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Revolving Binary Forces: Paintings and Sound Art by LIN Chi-Wei

Exhibition details

Opening / Event Date:
2 September, 2016
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Closing / End Date:
15 October, 2016
Event Category:

Artist’s Reception/ Tape Music, Score for MUSARC live performance:
Friday, 2 September 2016, 6 to 8pm

Hanart TZ Gallery is honoured to present Revolving Binary Forces, Lin Chi-Wei’s first major solo exhibition in Hong Kong. Lin Chi-Wei is one of Taiwan’s most important multi-disciplinary artists, a pioneer of sound art, and one of the most acclaimed new media artists internationally.

In 1992, Lin Chi-Wei, along with Singing Liu and Steve Chan (and later Po-Li Liu) formed the “Zero and Sound Liberation Organization (Z.S.L.O)”, widely seen as Taiwan’s first noise group. A year later they released Taiwan’s first self-published CD. They were also featured in Noise magazine, an important underground publication focused on noise and industrial music, which brought awareness of their work to an international audience.

At a time when art as an intervention was not yet recognized in Taiwan’s daily lingo, Zero and Sound’s performances were seen as outrageous attention-seeking spectacles, even though the performances demonstrated their skillful application of noise’s anti-music properties as a means of deconstructing the mainstream cultural system.

Over the next two years, they and a group of friends held the annual “Taipei Ragged Living Festival” which pushed Taipei’s underground culture to unprecedented heights. Their performance projects encompassed a variety of avant garde modes, including installation art, experimental architecture, industrial noise, S/M and experimental film.

In one of the most notorious acts of Taiwan’s live performance art, during the Taipei Ragged Living Festival, Zero and Sound performed an enema on themselves onstage, and then sprayed the dirty water over the audience without warning. This last event culminated in a series of riots, which forced the termination of the festival.

On the opening night of the exhibition, Lin Chi-Wei will present his renowned Tape Music, a live, interactive sound performance, involving a 204m-long tape embroidered with phonetic characters (Tape Music, Score for MUSARC). As the audience passes the tape through their hands in a spiral formation, each member speaks or sings out the phonetic sound on the section of the tape in front of him or her. The result is a continuous, organic and unpredictable soundscape. This is the first time Lin Chi-Wei will perform this work in Hong Kong.

Tape Music, Score for MUSARC live performance

At the exhibition’s opening reception, Lin Chi-Wei will stage his renowned interactive sound piece Tape Music, Score for MUSARC. In this work, Lin invites the collaborative participation of audience members to respond to/ interact with a 204 meter long tape made of ribbon embroidered with phonetic symbols. As the audience passes the tape through their hands in a spiral formation, each member speaks or sings out the phonetic sound on the section of the tape in front of him or her. The result is a continuous, organic and unpredictable soundscape.

Artist’s Statement

Revolving Binary ForcesPaintings and Sound Art by LIN Chi-Wei

These works were made between 2013-2016, a period of brutal changes in my life.

After six years of residency in Beijing, I returned to my hometown of Taipei and witnessed radical cultural changes taking place there. The house I grew up in had become marked for demolition as part of the city’s urban revitalization project. My father’s valiant struggle against prostate cancer had failed and he was entering the final stages of the disease. Outside the doors of the hospital, another kind of struggle was going on: Student protestors had occupied the Parliament building to rally against the free trade agreements with China. Everything I was familiar with, the very landscape of the city I had known as a child, seemed to have been shaken to the core; and all the symbols, things, and sounds of the past were collapsing into chaos. Confronting this situation, art seemed to have become pointless….For the reality in Taipei at that moment seemed more outrageous than any form of art or anti-art could ever imagine.

In the weeks before the demolition of my parents’ house, we dislodged hundreds of small family objects. Though no longer of any practical use, they belonged to the stock of Post-War family memories: each object was marked by the traces of time lived under martial law, and it was difficult to just relegate them to the dustbin. I ended up storing them in my temporary studio. Over the next three years I realized that, one by one, each had miraculously found its specific place amongst my series of new collage works.

My father was a fervent futurist and scientist, and yet science couldn’t save him from his fatal disease. The slow process of the breakdown and decay of his body, memory and reason revealed the invincibility of time. Bearing witness to this process, I found that his death gradually turned into something precious. Time was both destroying and distilling, revealing the unparalleled power and beauty of life itself, whose inexpressibly brilliant light radiates beyond death.

The nationalistic culture that I grew up in entered its final stages of decay along with my father’s death. Dictatorial privilege is now being dismantled, while new pipelines are being configured to carry an even quicker flow of money, merchandise, and information. In the process, both the identity and the cultural landscape are undergoing a restructuring. My father’s death is thus doubled in this way. The culture of dying and the death of culture have melded into one.

I would like to sincerely thank Hanart TZ Gallery for first inviting me to do a painting exhibition with them three years ago, and for their patience during the long wait. I would also like to give my heartfelt thanks to my dear family and close friends who, during the past three years, have helped me in every way imaginable. Without their generosity in providing space, material and spiritual support I would never have been able to achieve this work.  

LIN Chi-Wei
August 2016
(Translated by Valerie C. Doran)

Artist Biography

LIN Chi-Wei (b.1971)

Lin Chi-Wei is a multi-disciplinary artist who has received academic training in French literature and cultural anthropology as well as specializing in new media art. He is a founding member of Zero and Sound Liberation Organization, the pioneering group for experimental music in Taiwan. In 2012 he published his book ‘Beyond Sound Art: The Avant Garde, Sound Machine and the Modernity of Hearing’, in which he analyzes the aesthetic condition of sound and art in a post-colonial East Asian context. Since the early 1990s, Lin also has been exploring the realms of folklore culture, integrating elements of religious music, poetry, and art in his works. Lin’s work has been exhibited internationally and was presented at the Venice Biennale, Shanghai Biennale and the Tate Modern. The present exhibition at Hanart TZ Gallery marks his first solo painting show.


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