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Chen Chieh-jen
LAST UPDATE : 2018.11.3 / EDITOR : avatintern
7 artworks / 60 exhibition

Chen Chieh-jen was born in 1960 in Taoyuan, Taiwan, and graduated from a vocational high school for the arts. He currently lives and works in Taipei, Taiwan.

While Chen's primary media is video installation, in his production process, he has consistently experimented with community formation, integrating other participants with his film crew. This has added an activist quality directed at re-envisioning society to his creative process.

Chen employed extra-institutional underground exhibitions and guerrilla-style art actions to challenge Taiwan's dominant political mechanisms during a period marked by the Cold War, anti-communist propaganda and martial law (1950 – 1987). After martial law ended, Chen ceased art activity for eight years, during which he re-examined his family history and experiences growing up to reflect on the trajectory of Taiwan’s modern history. The environment of his youth was surrounded by spaces of discipline, governance and illegitimacy as evidenced by military courts, munitions factories, and convalescent hospitals for anti-communist martyrs, as well as industrial areas and illegal shanty towns.

This situation stemmed from Taiwan's long history of subjugation, from Japanese colonization (1895 – 1945) to the Cold War/anti-communist/martial law mechanisms jointly created by the Kuomintang and United States in the post-World War II period. It was during this time that Taiwan joined the system of capitalist and international division of labor, becoming an export-led, lower-end economy reliant on labor intensive, high polluting industries. After martial law ended in 1987, Taiwan was again remade, this time as a neoliberalist society.

Chen believes, “Taiwan's historical and political situation of long-term domination and placement under the overlapping sovereignty of different nations has resulted in the complete disintegration of the people's spirit. Taiwanese society has been repeatedly forced to become one with historical amnesia and have lost the ability to imagine and reflect on the future from the context of past.”

Returning to art in 1996, Chen started collaborating with local residents, unemployed laborers, day workers, migrant workers, foreign spouses, unemployed youth and social activists. He formed a temporary community and a filmmaking team with those marginalized by society, social activists and movie industry workers. They have learned from each other, occupied factories owned by capitalists, slipped into areas cordoned off by the law and utilized discarded materials to build sets for his video productions. In order to visualize contemporary reality and a people’s history that was obscured by neo-liberalism, Chen embarked on a series of video projects in which he used strategies he calls “re-imagining, re-narrating, re-writing and re-connecting.”

Although Chen addresses political and economic issues in his work, he believes that art should not only to criticize and reveal political and economic manipulation, but even more promote the creation of experimental communities and mutual learning in the process of filming his videos. Using poetic, dialectical imagery, Chen initiates new aesthetic and political images from difficult to articulate bodily experiences and memories, individuals in nebulous states of spiritual disintegration, and various indistinct or marginalized areas within society. Chen invites viewers from different historical, cultural, and social contexts and with different life experiences to deploy their imagination within the narrative gap he creates by linking disparate events and historical horizons, and using concise dialogs or completely silent, slow-motion video. As the audience watches Chen’s videos, their imaginings evoked by these gaps helps establish a forum for multiple dialogs.

Chen Chieh-jen’s major work includes Revolt in the Soul and Body 1900-1999 (1996-1999), Lingchi – Echoes of a Historical Photograph (2002), Factory (2003), Bade Area (2005), The Route (2006), Military Court and Prison (2007-2008), Empire’s Borders I (2008-2009), Empire’s Borders II—Western Enterprises, Inc. (2010), Happiness Building I (2012), Friend Watan (2013) and I Pirate My Own Work—Free Donation Project (2007-Present).

