As part of the 12th Shanghai Biennale Swatch and the Swatch Art Peace Hotel are glad to present “Incarnation”, a solo presentation of Taipei-based artist Yao Jui-chung. Featuring over 300 photographs, 3 videos, installation and painting works, “Incarnation” probes into the concept of “eternal return”, endeavoring to scrutinize the inextricable connections between man, religion, and faith.
The exhibition at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel as one of the City Pavilions of the 12th Shanghai Biennale will be open to the public from November 10, 2018 through March 10, 2019.
Incarnation is an attempt to document as many images of deities located in temples, gardens, amusement parks, cemeteries and on the streets of the island of Taiwan. The more than 300 photographs were realized by Yao Jui-Chung in approximately 1 year and a half between 2016 and 2017 in an attempts to catalogue the gods as incarnations of happiness and promises of redemption for the common folk. One of the main interests of this inventory made in the objective black and white tradition of Atget or August Sanders is the way it documents the collision between everydayness and the sacred, the way profanity and devotion mix in the promiscuty of images that inhabit the public sphere. However, the light taste of absurdity in the way the gods emerge between billboards and parking lots attests to the manner with which transcendence and faith permeate the landscapes of modernity, in a constant arrival to earth.
Yao Jui-Chung was born in 1969. Lives and works in Taipei. He graduated from The National Institute of The Arts (Taipei National University of the Arts) with a degree in Art Theory. His works has been widely exhibited in numerous international exhibitions. In 1997, he represented Taiwan in “Facing Faces-Taiwan” at the Venice Biennale. After that, he took part in various international exhibitions such as International Triennale of Contemporary Art Yokohama (2005), APT6 (2009), Taipei biennial (2010), Shanghai Biennale(2012), Beijing Photo Biennale(2013), Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale(2014), Venice Architecture Biennale, Media City Seoul Biennale(2014), Asia Triennial Manchester (2014), Asia Biennale(2015), Sydney Biennale(2016) and this year the Shanghai Biennale(2018).
12th Shanghai Biennale: Proregress - Art in an Age of Historical Ambivalence
The constant combination of gain and loss, openness and fear, acceleration and reaction, which defines our era of “proregression”, also exists as a sensibility characterized by profound ambivalence. In this context, contemporary culture appears as a complex site of reflection defined by excess and powerlessness, transgression and repression, social activism and many brands of nihilism. Contemporary art appears as a production of singularity and refinement made of fragments of the social debris, encapsulating conflicting forces. “Proregress” provides a framework to explore the role of contemporary art as a means by which the struggles and anxieties of many different latitudes are reflected and turned into subjective experience, training the contemporary subject in the ambivalence the allows to tolerate the contradictory forces of contemporary life.
For the Chinese title of the Biennale, there has been chosen the concept of 禹步（YUBU), the basic mystic dance step of Daoist ritual in ancient China. This dancing technique makes the dancer look like he or she is moving forward while going backwards at the same time. Beyond translating a concept made of western binary concepts into Chinese, this figure also suggests the importance of the pursuit of a way of thinking and culture that ought to help thrive despite the ambivalence of our era.