雋) has become a transgressive rock star. Photos of a previous event show passers-by stamping out cigarettes into a heart shape drawn on his upper arm as if to say love hurts. To further make his point, photo lightboxes glow brightly where the embers burned his skin. A drum kit, guitars and amps are strewn throughout the gallery. This is no commercial exhibition, as sex toys, cash, and butts are the detritus of the painful and difficult passage of adolescence into adulthood.

Exhibition notes:

What: Singing in My Brain by Tsao Hsun-chih (曹訓誌)

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