Chen Ching-yuan


Chen Ching-yuan born in Taiwan (b.1984), he currently lives and works in Taipei. His works focus on the dilemma of the unstable and feeble perceptions generated when one has to face an uncontrollable and tremendous pressure. Creating artworks through different media, such as painting, video and installation, Chen Ching-yuan often uses visual metaphor to articulate the ambiguity and perplexity of national politics and internal reflections of identity. One of this most recent works Flare-s is a UK Premiere at Harmonious Society, a major exhibition at Asia Triennale Manchester, 2014. Flare-s is an installation made up of a looped animation and worn lifeboats that are illuminated at intervals by spotlights. The animation shows a night sea where waves constantly sound and wooden boats drift. There are men on the boats who send rescue signals into the night sky. Yet no rescue is received, more and more signals are ignited: single of crisis paradoxically seems to become celebratory fireworks as the boats sink.


 Chen Ching-yuan, Flare-s installation at Harmonious Society, 2014

Flares are widely recognized as a maritime distress signal that serves as a method of communication that is used to look for help in an extreme, isolated and insecure situation. This distress signal is used by Chen Ching-yuan to parallel scenes of spectacle, such as fireworks displays, which are mainly meant to be (passively) viewed. While distress signal transforms into celebratory spectacle, the misunderstanding silently drowns the sailors. The failure of communication and the isolation of the men enigmatically mirror the geo-political situation of Taiwan, and the artist reflects on his surroundings when he says: ‘Every individual on the boats is trying hard to communicate with the outside world. But outsiders might see the distress signals as ravishing celebration and have no idea what is going on.’ Paradoxically, in Flare-s, viewers are both passive spectators and isolated drowned men, for we project our own identification onto the sailors, as we helpless watch their boats sink.

Chen Ching-yuan was awarded the Outstanding Art Prize at the Taipei National University of Arts in 2008 and the Kaohsiung Award’s first prize in 2009. He was also in the shortlist of Taipei Arts Awards 2014. His most recent solo exhibitions includes Gestos – Até os olhos da ilha at LOGO Gallery, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2014) and Flare-s at Tina Keng Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan. He also exhibits internationally in UK, Japan and New York, and participates Asia Triennial Manchester 2014, Jie: Contemporary Art from Taiwan in Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, New York, and 2014 Art Fair Tokyo- Chen Ching-yuan’s solo exhibition at Tokyo International Forum.

Chen Ching-yuan, Flare-s, 2013


Chen Ching-yuan at Harmonious Society, Asia Triennale Manchester, 2014

Chen Ching-yuan’s website