2022 Berlin・Taiwan Exchange Exhibition
Duration: Aug.25,2022(THUR) – Oct.29,2022(MON)
Curator: VT Artsalon
I Yao Jui Chung Aug.25 (THUR) – Sep.07 (WED)
II Isa Ho Sep.10 (SAT) – Sep.24 (SAT)
III Wen Chi Chen Sep.29 (THUR) – Oct.12 (WED)
IV Ada Kai Ting Yang Oct.15 (SAT) – Oct.29 (MON)
Venue：Farbvision Art Space (Schönhauser Allee 28, 10435 Berlin, Germany)
Exhibition “Variable Spacetime” plays with the irreversibility of time sequence and the dislocation of geographical spaces. Through keen observation and rearrangement of culture and religion, the 4 Taiwanese artists, Jui Chung Yao, Isa Ho, Wen Chi Chen and Kai Ting Yang explore how quarantine has enabled the witnessing of the mutual impact between nature and civilization.
The 2019 outbreak of COVID-19 utterly changed how people lived after the 20th century. Looking back, Taiwan was like an alternate universe in 2020, with people dining and traveling as usual and only realizing the seemingly dormant virus was silently spreading across the island in May of 2021. New lifestyles and working from home have caused a deep impact on human society, and people seem to have disappeared from the world, leaving behind empty streets and cities, and shopping malls with lights turned on but no one in sight.
This exhibition centers around the state of “being quarantined” and features the inescapable fate of time stopping and reincarnation. As we are restricted from leaving our homes during the pandemic, we remain in our rooms, separated from the outside world, without others to serve as references for our existence. It is as though we have entered a distorted tunnel of space and time, falling into an eerie, bizarre reality that does not align with human cognition. During the pandemic, most of our movements are restricted to limited spaces, disorienting our sense of time and space. However, this situation has also led to the reflexivity toward the ontology of human society, as in, human beings are included in spaces and everything emerges in specific spaces and the passings of time. To quote the French philosopher Merleau-Ponty’s reflection on the dependency between humans and space: “Our bodies exist primarily in space; to be more precise, the body belongs to space.” The social condition of humans becoming codependent on technology has somewhat broken the barriers of language, geographical distance, and time, allowing the construction of a metaphysical, spiritual paradise in this new century. I am not me, and others may also be me; the broader concepts of time and space contribute to the existential inquiries of the self and others. Just as Latour states in We Have Never Been Modern: “Modern people are always separating nature from society, mistakenly thinking that one does not influence the other, and go further to categorize the problems of the world.” Let nature return to nature, and allow society to return to society; this state of being quarantined has actually proved the connection between nature and civilization.
The spread of the virus and efficient social systems have created a space for introspection. all cultural phenomena are changing, and no knowledge of the world is static. The world is not still but is filled with constant change and conflicting perspectives. As the world deviates from the foundation of experience, spiritual entities also change.
An era and group share common experiences and are not the sum of their parts; instead, it is something that can be experienced in the hearts of each individual. This project also shows the various profiles of experiences, whether it be art, religion, the economy, or education, all of which can be gateways to seeing the different spacetimes that exist in this world.
“ Variable Spacetime ” Berlin・Taiwan Exchange Exhibition
The Hell + series is a recent photographic project of Yao Jui-Chung. Yao takes a long time to visit temples around Taiwan and investigates Taiwan’s traditional beliefs. The artist tries to “make heaven like hell and hell like heaven” through his lens. For this project, Yao has been to temples or parks that feature scenes from a Taoist or Buddhist-Taoist hell with animatronic dioramas, hellish murals and images of people suffering. He photographed statues and animatronics found in these dioramas. Instead of presenting the traditional aesthetics of classical sculptures, these statues and animatronics embody an eerie beauty and quirky loveliness of Taiwan’s particular aesthetics.
Throughout Taiwan, Yao has visited the following temples and venues: Jingang Temple in Shimen District and Baogong Temple in Linkou District, New Taipei City, Nantian Temple in Changhua, Madou Daitian Temple in Tainan, Whiteman Toothpaste Tourism Factory in Shuishang Township, Chiayi, Dagangshan Chaofeng Temple in Alian District and the Spring and Autumn Pavilions of Chi Ming Palace in Zuoying District, Kaohsiung. The Haw Par Villa in Singapore is also included in this project. Yao interprets the aesthetic of Han Chinese folk culture with his field-research-like artistic approach and a detached way of viewing. Yao took the photographs with a wide-angle Polaroid with effects such as flash and out-of-focus effect, chemical stains, instantly-developing, uneven coloring, blurring, tilted horizons, and light leak effect, creating a testimony of “Guan-luo-ying” (séance). This project highlights how folk culture and beliefs shape and interpret the image of hell.
Kṣitigarbha, a bodhisattva revered in East Asian Buddhism, once made a vow not to attain Buddhahood until the hell is emptied. Yao takes “Hell +” as the title of his work since the five poisonous qualities, attachment, anger, ignorance, pride and jealousy are difficult to eradicate. If one falls into eternal reincarnation, it is because their karmic hindrance hasn’t been removed. When one is overly attached to the external appearance or obsessed with the physical body and misses one’s buddha nature, they will never get rid of falling into hell. Therefore, Kṣitigarbha will never achieve Buddhahood. If one could behold his buddha-nature with an enlightened mind, one will come to understand the ultimate voidness. Just like a clear mirror reflects the dust; however, the dust does not fall into the mirror. Whether it’s blissful heaven or infernal hell, all conditions are only shaped by a single thought.
We examine things we don’t know or ignore and the significant consequences this might have. The one-sided media and people’s beliefs may – on one hand – simplify our understanding, but on the other – especially in this information explosion era – that which we do not know is growing alarmingly.
We are now living in a time when we can no longer rely on experience and common sense. This is a new age above and beyond our understanding and a time in which we will constantly reconfirm our ignorance. Predictions will be difficult to make based on the past and furthermore we do not understand that “we actually know nothing”.
The video piece “Peony” is an adaptation of the song “HATE” by the girl group 4-Minute. The K-Pop dancer performs the choreography used in “HATE”, but slowed down. The Kun Opera dancer uses traditional Kun Opera choreography to mirror the movements and to show the link between the past and the present.
It is obscure and extravagant imagery has led to a wide variety of sensory interpretations,believe that Revelation axis describes future events with the seven cognitions growing
into the psyche or believers throughout the age and a reemergence or continuous rule ofa World to Spiritual flesh system with contemporary capabilities described by us in ways
familiar to myself, meanwhile, symbolic interpretations consider that Apocalypse axis doesnot refer to actual people or events but is an allegory of the spiritual path and the ongoing struggle between good and evil.
What The Buddha Taught
In this exhibition, I try to share the past life fragments and the new learning at this stage with audiences in Berlin. I also want to talk about how contemporary artists inject positive energy into life and culture through extraordinary life experiences.
I named it “ What The Buddha Taught (中譯: 菩薩教會我們的事情)”, in order to echo the Buddhist philosophy, Taiwan mythology, Fengshui of temples, classical music, etc. things I was studying recently. To me, I believe that “ Art is religion”. As a result, I plan to turn the Fabvision space into a temple of contemporary art, for blessing and purification. Visitors can experience sound installations, art instructions, performance art, agarwood, stoves, spells, fantasy literature, pop culture, ready-made objects with scriptures, and cloud sketches.