He has held solo exhibitions at the Mudam Luxembourg; the Taipei Fine Arts Museum; REDCAT art center in Los Angeles; the Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid; the Asia Society in New York; and the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris. Group exhibitions include: the Venice Biennial, São Paulo Biennial, Lyon Biennial, Liverpool Biennial, Gothenburg Biennial, Istanbul Biennial, Moscow Biennial, New Orleans Biennial, Sydney Biennial, Taipei Biennial, Gwangju Biennial, Shanghai Biennial, Guangzhou Triennial, Fukuoka Triennial, and the Asia Pacific Triennial. Chen has also participated in photography festivals in Arles, Spain and Lisbon. He was also the recipient of the Taiwan National Culture and Arts Foundation's National Award for Arts in 2009, and the Korean Gwangju Biennial Special Award in 2000.

birth year
1960
Place of Birth
Taoyuan
Taiwan
Place of Residence
Taipei
Taiwan
...More
CURRICULUM VITAE
2013
Chen Chieh-jen
MUDAM Luxembourg , Luxembourg
2013
The Route & Empire’s Borders II
Gävle konstcentrum , Gävle , Sweden
2012
Happiness Building I
Hanart Square , Hong Kong , China
2012
Temporary Assembly of the Exiled — The Making of Happiness Building І
Lin & Lin Gallery , Taipei , Taiwan
2012
Happiness Building I
Yi-ping Construction Material Factory , Shulin , Taiwan
2011
Empire’s Borders I & II – Chen Chieh-jen
Stiftelsen 3,14 , Bergen , Norway
2010
Empire’s Borders I & II
Long March Space , Beijing , China
2010
On the Empire’s Borders: Chen Chieh-jen 1996–2010
Taipei Fine Arts Museum , Taipei , Taiwan
2010
Empire’s Borders II – Chen Chieh-jen
REDCAT , Los Angeles , U.S.A.
2008
Military Court and Prison– Chen Chieh-jen
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía , Madrid , Spain
2007
Condensation: Five Video Works by Chen Chieh-jen
Asia Society and Museum , New York , U.S.A.
2001
Chen Chieh-jen
Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume , Paris , France
1998
Revolt in the Soul & Body II
Taipei Fine Arts Museum , Taipei , Taiwan
2013
A Contemporary Dialogue with Michelangelo
Museum of National Taipei University of Education , Taipei , Taiwan
2012
The Great South-1st Montevideo Biennial
Montevideo City , Uruguay
2012
Modern Monster-2012 Taipei Biennial
Shilin Paper Mill , Taipei , Taiwan
2012
The Unseen, 3rd Guangzhou Triennial
Guangdong Museum of Art , Guangzhou , China
2012
Border Crossing
Kunsthallen Brandts , Odense , Denmark
2012
Image Anxiety-PHotoEspaña
Sala Alcalá 31 , Madrid , Spain
2012
You Are Now Entering______
Centre for Contemporary Art , Londonderry , Northern Ireland
2012
Boundaries on the Move – a Cross-culture Dialogue
Herzliya Museum for Contemporary Art , Tel Aviv-Yafo , Israel
2011
Past Desire
Galerie im Taxispalais , Innsbruck , Austria
2011
Rewriting Worlds, 4th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art
ARTPLAY Design Center , Moscow , Russia
2011
Super Organism, CAFAM Biennale 2011
CAFA Art Museum , Beijing , China
2011
The Eye is a Lonely Hunter – Images of Humankind, 4th Fotofestival
Mannheim_Ludwigshafen_Heidelberg, Mannheim Kunsthalle & Wilhelm-Hack-Museum , Mannheim_Ludwigshafen_Heidelberg, Mannheim & Ludwigshafen & Heidelberg , Germany
2011
Pandemonium: Art in a Time of Creativity Fever, 6th Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art
Göteborg Museum of Art , Göteborg , Sweden
2011
