The Dynamic of Melancholia
Chen Anan, Huang Shao-ying double solo show
展 期 ▕ 2016/10/22（六）— 2016/11/22（日）
開 幕 ▕ 2016/10/22（六）15:00
地 點 ▕ 朋 丁 pon ding 3樓
地 址 ▕ 台北市中山區中山北路一段53巷6號
░ 藝術家座談 artist talk
░ 展覽概念 Exhibition Statement
For English, please scroll down.
Two artists who address the origins of their own depressions based on their differing life experiences. One artist examines how her own sexual orientation, within a context of cross-cultural transition, space and language, affects the free expression, repression and restraint of her passion/lust; the other artist examines her own experiences within the environment in which she grew up. She explores how to project her own seemingly repetitive work and mental state and emotions onto carcasses suspended in space. We derive resonance from the depths of these depressions and are led to consider whether depressive states can only ever exist as negative and passive opposites of positive energy? Are they only negative energies that must be resisted within our lives? And how can the negativity and rejection of depression be transformed into a kind of reactive power?
Chen Anan draws on her experiences within the queer community and, under cross-cultural, linguistic, spatial and situational conditions, addresses the issue of to what degree her queerness should be visible - should she choose to come out, to not come out, or to waver in a state of ambiguity? Moreover, is it the case that the present day advocating of political slogans such as “Respect gender diversity” or “Build gender-neutral spaces” within mainstream Taiwan society has already caused a rupture in the actual life experience of LGBTQ? To put it another way, are the spaces that are constructed real spaces? Can they meet the survival needs of LGBTQ? Or is it just a fluffy illusion that forces the queer community to declare their pride and celebrate their identity? And does this fierce contradiction cause the development of another kind of depression on top of the old, denuded depression?
Huang Shao-ying draws on her own life experience to examine the idea that the nature of life is a state of repetitive labor. Humans’ work and lives are made up of repetitive actions. We go to work, we go home, we go back to work. The repetitive nature of these actions in turn gradually produces a feeling of emptiness. Our lives are an endless cycle of repetitive actions, and our work, mental state and emotions are constantly projected into this empty hole, the end result of which is depression. But if we view this from another angle, the artist imagines that depression is just a form of consciousness and once we are conscious of this, depression can become a kind of reverse power.
░ 藝術家個別論述 artist statement
陳安安 Chen Anan
For gays and queers, the decision whether or not to come out is often based on the type of space and environment they find themselves in, whether at home, in the workplace or in any of a range of social settings. To choose to out yourself, to not out yourself or to leave it unclear, our sexual identity drifts within this ambiguous language. This is how we protect ourselves and survive within a broader environment. The cloak of invisibility is the camouflage by which we live in mainstream society. But with mainstream society’s emphasis on subjective identity, can we also set aside an ambiguous space for expression? As governments emphasise the construction of gender-neutral spaces does this suggest an obligation to disclose our own sexual identities? And does invisibility now become an option with conditions attached?
With mainstream society lauding empty slogans such as “Respect sexual diversity” and “Gender neutrality” there is an emphasis on gender while putting to one side identity issues relating to class, poverty and labor rights. While the majority of people still choose invisibility, meaning that gender diversity remains unseen, how do we talk of respect? And when these empty slogans become a kind of PC option, creating an illusion of gender neutrality, does it not cause a neglecting of the realities that the LGBTQ community needs to face? This kind of sugar coating serves only to render discrimination, violence and the plight of others more concealed and invisible.
Contradictorily we return to the choices made by individual LGBTQ. Within a “gender neutral” environment the depression which we choose to wallow in is withheld from us. We have to celebrate our identity and assert our pride. And what is the space in which this occurs? The sanctuary of our ambiguous identities.
黃韶瑩 Huang Shao-ying
To me depression is an everyday occurrence. Facing life and feeling empty, we need to constantly generate energy. The fatigue of our bodies is a testament to the actions of our lives. To me this is a form of ordinary depression.
When I was small I often helped out in my family’s meat processing factory. Although after graduating from high school I no longer lived in the south, the memories of this time remain fresh in my mind and I can still clearly see the scene in my mind’s eye and feel the texture of the meat in my hands. In my memory vapor pours from the frozen goods storehouse while carcasses are piled on the rusty orange trolley to be pushed to an even more emotionless space. From the bodies that occupy this space I can almost feel my own body in this process of repetitive labor. This is a hollow space.
Recently I have frequently recalled this scene - the hollowed out carcasses as well as those still being processed. Bodies at work, being transformed by their external environment while individual consciousness seems to be forgotten in the midst of labor. I seem to see those hollowed out carcasses and the laborers’ bodies responding to each other, and then depression. From another angle, maybe the depression that I imagine is just an attempt to make the body feel the power of existence, just like trying to find proof of individuality and shake off depression within an environment but being constantly dragged down in the process. When I am thinking about things, maybe it my thoughts while depressed that are the most powerful. My depression can produce a kind of counterforce - like a form of consciousness.
In actual society, the work we do in our lives and the life we live in our work, neither can be escaped. But in my imagining even within reality we can still preserve individual consciousness. And day to day depression or inner emptiness maybe can become a kind of inverted negativity with the power of consciousness.