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Cold Chain: HOU I-Ting Solo Exhibition

20190802155602422084 (1)Publisher: TFAM
Category:Exhibition Catalogs
Published Date: 2019/06
ISSN: 978-986-05-9615-1


Director of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum
To encourage diversity and openness of contemporary artistic creation, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) has launched the exhibition program, entitled “Solo Exhibition: Open Call Artists.” Annually, the museum collaborates with art experts and scholars to select exhibition proposals from representative contemporary artists, whose creative works reflect the innovative spirit of our time. The program not only provides artists a platform of creation but also encourages continuous art-making to diversify Taiwan’s art scene. HOU I-Ting is one of the excellent artists selected in 2017.
Cold Chain—HOU I-Ting Solo Exhibition demonstrates the artist’s insights into the role of people in modern social control and labor production.
Although the exhibition title adopts the word “cold,” the artist moves away from the imagery of “coldness” and leads viewers to explore the enormous capitalistic production system. The exhibition is interwoven with several production chains and divided into three sections under the concept of “workshop.” The production line of the First Workshop truthfully displays the results of manual labor. HOU commissioned the self-employed workshop in a women’s prison to create a series of texts in the form of machine embroideries, incorporating individual data into the production chain. The series not only visualizes the amount of labor hours but also materializes the laboring body effaced in the production mechanism.
The Second Workshop continues HOU’s previous Sewing Fields Project and gathers participants with help of the museum to make embroidery on canvases printed with images featuring collective labor from girls’ schools existed in the period of Japanese rule. Displaying the laboring body and time of labor in the museum, viewers can witness the interaction between the body of the present time and the historical body. The Third Workshop expands the scope to the collaboration and competition between different production systems in the global economy. The artist’s video documentations of street sewers in Jakarta and cut-flower factories in Bogotá pinpoint the production form of substitute employment carried out by marginalized laborers, who have been excluded from the global economic systems but still serving the enormous urban systems.
The museum specially juxtaposes HOU’s solo exhibition with the solo exhibitions of James Ming-Hsueh Lee, Chang Ting-Tong and Ni Hao through this platform of expression that features outstanding contemporary artists in Taiwan. Among these four exhibitions that display heterogeneous characteristics yet capture contemporaneity with equal precision, HOU’s Cold Chain starts from substitute employment system and unveils an exhibition that discusses heavy and serious topics, though with a light exterior. It embodies individuals’ struggles in mega-structures and the erasure of their value. Displayed through the artist’s attention to individuals in this rigid system are both the cold, unfeeling structures and her profound social care and the warmth of humanity.

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