Terrible Beauty: Art, Crisis, Change & The Office of Non-Compliance, Dublin Contemporary 2011
Earlsfort Terrace , Dublin , Ireland
2010
Rehearsal, the 8th Shanghai Biennale
Shanghai Art Museum , Shanghai , China
2010
There is always a cup of sea to sail in , 29th Bienal de São Paulo
Pavilhão Ciccillo Matarazzo/Parque do Ibirapuera , São Paulo , Brazil
2010
The Right to Protest
Museum on the Seam , Jerusalem , Israel
2010
Artes Mundi Prize 4
National Museum Cardiff , Wales , UK
2009
The 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art
Brisbane , Australia
2009
Foreign Affairs, 53th Biennale di Venezia-Taiwan Pavilion
Palazzo delle Prigioni , Venice , Italy
2008
Prospect.1, New Orleans Biennial
Contemporary Art Center , New Orleans , U.S.A.
2008
Corporeal/Technoreal, Mediations Biennial
Poznan , Poland
2008
Farewell to Post-Colonialism, 3rd Guangzhou Triennial
Guangdong Museum of Art , Guangzhou , China
2008
Crossing Values, les Ateliers de Rennes – biennale d'art contemporain
Rennes , France
2008
Biennial Cuvée 08
O.K Center for Contemporary Art , Linz , Austria
2008
Art is for the Spirit: Work from The UBS Art Collection
Mori Art Museum , Tokyo , Japan
2007
Not Only Possible, But Also Necessary-- Optimism in the age of global war, 10th International Istanbul Biennial
İMÇ Building , Istanbul , Turkey
2007
Thermocline of Art-New Asian Waves
ZKM (Center for Art and Media) , Karlsruhe , Germany
2007
The Screen Eye or the New Image – 100 vidéos pour repenser le monde
Casino Luxembourg – Forum of Contemporary Art Luxembourg
2006
Liverpool Biennale: International 06
Tate Liverpool , Liverpool , UK
2006
Fever Variations, Gwangju Biennale 2006
Gwangju , South Korea
2006
Zones of Contact, Biennale of Sydney
Gallery 4a , Sydney , Australia
2006
Biennial Cuvée 06
O.K Center for Contemporary Art , Linz , Austria
2005
Parallel Realities-Asian Art Now, the 3rd Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial 2005
Fukuoka , Japan
2005
The experience of art, 51th Biennale di Venezia
Padiglione Italia , Venice , Italy
2005
Lisboa Photo 2005
Sociedade Nacional de Belas-Artes , Lisbon , Portugal
2004
Do You Believe in Reality?, 2004 Taipei Biennial
Taipei Fine Arts Museum , Taipei , Taiwan
2004
Techniques of the Visible, 2004 Shanghai Biennale
Shanghai Art Museum , Shanghai , Taiwan
2004
Work it, SCAPE Biennial
Christchurch , New Zealand
2004
Histories: Eyelids and Lips, Photo Espaňa 2004
Antigua Fábrica de Tabacos , Madrid , Spain
2002
Great Theatre of the World, 2002 Taipei Biennial
Taipei Fine Arts Museum , Taipei , Taiwan
2000
The 31st Rencontres Internationale de la Photographie
Abbaye de Montmajour , Arles , France
2000
The Mind on the Edge (of the New Centres)Photo Espaňa 2000
Circulo de Bellas Artes , Madrid , Spain
2000
Sharing Exoticisms, 5th Biennale de Lyon Contemporary Art
Halle Tony Garnier , Lyon , France
2000
Man & Space- Art & Human Rights, Gwangju Biennale 2000
Gwangju , South Korea
1999
International Photography Biennale
Centro de la Imagen , México City , Mexico
1999
Close to Open, 48th Biennale di Venezia-Taiwan Pavilion
Palazzo delle Prigioni , Venice , Italy
1998
Routes, Routes, Routes, Routes, Routes, Routes, Routes, 24th Bienal de São Paulo
Pavilhão Ciccillo Matarazzo, Parque do Ibirapuera , São Paulo , Brazil
1998
Site of Desire, 1998 Taipei Biennial
Taipei Fine Arts Museum , Taipei , Taiwan
2009
 
