It is a discussion about the phenomenon that how an image reveals the appearance of the photographed object and the self-definition of the photographer. In the exhibition, I intend to demonstrate the conversation between the “noumena” of the photographed and the photographer. Through photography, which is adopted as a documentary medium, it becomes possible to interpret the self-perception of one’s own projected existence of the photographed object and the perceptive perspective of the photographer behind the camera. The existence of the photographed is the creation of the Creator, while its quality and appearance represent the sum of the object’s “flesh” and “spirit.” The phenomenological status of definition or ambiguity is thus regarded as the commonly acknowledged name of the object – defined through its essence – or the imagery projection of the perceiver. In the exhibition Thing in Itself, the exhibiting works invite viewers to perceive the responsive interaction among the photographed, the photographer, and themselves without offering any scientific or religious interpretation.
The exhibition is divided into two section, while the series works Face I and Face II in the first section demonstrate the perception of time and the essence of objects to viewers. In the series Face, the artist attempts to unveil the conflict between the visual and the perceptual, which verifies the cognitive difference through the passing of time. Since “time” cannot be identified, it brings out a dialectic challenge of visual perception. Even though we are living in the present, we still fail to keep any second with us from passing away. Our perception functions as an image documenting the present moment as if time just stops here. However, it is out of our reach to understand the variation of the truth. Each moment we experience within such a conflict stimulates the inner momentary disturbance in our hearts. In the work, each ten-minute video clip contains the variation of 64 faces and 600 facial changes. The more carefully viewers observe it, the less they can identify the images. The world of truth, in our hearts, is preserved as a frozen image – through which we see, we believe, but we fail to identify it. The gaze is the incomprehensible black hole existing in our hearts, and it absorbs everything we have once had. In this section, we also invite viewers to experience the perception of time in the most truthful way. The visual installation work Face I has eight pieces in one set, while it contains a tripod to carry the frame-structure and the penetrating image of the “noumenon.” As represented in the reflection, viewers are allowed to observe different facial expressions from various angles through the eight concentric circles in the visual installation. The perspective and the reflection thus encourage viewers to experience their individual perceptual conversation about the “noumena.”
The second section features Chen’s latest works, Thing in Itself, a combination of still and moving images. In the still images, the recorder is manipulated by the photographer’s perception and perceptual reaction. Objects, which function as recorders, help visualize the photographed, while its frozen image becomes a partial response to the content of the moving images – a short film shot with the 1/1000 slow speed motor combined with a tracking dolly and a remote control multi-function mount. In the moving images, the gazes of the self, the other, and the object are revealed, offering a response to the conversation among the three through images. Through such a perceptual conversation of “gazing,” viewers are allowed to observe the “Thing in Itself” in an unaffected way.