Pervading Yang Chi-Chuan’s (b. 1985, Taiwan) work is a delicate, mnemonic quality engaging with our relations between people, places, objects and events. One may think of her works, that span drawings to installations, as a series of narratives about the relationships between things. Permeating her practice is a story-telling quality – warm, endearing, engaging – prompting the viewer to be transported into scenarios and be subtly privy to a wide range of questions regarding life, from family to politics, urban environments and various cultural fabrics.
Running throughout her work is the subject of domesticity, one that is close to individuals hearts, the foundational core of our early years. ‘Picturing the stories you have told me’ (2018), for example, is a series of crayon drawings accompanied by a story-telling audio. The delineations, made of a prime medium used in classrooms as a child, evoke youth, a time of the past. The drawing’s delicacy and size suggests fragments, subtle captures of memories, snippets of stories, here and there. Complemented by a vocal narration, there is a sense of immersion, as if the viewer is stepping into the intimacy of this world and welcomed, trusted. These various angles support the title while equally adding a layer of mystery, the ‘you’, the ‘me’, begging the questions of when, where – leaving these as ones for us to lean in and find out.
The everyday is equally manifested in ‘Nine Lines’ (2018), a large-scale installation that portrays a jumble of electricity lines, entangled, leaning in on eachother. As if uprooted from the streets, one bends, the other still carries a microphone, each linked the one to the other. On the one hand one thinks of our surroundings on the streets, that one passes everyday and takes for granted, but one also thinks of change, of departing eras, each street replaced by taller, more efficient, more organised modes of energy transport. Yang thus creates a vehicle for contemplating the shifts in our society, whether urban or societal. One could also say that each pole in ‘Nine Lines’ has a bodily presence, anthropomorphic – standing, leaning, arms intertwined.
Developing from this notion of immersion, Yang has also created various installation works that involve a setting, as if entering a delicate theatrical environment, a backdrop for a lengthier story. ‘Essays: A Platform’ (2017), for example, presents multiple hours of narration in the context of a multi-storey raised floor, the entirety dimly lit by a delicate drop light. It is atmospheric, nearly spectral, as if engaging with beings and bygones from the past. There is an architectural element, the use of pebble dash, that one finds typically in the outside of buildings. A drain is even incorporated, heightening the sense of having stepped into an exterior environment despite being indoors.
Ultimately, Yang creates a delicate practice across mediums that is about recounting, preserving, pasts, thoughts, persons, acting as an interpretative visual cataloguer or keeper of secrets. In a world of flux there is a stillness to her practice, one that invites you to step in and discover at your own pace what is or indeed was. Through capturing yet sharing these insights, Yang leaves a human legacy of insight, and empathetic discovery filled with warmth.
Yang’s recent solo exhibitions include: Plastonki, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany (2020); Have a Good Day, Taipei Artist Village (2017); Tick-Tock, Things That Can Happen , Hong Kong (2017); Essays During the Night, Juming Museum, Taipei, Taiwan (2017). She is the Finalist in 2018 Art Sanya Huayu Youth Award, China and 2017 Taipei Arts Award.