#roadmovie #real-lifescenario #goingabroad #goingback #phototext #existence #belonging #domesticity #books #time #breakinnarrative #fictional #factional #memory
"I Went Abroad, and then I Went Back." I-Hsuen says.

The title of the exhibition seems blunt. It in fact mirrors the artist’s life in the past few years. Through artist books, videos, slides, and other extended methods of photography, Chen presents three periods of image voyages that depict his experiences studying in the US and traveling between home and abroad. The journey initiated a deductive sort of self-reflection. Taking on the role as an outsider/stranger/L'Étranger seeking directions, Chen began to search for the disappearing sense of belonging and self-existence en route.

#公路電影 #生命情節 #出去 #回來 #攝影文本 #存在 #歸屬 #家居 #書本 #時間 #敘事斷裂 #虛構 #真實 #回憶
Nowhere in Taiwan  |  遍尋無處
Book pages(archival inkjet prints), 30.5 x 39.5 cm per page
Digital large prints, 240x300cm
2011, 2015
I-Hsuen Chen went abroad in 2010 and became a foreigner in New York City. During a brief visit back home after one year overseas, he found himself rootless and isolated: a reverse culture shock so to speak. Attempting to locate his disappearing self, Chen began an image voyage that brought him to the roads of Taiwan. As if a lead character to a classic road movie, Chen adapted the tradition of American road photography and drove on to his own, personal journey.
Things and scenes passed and replaced each other on the road, from cities to towns to countrysides. Time and space seemed to loose their significance, becoming independent from the context of past and future. The sense of individual subjectivity solidified, while the sense of identity and belonging evanesced and dissipated. Chen began to document the “nowhere” in his journey—the undefined, obscured spaces in the midst of scenic sites and cityscapes; some were hardly urbanized, and others appeared to be abandoned. The series of documentation allowed the artist to reflect on the various forms of self-isolation that he found himself in.

In Between(revisit)  |  在中間
Single channel video(color, sound)
Video length 11’13”
2013, 2015
In 2012, Chen broke up with his long-distanced girlfriend in the US. As a way to reminisce, he compiled a book containing a variety of private moments that took place within his two years abroad. The Punctum—a distinct and personal visual signifier—to each imagery in the book was intentionally positioned at the center fold, with the subjects’ faces and facial expressions hidden deep beneath the rift. Readers could only decipher the abstracted version of the artist’s memory, the muted plot to a story. As the author who made the seen unseen, Chen allowed his true reminiscence to reside in his own creation, the book that resembled a storeroom of memories.

Past in the Future, Future in the Past  |  過去的未來,未來的過去
2-channel video(color, no sound), artist book, furniture from my house
Video length 12’01”, daimention variable
2013 marked the final chapter to the artist’s journey. Chen was at a loss about his future, whether to leave or stay, as his US visa was close to expiry. The time to go home drew near and Chen felt a familiar sense of detachment. As an attempt to figure out what may lie ahead, he set off examining his personal history in the past few years through organizing old photographs. 100 photos from the past were selected. Each photo was reassigned a future date, spanning one year in total and beginning from the date when Chen would leave the US (Aug. 31st, 2013—Aug. 30th, 2014): The Past in the Future was thus created.

After returning to Taiwan, Chen continued documenting his days for a year using an old date stamp camera. The photos taken turned into vintage images that alluded to a past prior to studying abroad, the Future in the Past. These two sets of photographs, The Past in the Future and the Future in the Past, became mirrors of a predicted future and an imagined past, reflecting on each other’s accuracy and authenticity.

2013年,最後一段旅程,在美國簽證期滿之際對未來的去留感到茫然,近鄉開始情怯,於是又著手整理舊照片,研究近年來的個人生命史,試著觀察出未來可能的生活情節與套路,共挑選了100張舊照片加上未來的日期,從離開美國那一天算起的一年內對未來預測(2013/08/31 – 2014/08/30),稱為「過去的未來」。
Defective Book | 瑕疵本
Exhibition catalog
576 pages, 14x20x5cm (1.08kg)
1st edition limited to 550 copies
Timonium lake design 何佳興設計
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