Lin & Lin Gallery
Sep 16 - Nov 25, 2023
Conceptual sketch for Worn Away
All images courtesy of Lin & Lin Gallery
Lin & Lin Gallery is presenting Her and Her Children—Introduction and Prologue, a solo exhibition by Chen Cheih-Jen. The exhibition will include the artist’s most recent video works In a World Losing Multiple Worlds I (2022) and Worn Away(2022 – 2023), as well as still photography and sketches, from the series Her and Her Children.
The “Her” in the tiles refers to Chen’s mother, who deeply influenced him, as well as mother goddess figures from different cultural traditions, such as Prabhacaksuh—one of the many past lives of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha—who vowed, “Not until all of them have become Buddhas themselves, will I finally realize the Supreme Wisdom.”
The perceptions, desires, and thoughts of the vast majority of the world’s population are now dominated by the Internet, a pervasive control technology run by a corporatocratic empire composed of multinational financial capital groups, the military industrial complex, digital and biotech giants, and others. At the same time, the wealth of the 81 richest leaders of the corporatocracy has exceeded that of half the world’s population combined.
In light of the neocolonial caste system produced by this reality, Chen has been developing his project Her and Her Children since he started working on the video Notes on the Twelve Karmas at the turn of the last century. Throughout the project, he sets forth perceptual thinking that entertains the possibility of rebuilding subjectivity and society for the multitudes that have been discarded by ever accelerating mechanisms of seemingly transparent yet more stringent control. Discussing these themes from different perspectives in each video, Chen makes them either viewable as independent works, or as part of a larger narrative.
The title In a World Losing Multiple Worlds I suggests that there is no escape from the world in which we are forced to live. In the video, a solitary person stands in a nighttime wilderness, and is soaked by a driving rain suggesting a deluge of information. Chen portrays this plight of contemporary individuals as a juxtaposition between a calm demeanor and a continually shifting onslaught of information. In Worn Away, Chen takes humanity’s entrance into a new Dark Age as the starting point of his narrative. An unemployed individual who cannot apply for credit arrives at the Transit Area after he has no choice but to apply for the empire’s Optimization of Biological Function Assistance Program. While waiting to become some disposable subject of a human experiment, he gradually learns from other apparently useless and discarded people that it is still possible to rebuild his subjectivity even though he is faced with a seemingly impossible situation.
Chen Chieh-jen, Worn Away, installation view, Secession 2023, photo: Oliver Ottenschläger
Worn Away—Closing the Eyes
b/w photo,archival quality photo paper, 2022-2023, 85x150 cm
Chen Chieh-jen was born in 1960 in Taoyuan, Taiwan, and graduated from a vocational high school for the arts. He currently lives and works in Taipei, Taiwan. He has held solo exhibitions at the Vienna Secession; Art Sonje Center in Seoul; the Mudam Luxembourg; the Taipei Fine Arts Museum; Redcat art center in Los Angeles; the Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid; the Asia Society in New York; and the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris. Group exhibitions include: the Venice Biennial, São Paulo Biennial, Lyon Biennial, Liverpool Biennial, Gothenburg Biennial, Istanbul Biennial, Moscow Biennial, New Orleans Biennial, Sydney Biennial, Taipei Biennial, Gwangju Biennial, Shanghai Biennial, Shenzhen Sculpture Biennial, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Guangzhou Triennial, Fukuoka Triennial, and the Asia Pacific Triennial. Chen has also participated in photography festivals in Arles, Spain and Lisbon; film programs of various international art institutes include: Tate Modern, Mori Art Museum, Centre Pompidou and dOCUMENTA 13. He was also the recipient of the Award of Art China—Artist of the Year in 2018, the Taiwan National Culture and Arts Foundation's National Award for Arts in 2009, and the Korean Gwangju Biennial Special Award in 2000.
Chen Chieh-jen, Worn Away—Motivation and Methodology
Chen Chieh-jen, In a World Losing Multiple Worlds I—Artist Statement