Chen Shun-Chu is representative of mid-career artists who came to prominence in Taiwan’s post martial law period. Images for his intensely emotional artwork come from his own family. In the 1990s he started making mixed media work with photographic images, which introduced freshness and rigor into the art world of Taiwan with their restrained style and subtle connotations.
As Chen’s first major retrospective held in Taiwan, the exhibition will include photographs, photo installations, and hand painted fragments of old furniture from the 1990s to the present. The retrospective is named for coral stone, a natural building material found in the Penghu Islands, to express the artist’s complex feelings of attachment for his hometown and family. Using their wisdom of local materials, settlers who arrived in Penghu several hundred years ago gathered light and porous coral stones from the ocean to construct walls and houses to withstand the powerful winds that frequently lashed the islands. These structures still stand today, protecting descendants of those first ancestors from Penghu’s cold winds and burning sun. Arranged chronologically on the third floor of the museum, the exhibition charts the rich course of Chen’s career. The show calls to mind the small mounds of coral stones seen in Penghu. The irregularity of these stones reflects the ups and downs of family life in his hometown, and their network of pores suggests the interconnectedness of memories.
Chen began with photography, has employed old family photos and fragments of furniture, and actively explored the addition of different media in his work over the years. Through this exhibition the audience will observe how Chen has developed his art and the language of photography. Additionally, by presenting the trajectory of the artist’s career, the museum presents how photography, as an essential means of artistic expression, might employ multimedia, space and the surroundings as means of creative practice and exploration. The exhibition enriches the possible significance and uses of images, while extending important concepts in photography.
About the exhibition
Dates: 2015/01/24 – 2015/04/26
Venue: Gallery 3A&3B&3C, Taipei Fine Arts Museum
Courtesy of the artist and Taipei Fine Arts Museum, for further information please visit www.tfam.museum.