Home / News / The 16th Taishin Art Award - Visual Arts Award Winner - Incarnation ─ Yao Jui-Chung Solo Exhibition

The 16th Taishin Art Award - Visual Arts Award Winner - Incarnation ─ Yao Jui-Chung Solo Exhibition

DURATION: 2018-04-20 ~ 2018-06-15
OPENING: 2018-04-20
VENUE: Taishin Bank Foundation for Arts & Culture

Comments on the finalist artworks Since his previous project,Mirage: Disused Public Property in Taiwan, YAO Jui-Chung has developed a panoramic vision to observe a wide range of spaces, from local sites and streets, to townships and cities, to the entire island, to even the East Asian geographic relations and contexts. However, different from the geo-political issue discussed in Mirage, Incarnation goes beyond the surface of Taiwan’s folk and temple culture and investigates the spiritual structure and endless desire therein. As the artist deals with the rise and fall of these large religious statues, he sidesteps the overly enthusiastic gaze commonly seen in traditional folk photography while refraining from expressing personal critique. Instead, he adopts a fully detached perspective to observe the phenomenon. By conducting thorough field research, publishing the photography album, and creating a grid-like display reminiscent of an archive room in the exhibition, Incarnation has not only delineated a unique cultural landscape on this island, but also put forth an eclectic, analytical viewpoint without compromising the meaning of the work, opening up an expansive space for later discussion. (Commentator: WANG Sheng-Hung) Jury’s Comment for the 16th Visual Arts Award Winner “Incarnation” contemplates and re-presents the bizarre spectacle of religious idols in Taiwan drawn variously from Buddhist, Taoist and even Animist iconography. The large body of photographs produced by Yao Jui-Chung is complemented by a three-channel video installation that represents a new departure for the artist. In the video, the reading of the images is inflected by an eerie soundtrack made up of a “complex radio spectrum” of space recordings by NASA. The work points to a collective crisis of the “hollowing-out” of spiritual belief and a sense of living in a time of ruined hopes. The jury recognizes the maturity of YAO Jui-chung’s approach to his art practice, and his ability to constantly renew his perspectives. “Incarnation” offers viewers the opportunity to reflect upon the space of “faith” and the complex motivations behind the creation and worship of these deity statues, while underlining the fluid navigation between materialism and spirituality in the Taiwanese context. About the Artwork Shooting for the Incarnation series of photographic works began at in early 2016, with the artist concentrating on photographing over 230 temples, cemeteries, parks, and theme parks throughout Taiwan over the course of 18 months. Specific focus was on the world of religious idols constructed as a projection of the self by the Han Chinese, and an understanding of the unique political relationship through the spatial geography of these objects of projected desire. Breaking away from scenes of “event,” “rites,” or “character”, YAO Jui-Chung focuses only on the “grand projection of power” worshipped by the faithful; in other words, the figurative image of the gods, leans toward typology or scenic photography rather than ethnographic photography. YAO photographs ordinary scenes rather than special events. Taking a cool, detached pose, these works do not include human figures; they eschew events, and are removed from crises. The subjects of the photographs are not religious architecture, folk activities, or religious rites, but express a destiny of desire in the concept of scale aesthetics. The desires of thousands unify to construct an outward appearance of the gods in one grand statue after another, but these appearances are actually illusory. An over-emphasis on appearance will lead to a life of bewilderment, eventually descending into an eternal cycle from which one can never return.

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