Spanning the central entrance to St. George’s Hall, one of the sites of the 10th edition of the Liverpool Biennial, is ‘Chemical Gilding, Keep Calm, Galvanise, Pray, Gradient, Ashes, Manifestation, Unequal, Dissatisfaction, Capitalise, Incense Burner, Survival, Agitation, Hit, Day Light’ (2015), an installation by Taiwanese artist Chou Yu-Cheng. A bold slab of galvanised steel – a common metonymy of department stores and consumerism that simultaneously connotes characteristic elements of cheap housing – the work stands dotted by highly physical indentations. Initiated whilst conducting a residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin) in 2015, the work as object as statement commenced as a clean steel plate, which members of the public were invited to throw rocks at, an activation that will be reactivated during the Biennial. As such it evolved from a reflective surface to an interactive sculpture interrogating the act of protest. Presented here in the context of the Liverpool Biennial ‘Beautiful world, where are you?’ – a title that derives from a line in the poem Die Götter Griechenlands written by the French/German poet Friedrich Schiller in 1788 and set to music by Franz Schubert in 1819 – it responds to the urgent call, from artists and audiences, to reflect (and act) on a world in social, political and economic turmoil.
A graduate from l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, and the research programme La Seine, Chou Yu-Cheng has gained international recognition for his dialectical interplay between the source and results of his creations. Through his selective conversations, Chou shapes a minimal yet deliberate set of intellectual and aesthetic tricks, which ultimately play on the properties of art, object and space. Recent solo shows include Taipei Fine Art Museum, Taipei; Kaohsiung Fine Art Museum, Kaohsiung; Kuandu Museum, Taipei; Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Colorado. Group exhibitions include Asian Art Biennial, Taiwan; Queens Museum, NY; Taipei Biennial, Taipei; Mücsarnok Museum, Budapest; China National Convention Center, Beijing; Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei. Chou held a residency at the Chinese Centre For Contemporary Art (CFCCA), Manchester in 2013 and received the Taipei Art Award, Taiwan in 2012 as well as the Taishin Annual Visual Art Award, Taiwan in 2011. Chou’s work is held in multiple museum collections including the Hong-Gah Museum, Taiwan and CFCCA, UK.
Beautiful world, where are you? Chou Yu-Cheng
‘Chemical gilding, keep calm, galvanise, pray, gradient, ashes, manifestation, unequal, dissatisfaction, capitalise, incense burner, survival, agitation, hit, day light’, 2015
Installation view at St George’s Hall, Liverpool Biennial 2018
Photo: Thierry Bal