Shen Chao-liang’s photo exhibit ‘Illusion Reality’ on display 幻影現實 沈昭良攝影展

Sat, Oct 20, 2012 - Page 11

In recent years, photographer Shen Chao-liang has won numerous awards for his photography. Since 2005 he has been working on a photography project about Taiwanese vaudeville troupes, which has been turned into a three-part series — Stage, Singer and Stage and Taiwanese Vaudeville Troupes — for a photography exhibition. Stage, a series of works depicting the mobile stages used by performance troupes, is the main subject matter that has earned Shen international acclaim.

Since applying last year, Shen was granted approval to hold an individual exhibit of his works at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM), with his Taiwanese vaudeville troupe series as the central theme. The exhibit is the most complete collection of his work on the topic since devoting himself to the project in 2005. A total of 88 works are currently on display, along with the first-ever photography video installation to be on display at the museum. A reading area has also been set up as part of the exhibit, allowing people to flip through published collections of the artist’s work, local and international exhibition catalogues as well as articles about Shen.

The exhibit begins with the Stage series of large stand alone prints of the stages, decorated and painted with designs. The main display consists of pictures of the stages arranged in a totem-like setting. Shen has intentionally photographed the stages without audiences or performers present, giving them a surrealistic appearance on the streets, in front of temples, and inside factories. At the end of the display there is a short two-and-a-half minute video that combines all of the mobile stage photos into a rapid succession without sounds and crowds. Aside from the mobile stages, there is also a visual contrast made between singers and mobile stages on display, providing a realistic portrayal of the popular mobile stages and the Taiwanese performance troupes using them.

Vaudeville troupes have been a common part of Taiwanese culture since at least the 1970s, when they reached their peak, usually appearing at weddings, funerals, and other special occasions. Originally, tents were set up for performances, but eventually they started using “electric flower cars” (diesel trucks refashioned with a stage, special lighting and a sound system), and have more recently begun using diesel trucks with hydraulic engines. The trucks are prepared for each performance, with screens coming down, allowing them to be transformed into elaborate stages.

As popular culture has changed, the popularity of Taiwanese vaudeville troupes has diminished. As a professional photographer, Shen has spent a lot of time on his long and arduous journey, gradually creating an impressive visual record of this once vibrant part of Taiwan’s entertainment industry. Somewhere between boisterousness and quiet scenes, modernity and tradition, and an illusory sort of reality, Shen has managed to capture and portray a very significant aspect of Taiwanese society. “Illusion Reality: The Photo Exhibition of Shen Chao-liang” will be on display in Gallery E at TFAM until Nov. 25.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

近年屢屢於國際獲獎的攝影家沈昭良,自二00五年展開台灣綜藝團的拍攝計畫,並陸續發展出《舞台車》、《歌手與舞台車》以及《台灣綜藝團》等三系列攝影作品,《舞台車》也成為沈昭良最受國際關注的拍攝主題。

去年沈昭良透過申請機制獲選在台北市立美術館推出個展,即以台灣綜藝團系列為展出主題,而這也可算是沈昭良近年投入該議題攝影創作以來,最完整的一次展出,共計展出八十八件作品與一部首次於北美館播放的錄像影片,同時於現場設置閱讀區,提供觀眾翻閱藝術家歷年攝影集、國內外主要展出目錄以及專題報導等。

展覽的規畫由《舞台車》大尺幅獨立攝影系列作品為開場,圖騰設計與裝扮的舞台車是畫面主體,刻意拍攝無觀眾與演出者的時刻,讓這些舞台車猶如超現實般地降落在各地街頭、鄉間廟口、甚至室內廠房等。隨後展示陳列一部濃縮為二分三十秒的快速影片,相對應著相同場景卻靜默無聲、亦無人群擁簇的舞台車。除舞台車之外,還有歌手與舞台車的視覺對照;《舞台車》舞台與《台灣綜藝團》的庶民寫照等。

台灣綜藝團是大約於一九七0年代盛行於台灣的庶民文化,出現在各式婚喪喜慶場合,原來以搭棚台方式演出,後來漸漸發展出以貨車改裝為具備燈光音響的簡易電子花車,之後又變成油壓開展式的現代化舞台車,每當於定點開展後,夜幕低垂時,燈光亮起,就變成五光十色的大舞台。

然而,隨著庶民文化的改變,台灣綜藝團也逐漸式微,沈昭良以一位攝影工作者,藉由漫長的拍攝歷程、走過的曲折路徑,逐步記錄了這個曾經活躍的在地娛樂產業,在喧鬧與凝視、現代與傳統之間,現實卻如同幻影,架構出台灣特殊的人文速寫。「幻影現實:沈昭良攝影展」即日起在北美館地下樓E區展出至十一月二十五日。

(自由時報記者凌美雪)