Chou Yu-Cheng 

Chou Yu-Cheng’s major body of artworks during last decade has been post-conceptual with features of post-minimalism. Beside the repetition of appropriated segments of symbolic images, there are also projects concentrating on recollections from his childhood and an immaterialistic rendering of the art system in its broadest sense, e.i. the interdependent symbiosis of its different agencies and its operating circuit within the ecosystem of art. Sharing some common features with the relational art of Nicolas Bourriaud, the latter two artistic practices, despite their seemingly heterogeneous nature, reveal an extremely complicated, sensitive, and unsettled relationship between the respective participants.

A Working History - Lu Chieh-Te of 2012 is dedicated to a previously unknown part-time worker, Mr. Lu, randomly recruited via a newspaper advertisement submitted by the artist himself. In the exhibition the life story of Lu was presented as a book, written down by a writer friend of Chou’s after the close collaboration with Mr. Lu. Other elements for the final realization of the exhibition included a huge flat platform covered with abstract patterns taken from Mr. Lu’s T-shirt and Lu’s own presence as attending personnel.

Chou Yu-Cheng’s next work, In the Outskirts by Huang Tu-Shui, is an exhibit in the Rhapsody in Green exhibition, a Collateral Event at the Venice Biennale 2013. It best exemplifies the artist’s potential to explore deeper meanings in a complex chain of interactivity within the art system. Simply by showing a caption reiterating the exhibition concept, Chou evokes a space which is both visible and invisible, parodying affirmation and denial of a now-lost artwork by a distinguished Taiwanese artist.

The subjectivity of the artist in both works is elusive and difficult to pinpoint. While working with various materials such as video, painting, objects, architectural elements and photographs, Chou provides an open system of reading, or meaning, a différance in Derrida’s sense, oscillating between affirmation and mimicry within the power structure of various participatory parties.

The Quilt, Chou Yu-Cheng’s exhibit for OPEN, is an appropriation of the artist’s own childhood bed sheet, an act which is less exhibitionistic than a gesture of sharing, a transfer between the inside and the outside, the personal and the collective, the private and the public, thus provoking further thoughts about the nature, definition and function of that banner, and of media as such.


Text by Yang Wen-I