The exhibit consists of self-portraits of various artists from diverse backgrounds. The show runs from 8 April to 6 May at Mind Set Art Center in Taipei.
Different from the usual self-portrait that represents the artist, Juin Shieh‘s Chora 37 (2003) depicts herself as she goes through motherhood during the period her daughter was born when she was 40 years old. The strokes resemble muscle fibers and the white splash of paint at the upper right corner represents the mother’s milk.
Juin Shieh painted this piece years after her daughter was born. Her daughter right now is in junior high. In this painting, the strokes that resemble muscle fibers are visible but they are more fluid and interspersed than the earlier painting. This painting is beautiful as it seemingly transports us to a different time and space.
The South African born artist Marlene Dumas shows a mother giving birth to a newborn child in her work The Binding Factor (1990). This work initiates a dialogue with previous works by Juin Shieh.
True to her confessional inclinations and provocative art, the English contemporary artist Tracey Emin shows a woman enjoying herself in bed in Blue Entity (2012).
Shiau-Peng Chen‘s works deal with issues of national identity. In this series of photographs (C-prints), she uses the octopus as a subject because it reminds her of “aliens”. “Aliens” also mean foreigners. For her, staying abroad for a long period of time makes her feel like an alien in her home country and also in the country where she stays. It is safe to say that this work is the artist’s attempt to become a citizen of the world.
In My Galleries I – All the Same? (Map of Galleries / Depicting Galleries), Shiau-Peng Chen also treats self-portrait as a collection of galleries or museums where the artist has exhibited in. For her, exhibiting in these venues is what adds up to her identity as an artist.
Inspired by simple geometric shapes, the Filipino artist Victor Balanon creates a self-portrait that brings him back to his days as an animator.
A Chinese artist based in Wuhan and Beijing, Shi Jinsong collected dust in Wuhan City in China and mixed it with oil paint. He then painted this work using the oil paint on a mirror. Shi Jinsong received formal training as a sculptor, mastering a variety of techniques.
Tang Jo-Hung received formal training in Europe. In Self-portrait – sitting with legs crossed (2017), the artist painted his portrait on wood. The two exes tell a story: for some unknown reason, the artist lost his hearing, but it came back after some time.
The artist also painted his self-portrait on wood because he wouldn’t be able to achieve the effect he desired if he used canvas, especially when producing the circular strokes.
In stillness is actually … Then non-dual (2017), Ana Maria Micu recorded the process of drawing her portraits. The drawings of the faces were repeatedly changed over a period of time, erasing it and then replacing it with something else and erasing it again.
The finished product:
Ana Maria Micu, night and water . …… For some reason (2017)
Ana Maria Micu, private self-oblivion…In group pictures (2017)
Young Taiwanese artist Hsiao Chu-Fang’s Wink Wink (2016) shows a little girl sitting under a cracked egg, the yolk and the egg white spilling all over her head. This cartoonish work depicts the “egg” as a source of nourishment and even shelter.
In Ale Lino (2003), Indonesian performance artist Melati Suryodarmo stood on a high pedestal, placed a four-meter long pole against the pit of her stomach (solar plexus). In order to achieve emptiness, she leaned on the pole while breathing for three hours. The solar plexus is said to be the core of our personality, our ego, and our identity. Through this performance, the artist wanted to deal with the relationship of the spirituality and the body in the context of performance art.
The Taiwanese artist Shi Jin Hua is best known for his conceptual art and performance art. In this work that looks like a woodcut, we see the artist looking straight at the viewer, his right hand raised like that of the Buddha’s and the other hand holding a pair of scissors. These two hands represent two different views on the education system in Taiwan. Forty years ago, fine arts professors in Taiwan would ask students to do representative art and learn from the Masters from the Renaissance. Nowadays, the educational approach improved; however, education on the contemporary arts offered in universities is still lacking. The wood cut effect is done by scraping the end of a paintbrush against the surface of the paint.
Shi Jin Hua wrote his third name Hua (華) many times as part of his Penwalking series.