Commissioned is a brand new project which I-Hsuen Chen invites a group of artist colleagues to participate in the orchestrated, commissioned mode of labor in a museum setting. This collaborative work is a way into understanding the reality of being a young artist in contemporary society, and to consider the relevance of the body in the daily labor of creators that work with images.
I-Hsuen Chen’s art practice is closely related to his personal history. He majored in advertising in college and worked in marketing department in the company for his first job. The experience of study abroad caused his pursuit for identity. Even the failure in relationship has become the inspiration in his artworks. We can also see his strong interest in music and performance though his work. As a continuation of Chen’s investigation into personal history, Commissioned is a reflection on the condition of the Taiwanese art environment. Since his return to Taiwan, Chen has observed that, in response to the widening youth pay gap and generational tension, young art practitioners have taken on multiple professional identities to make ends meet while pursuing personal creative practices. A part of this ecosystem, Chen is not only an artist but also a freelance videographer and producer conducting interviews and documenting performances for art institutions as well as theater and dance groups. The thin line separating personal practices and commissioned projects mutates and oscillates, with one side guiding the other indefinitely. For the exhibition, Chen switches his position from being invited/employed to invite/to employ others, so as to review the possible form of relationship in a commission. Each setting is a metaphor of possible scenarios within a commissioned project, and the cycle of instruction-action-music gradually brings out the hidden narrative. Chen applies synchronized eight-channel video into an oval shape in order to recall the long and thin gallery hall of Hong-gah museum. Audiences can move along the progress of the video in artist’s design.
With dozens of different blocking and action arrangements, and footage from the collaborators, these hundred hours of videos and sounds in correspondence with eight-channel editing, Chen shows his great ability of sampling, inducing, analyzing and representing in editing the work, and performs a great balance in concluding a precise narrative while taking into consideration the audience viewing experience. Chen raised an critical perspective towards common issue among young generation and make the exhibition Commissioned a witness to the history.