Tingyu Hsiao (Bruce)'s exhibition statement:
My body of work has moved through several different ideas, but they all relate to the theme of "theft". The author of "The Kite Runner" Khaled Hosseini, wrote in his book, "there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft. When you kill a man, you steal a life… When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness… there is no act more wretched than stealing." I wondered how does "theft" as the "origin of sin" influence our humanity. I have tried to explore this theme in several different ways – by looking at the censorship issue, by looking at some of the impact domestic issues have on the children of today and finally, by introspecting my own life.
At least three art forms are presented in this exhibition, which are installation, drawing, and collage, and I've used a number of processes to adapt the medium to my purposes, such as the contrasting colors I used in my piece Del/Alt/Crtl and the dimmed tone I applied in the piece Lock of Your Future.
My three pieces that focus on government issues, Water Dungeon, Del/Alt/Crtl, and Workbench, were inspired by my knowledge regarding the authoritarian states. The objects I explore were censorship and manipulation. The intention behind making these three art pieces is to emphasize the disadvantage of living under an authoritarian regime by directly pointing out how notorious it is. I wanted to depict the authoritarian states as a type of government that steals its people’s right to see the new perspective, absorb new knowledge, and speak out their own voice. I developed these pieces with the viewer firmly in mind. I wanted the meaning to come from observation, rather than from personal relevance, and so the first thing I considered was how to effectively communicate my meaning to the viewer. For Del/Alt/Crtl, and Workbench I kept the backgrounds plain to ensure that the figures stood out and I used strong contrasting colors to catch audience’s eyes. For Workbench especially, I designed the mask to look like they were suffering, and so I placed them on the canvas in a way that their suffering appeared to be standing in front of the canvas.
The next group includes Lock of Your Future and Essential. These pieces were inspired by my time I spent in China. I have spent my whole life living in China and I find there are certain problems within this circumstances as I grow up. Problems such as the lack of female rights and the loss of sense of value. I had to think deeply and wished to find out what caused those problems. I wanted the work I did to reflect my thought in an abstract way, not just directly pointing out those problems. In these works, I wanted to make the viewer actually think about the meaning behind the artworks by adding symbolism in my works, the opposite of my intentions for the pieces in the first group. The viewers cannot know the social problems if they do not think about it. I’ve used darker tones to make the images or the installation look less inviting in order to make viewer self-obsessed.
My piece related to violence - The Process of Achieving Kindness and Colorful Bear - have incorporated two completely different art forms to make the viewing experience more interesting. The Process of Achieving Kindness is a series of Acrylic poster which I designed using the software. Colorful Bear has two component - a ten seconds long video and manipulated photography. I’ve positioned it on its own along the western wall of the exhibition so that the viewer can stand at a distance and focus only on this work.
Jer Wei Chew (Joey) exhibition statement:
"Just because something isn't a lie does not mean that it isn't deceptive. A liar knows that he is a liar, but one who speaks mere portions of truth in order to deceive is a craftsman of destruction." - (Criss)
This art exhibition embodies my theme ‘Human Manipulation’. I chose this theme because in today's day and age, manipulation is unfortunately not uncommon. From manipulating a child with candy to framing someone for a crime, manipulation happens all around us, with the most common being human manipulation. But most of the time, we are not even aware of it happening. Also, more often than not, the only person benefiting from the manipulation is the manipulator and the victim often suffers the consequences. This is why I want to show what it feels like to be manipulated or forms of human manipulation to remind the audience that manipulation is still present all around them.
For this exhibition, I decided to use mostly creative drawing, and digital media such as photography and films. I decided to use creative drawing because I believe this form of art will allow the audience space for different interpretations because manipulation comes in many forms and each person sees it differently and is affected differently. I decided to use digital media because I believe this form of art appeals to the human’s short attention span better which can provide the audience with a better understanding of the artwork and my theme. There is also a continuous use of string in most of my artworks to help connect the theme ‘manipulation’ since, similar to how a puppeteer controls a puppet, a manipulator uses connections or ways that are invisible to the victim to manipulate their targets.
