Chou Yu-Cheng | Refresh, Sacrifice, New Hygiene, Infection, Clean, Robot, Air, Housekeeping, www.ayibang.com, Cigarette, Dyson, Modern People [10.11.17 – 07.01.18]
“Refresh, Sacrifice, New Hygiene, Infection, Clean, Robot, Air, Housekeeping, www.ayibang.com, Cigarette, Dyson, Modern People” is an exhibition by the Taiwanese artist Chou Yu-Cheng, to be presented in November at Edouard Malingue Gallery, Shanghai. The name of the project came about from the juxtaposition of several keywords, referencing Jean Baudrillard’s interest in modern objects—especially new objects—in The System of Objects, while at the same time tending towards the poetic.
With its multiple shifts and evolutions, modernization has impacted our cognitive faculties. From within such multifaceted and wide-ranging phenomena, “hygiene” becomes key, here referring to the Taiwanese slang phrase, “without knowledge and without hygiene” (referring to someone dumb, dirty, and with no standards). Relative to knowledge, hygiene is relatively abstract and yet seems to possess a yardstick by which to gauge modernization—and from there on works out new codes and protocols for objects and events. Though these can all be encapsulated by the analyses of capitalism, this project does not expound on the history and economics of modern hygiene epistemologically but rather borrows from “hygiene” to elaborate on and shape artistic expression: melding forms of tradition and of the contemporary, and even endeavoring to develop its aesthetics through more hybrid and plural forms.
Different from a usual purifier, the Dyson Pure range of purifying fans powerfully projects and circulates airflow, simultaneously capturing gases and 99.95% of particles as small as PM0.1. Air becomes an apparent, but invisible, crucial presence in the exhibition since the artist believes he can produce better air through “machinery” and attempts to generate new ideas through readymades, at the same time making the image of the readymade conspicuous. Take the example of the gallery in the present day: a modern image and modus operandi provides the space in which to display artworks, while the adjustments and conditioning of air, cold and warm, clearly constitute an indispensable element of modernity. The ways in which the gallery has evolved in terms of its equipment or infrastructure have become a subject matter outside that of the artistic, all the while echoing and reflecting the broader surrounding phenomena of modernization.
Chou Yu-Cheng is adept at the dual manipulation of aesthetics and the social. He focuses on the workflows undergirding visual production, paying attention to the ways whereby alternative modes of operation and reflection are generated within a pre-existing system of things. He creates corresponding alternative benefits in “atypical cooperation” while highlighting the problems with a given reality. His modes of creation range widely over all kinds of mediums but mainly center around “mix and match”—through his role as a “go-between” and through individuals, enterprises, and institutional structures he views as “subjects”. By manipulating “workflow”—such as diversions, transferrals, or disparities in time or place—the projected outcomes are generated, forming a reciprocal dialectic between origins and results.
“Refresh, Sacrifice, New Hygiene, Infection, Clean, Robot, Air, Housekeeping, www.ayibang.com, Cigarette, Dyson, Modern People” has paintings, sculptures, and performances at its core. The use of brands, machinery (robot), and app operating systems (among others) shakes up formal boundaries while at the same time extends continuously from the tenor of the artist’s past oeuvre—such as the use of readymades and brands, paintings, on-site labor, among others, or the two-stage working model for the exhibition (where the first stage is the regular exhibition period, with the second stage lasting two weeks, in an empty gallery space, leaving behind only the cleaning equipment and the display of the cleaning service app).
The project series initiated in 2015, “Chemical Gilding, Keep Calm, Galvanise, Pray, Gradient, Ashes, Manifestation, Unequal, Dissatisfaction, Capitalise, Incense Burner, Survival, Agitation, Hit, Day Light.”, initiated for Chou Yu-Cheng a creative vocabulary at odds with his past oeuvre. With a more plural, complex form of output, a linear linguistic logic is disposed of; by maintaining a few threads from his past works, this endeavors to refurbish the artist’s individual intelligence in the plastic arts.
Chou Yu-Cheng is a highly acclaimed artist who lives and works in Taipei. 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, Beiljing; 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.