UBC | Digital Visions
Digital Visions
Tseng Yu-Chin
Writer: Ying Shang

Taiwanese art has accelerated during the last two decades for a variety of reasons. Having recently outgrown the experimental stage in which artists were mostly imitating western art movements, present day Taiwanese artists have begun to develop their own direction within their work. For example, more and more contemporary Taiwanese artists find their interests lie with in installation art and video productions. Tseng Yu-Chin is one of the emerging voices within this movement. Having graduated from Shih Chien University in Communication Design, he is currently a graduate student at Taipei National University of Arts. Several of his works have won outstanding local awards, such as The 2004 Taipei Art Award for his video production "Who is listening?"

Tseng Yu-Chin's video art focuses on the psychological world of everyday people rather than documenting the external world. Most of his works deal with issues such as memory and people's consciousness. Derived largely from personal experiences, his artwork evokes sentiments such as grief, shame, unhappiness, comfort and love; this in turn binds the viewers with universal experiences. Undoubtedly, some viewers will find sections of his work shocking, even offensive, upon first glance. However, after several visits, viewers will hopefully begin to understand the reasons behind Tseng's choices of images and his ultimate intentions. For example, in "Who is listening?" viewers discover a boy wearing only a pair of shorts, playing intimately with a woman (I will assume that she is his mother). With the background noises of laughter and heavy breathing, viewers might associate this scene with sexual connotations. After watching for a while more, one may realize that this piece is actually depicting something more than eroticism. In a way, Tseng plays with different realizations of conventional sexual concepts between adults and children. Whereas adults generally have more assumptions and rules regarding sexuality, children usually do not have these assumptions and constraints in place. Therefore, children tend to be less inhibited and more open to experiences that are considered "sexual" by adults.

In terms of Tseng's growing reputation as a contemporary artist, his distributional success has allowed his work to become more visible to an international audience, given his works are also on display on-line at www.oxy-spot.com. More importantly, the web site is available in both English and Chinese, giving non-Chinese viewers an extended opportunity to explore and experience his works. Additionally, his poetic and sensual writings about his works also provide a second dimension in which to frame his work's meaning.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to have interviewed Mr. Tseng Yu-Chin by e-mail. In our email conversations, the artist reflected on how he discovered video art the context in which his work fits within the Taiwanese market. Tseng was also gracious enough to further discuss how the education system functions in Taiwan and how all these factors have impacted his creative art process. Tseng's discussions about his art has especially assisted in comprehending his work in greater depth and in relation to contemporary trends in Taiwan. I am presenting our email exchanges as a dialogue for the reader to follow and learn as I did. While the exchange below is translated into English, the original text is also available.

Ying: Hello Tseng, I am an art student living and working in Canada; however, my early education and life started in Mainland China. I would be really appreciative if you could talk about your own education and it impacts on your production. Furthermore, if you could give me an overview of how your work is received and displayed in Taiwan and abroad, this will assist with further questions. Lastly any thoughts on Taiwanese art movements, people or other concepts happening and their role in your art product will all assist future questioning. Thanks.

Tseng: I originally studied biochemistry at the university however after some deep changes in my family life, I switched to the visual communication design department at Shih Chien University. These studies focused on animation, web, and print design. After my studies I was able to access a local theatre's props and within a year, I learned the fundamentals of how to stage atmosphere and create space. However, it was after I entered the Graduate School of Technical Art at Taipei National University of the Arts that I began to acknowledge academic theory and the correspondence between individual art works and their relation to the art system.

Regarding my training audio visual training, I suggest this began in high school. I also went to an extracurricular photographic association and learned about still life photography over an extended eight or nine year period. Although it was not until I went to university did I begin to understand computer graphic design and digital visual art.

My personal interest in European films is another factor that influenced narratives I create. I am more interested in how passages of life and video echo each other and interact.

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Site: oxy-spot
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