The 13rd National Award for Arts
 
Taiwan
2008
 
PULSE Prize
PULSE Contemporary Art Fair
Miami , U.S.A.
2000
The Special Prize
Gwangju Biennale
 
Gwangju , South Korea
TAGS
SELECTED ARTWORKS
Three-channel video installation,Super 16mm transferred to DVD,Black and White,Sound in Selected Portions,
21'04", loop
Three-channel video installation,Super 16mm transferred to DVD,Black and White,Sound in Selected Portions,
21'04", loop
Three-channel video installation,Super 16mm transferred to DVD,Black and White,Sound in Selected Portions,
21'04", loop
01 / 10
Lingchi – Echoes of a Historical Photograph
The making of the video originated from a photograph (taken by a French soldier in 1904 or 1905) of Lingchi, the cruel execution practiced in China. Throughout the Chinese history, there have been three photographs of prisoners suffering lingchi and the photos were taken different French soldiers. These photos served as the proof of a “cruel and barbarous” China as well as an exotic attraction. Being associated with “the crucifixion in the East,” they were soon made into postcards and ...
Video Art ,
Single-channel video,35mm film transferred to DVD,Color,Black and White,no audio,
16'45", loop
Single-channel video,35mm film transferred to DVD,Color,Black and White,no audio,
16'45", loop
01 / 10
The Route
The Route was made for the 2006 Liverpool Biennial. In the video, Chen Chieh-jen invites Kaohsiung dockers to stage a “strike” to make a connection to Neptune Jade and its famous incident in the history of global labor movement. When Margaret Thatcher was in power in the 1980s, all ports were gradually privatized. Private companies hired nonunion workers and temporary workers to replace the union workers who used to work there. In the September of 1995, eighty dockers in Liverpool were fired ...
Video Art ,
Three-channel video installation,35mm film transferred to DVD,Black and White,Sound Video Installation,
70'12'' single-channel video+ 5'45"double-channel video, loop
Three-channel video installation,35mm film transferred to DVD,Black and White,Sound Video Installation,
70'12'' single-channel video+ 5'45"double-channel video, loop
Three-channel video installation,35mm film transferred to DVD,Black and White,Sound Video Installation,
70'12'' single-channel video+ 5'45"double-channel video, loop
Three-channel video installation,35mm film transferred to DVD,Black and White,Sound Video Installation,
70'12'' single-channel video+ 5'45"double-channel video, loop
01 / 10
Empire's BordersⅡ–Western Enterprises, Inc
In recent years, it has been a well-accepted fact to attribute Taiwan’s modernization and rapid economic growth to the period between 1950-1979 when the USA dominated and helped reform the political, economic, cultural structure in Taiwan. Based on such a “historical perspective,” the propaganda held by AIT (American Institute in Taiwan), the Taiwanese government, and academic research centers, the highly selected “empirical” documents/data/records, and the warm and touching stories narrated ...
Video Art ,
Single-channel video,35mm film transferred to DVD,Sound Video Installation,Color,Black and White,
26'50'' loop
Single-channel video,35mm film transferred to DVD,Sound Video Installation,Color,Black and White,
26'50'' loop
Single-channel video,35mm film transferred to DVD,Sound Video Installation,Color,Black and White,
26'50'' loop
Single-channel video,35mm film transferred to DVD,Sound Video Installation,Color,Black and White,
26'50'' loop
01 / 10
Empire's Borders I
Empire’s Borders I was based on Chen Chieh-Jen’s personal existence with AIT that his U.S. nonimmigrant visa application (for an invited trip to the USA) was denied because the consular officer suspected an attempt of “illegal immigration.” Compared with Americans who can visit Taiwan without a visa, Taiwanese (and many people from non-Western countries) need to present piles of documents and financial proof if they want to visit the USA – to make sure they have no attempt of illegal immigrat ...
Video Art ,
Chen Chieh-jen, 2005, Video Art
Chen Chieh-jen, 2003, Video Art
Chen Chieh-jen, 2010, Video Art
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