I made ‘Forced Open’ and ‘Sewed Shut’ because they both show more direct and obvious examples of human manipulation as it shows the human body being manipulated or forced. I believe this can help the audience understand how it feels like to be manipulated instantly as they themselves have eyes and lips and so can more easily empathize with the artwork. I made ‘Speechless’ because human trafficking is still a prevalent problem in the present day so it can help the audience better understand the theme as this problem is relevant their time. The artworks ‘To see or not to see’ and ‘Wool over your eyes’ both explore manipulation of one of the five human senses, Sight, are inspired by their titles as they both have different meanings and context.
The artwork ‘Potential’ explores how manipulators can be made and that everyone has the ‘potential’ to become one through the use of light in order to change how a person’s face look, similar to how a manipulator changes in accordance to the situation at hand. I organized the faces in different lighting next to each other so that the stark contrast can hopefully provide a 'shock' effect for the audience in helping them realize how much anyone can change instantly. I selected ‘Unknowing’ because it can help the audience learn how manipulation works and that it often is similar to web as it involves many people and not only one. I also created ‘The Truth Is Never Simple’ because I wanted to show the audience how, similar to the artwork ‘Potential’, everyone has two sides and people’s intentions are unfortunately often not pure but instead complicated.
Lastly, I chose to organize my art exhibition in this manner because I wanted to incorporate the element of manipulation in the audience as well by ‘manipulating’ the audience to use flashlights in order to see the artworks. Moreover, I also wanted to give the audience the illusion that they were ‘discovering’ something, more specifically, discovering the art of manipulation in a similar manner to a student learning about a something through pictures.
Jan Kemiao Liu's exhibition statement:
Artist’s inspiration has no limits, which makes art immortal, artist get ideas from nature, or from human beings. The topic of my exhibition is "Swedish mythology and Cthulhu mythos". It sounds pretty chaotic, since ancient mythology reflected human’s ideal thinking of gods and spirits. However, Cthulhu showed us the dark side of gods, which the author H.P Lovecraft built a terrific image of religious. This art exhibition includes the Swedish folklores and the Cthulhu mythos.
Over thousand years in humanity, the myths and the religion persuaded people by teaching them good virtues and by criticizing their bad behaviors. However, even though today the communication does fix certain crimes or problems in the last centuries, but the society still cannot fix the human beings.
The exhibition includes 5 artworks: "Mare, the Conqueror of Nightmare","The Heaven, The Earth and The Aqua", "The Goat Priest", "The Man and the Water Horse" and "The Flower of Evil".
In total 5 art pieces, 2 of them inspired by the Cthulhu mythos, including “Mare, the Conqueror of Nightmare” and “The Flower of Evil”. The rest of the tree art pieces inspired by Swedish folklores.
I usedifferent types of media to complete the artworks, including pencils, color pencils, oil painting, digital online painting and ceramic.
The first work "Mare, the Conqueror of Nightmare" was created by using color pencils, plus I used black marker to draw the outlines of the objects.
The second artwork “The Heaven, The Earth and The Aqua” was painted by oil paintings. I first sketched the original thoughts on my art sketchbook, I referenced the art style as well as the ideas from Swedish psychologist Carl Gustav Jung, from his work "The Red Book".
The third artwork “The Goat Priest” was created on the ceramic plate, the idea of this artwork was come from Swedish folklore, as the legend described it as the guard of church; I also received inspiration from the iOS game “Year Walk” which was first published in 2013.
The fourth artwork "The Man and the Water Horse" was created online, using the digital art program "Auto sketchbook", I used different digital materials to finish this drawing, including pencils, pens, color pencils and color markers.
The fifth artwork "The Flower of Evil" was created by pencil sketching, besides I also use black marker to outline and to emphasis the symbols above the flower.