NOSTALGIA FOR THE FUTURE 2016
Yu-Chen Wang: An Introspective Retrospective
Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan
Having lived and worked in London for the past 15 years, Yu-Chen Wang presents Nostalgia for the Future, her first solo show in Taiwan. This retrospective exhibition takes an introspective approach, drawing upon her personal experience to create a multi-layered mise-en-scène. Works made in the UK are reconfigured for a new context alongside a series of public events and new collaborations with Taiwan-based artists and curators.
Shifting between Taiwan and the UK (both island countries with significant industrial history), Wang’s memory, identity and cultural heritage have influenced the way in which she creates her work. She is interested in the history of industrialisation and modernisation from England’s Victorian era to contemporary mass-production, globalisation and migration in post-industrial Taiwan.
Wang primarily creates complex and intricate drawings interweaving elements of machinery, botany and architecture. She also extends her practice into installations involving industrial objects, archival documentation, science fiction stories, assemblage, films and performances. Whatever media Wang employs, her work explores the inseparable relationship between nature and technology, humans and machines.
In Nostalgia for the Future, Yu-Chen Wang plays the role of the ‘director’ staging the exhibition as an exploratory process of re-considering her practice to date and developing new projects in a theatrical manner. Occupying different areas of the gallery, the multiple acts “About Memory”, “Stories Retold” and “Future Workshops” are simultaneously happening on the stage.
“About Memory” features display cabinets and shelves exhibiting various items, such as personal objects, photographs, sketches, documents and proposals of unrealised projects related to the artist’s work and life in the UK. This linear narrative will represent a constructed past made specifically for the Taiwan audience.
“Stories Retold” contextualises Wang’s practice through the reconstruction of major artworks created between 2000 and 2016. Individual works can be seen as independent scenarios, whereas the compilation of different works can be experienced as one grand theatrical set.
This section includes Happy End (2010), the first collaborative project with fellow artist Andro Semeiko exploring utopian dreams of the future. Also on show is Wang’s recent commission for Manchester Art Gallery, Heart to Heart (2016), investigating human qualities in machines, created in collaboration with Museum of Science and Industry, UK.
“Future Workshops” consists of an on-going programme of events involving the general public and artists and curators in Taiwan, including White Fungus, Andro Semeiko, Ming-Jiun Tsai, Pei-Yi Lu, Yi Hsin Nicole Lai and Kit Hammonds. Participants are given specific roles and characters sometimes performing and other times observing.
The workshops refer not only to the place for working in collaboration, but also to activities for developing ideas collectively. All events are documented as ‘memories of the exhibition’ and developed into new work for the forthcoming solo show Yu-Chen Wang at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, UK (June-July 2016).