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後花園 [Past Continuous] – CHI Chien

Exhibition details

Opening / Event Date:
15 November, 2018
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Closing / End Date:
19 January, 2019
Event Category:
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Returning after the success of his Hong Kong début in 2015, Chi Chien’s 《齊簡》 conceptual show 後花園(Past Continuous)demonstrates a keen interest in language, historical events and its time-sensitive malleability. Concepts of history, the past, and post- (as in post-modern or post-war) are reconsidered through their translations between Chinese and English. While in English, ‘past’, as deployed in the exhibition’s title, indicates a time before the present or predating the future, its Chinese character counterpart 《後》could also mean ‘after’ or ‘back’, giving the temporal word a spatial connotation.

Composed of his distinctive paintings over floral fabric, installation, sound and mechanical structures, the show revolves around a found image from the second world war in which a brigade of warplanes hovering above Hong Kong, is frozen in a state of perpetual pause. Chi’s works are connected through movement. A model plane whirs by in circular fashion accompanied by low humming engine sounds of flying planes, shadows cast by miniature toy houses by the window shift with the sun during the day, a light bulb turns on and off in a breathing rhythm while a digital clock set on a clock-like metal plate cutout with “1941”, keeps ticking showing the current time. And though immobilised on the wall, his paintings live like stills from a stop-motion film, their silent snippets only a brief pause from an otherwise lively scene.

The choice of an archival image is emblematic of Chi’s curiosity with time and the ambiguous relationship between past and present, fact and fiction, and the constant oscillation between, what the artist refers to as, “real and symbolic time” and a constant reminder that the past is inevitably continuous.

About the Artist

Chi Chien was born in 1974 in Taipei, Taiwan where he currently lives and works. A post-graduate in Fine Arts from the National Taiwan University of Arts (Taipei), he is recognised for his conceptual approach and meticulous execution through various awards including the National First Prize in Mixed Media (2012), Art Taipei’s “Judge’s Prize” (2015) and the “First Prize” at the Kaohsiung Awards (2015). His works are in the collections of the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan (2013, 2015) and Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts (2013).


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