"Things" derive their status and meaning from their context and the practices that reproduce and uphold them. They become identified through recognizable signs - just like in the social world, it is through language, gestures and style that we reveal our membership in particular milieus. But if detached and taken out of context, these signs and gestures lose their fixed meanings and identity. It is through the method of de- and re-contextualization that Yu-Cheng Chou plays with the relation between source and product, meaning and materiality. In his work, he uses strategies and "tricks" of design to achieve subtle displacements of meaning, such that produce moments of wondering, of surprise, and initiate a reflection on the frames that define what we see and know.
His work for the Taipei Biennial consists of three such displacements and interventions. The first piece entitled "Aurora" is a cooperation with a company based in Taiwan that holds a world-renowned collection of Chinese antiques. From this collection, a group of objects is shown in the Biennial exhibition - but it is presented in a display quite different from the way "antiques" are usually presented - those displays that underlie their status as "treasures from the past". In Chou's display, to the contrary, the antiques are "spectacularized", placed in a post-modern designed vitrine under moving lights. How is value produced through context and aura, and what means the evaluation - and de-valuation - of the past in the present? These questions are further enhanced by the content of the vitrine, figurines of types (such as servants) credited as archeological grave-goods meant to service the dead in the afterlife.
Another work by Chou also highlights and subverts the role - and spatial "grammar" - of the gallery and the institution of the museum, as he places everyday objects such as bottles of drinks - as if left by construction workers - on the metal tubes of the air-condition, one of the recent additions to the TFAM gallery in the 1st floor. HIs third contribution is found in the upper floors, and consists in the placement in two similar architectural spots of two similar-looking sculptures by artist Yang Po-Ling found in the TFAM collection.