Tao Ya-lun's Solo Exhibition - Impenetrable Superficiality

Feb 27, 2010-Mar 28, 2010

Tao Ya-lun


Text/ Wang Li-li

In “Postmodernism and Consumer Society” renowned theorist Fredric Jameson identifies two key characteristics of postmodernism: The way in which reality is distorted into images and the fragmentation of time into a continuously moving present. These two elements not only offer a profound depiction of the cultural landscape of postmodernist virtual society, they also highlight the extent to which the existential situation faced in modern society differs from the past. This can be seen in the tendency towards the flattening or fragmentation of everything, the elimination of history and lack of connectivity. In this context, human existence is tantamount to that of a patient suffering from schizophrenia, namely a chaotic mixture of reality, virtuality and ruptured time, trapped in a superficiality that knows no depth, history, memory or self identity.

“Impenetrable Superficiality” (切不開的表面), the latest solo exhibition by Tao Ya-lun, to be held at Gallery 100 at the end of February 2010, is an attempt to cut away this superficiality through the use of lasers. The artist takes a real space and creates an environment in which reality replaces images, the human body substitutes for sense of sight, emptiness takes the place of fullness and extended connectivity replaces fleeting moments. On entering this space visitors are freed from the shackles of images and information and the control they exert over human existence in postmodern virtual society. This enables individuals to once again perceive reality and their true selves, which gives rise to a personal experience of great depth. As with Plato’s cave, the heterogeneous structure of time and space created by Tao Ya-lun ensures that real perception encounters real objects and events.

From the artist’s earliest image, sound and mechanical installations pieces to more recent laser works, Tao Ya-lun has consistently focused on the human condition in an era of information technology, arguing that this must not be limited to superficial images, technology and effects. Tao’s works are imbued with rich philosophical discourse and personal reflections that make them profound to view and encourages viewers to reflect further on the issues addressed.

As a new media artist Tao Ya-lun could be considered to be heading in a counter-intuitive direction, in as much as she utilizes her own body and existential perception to undermine the nothingness that accompanies virtual images. In contrast to virtual reality, the solo exhibition “Impenetrable Superficiality” makes use of lasers to construct a real/concrete virtual space. It is through the interaction of audience and space that meaning and depth are created in the same way Martin Heidegger suggest things can be transformed into zones – Lichtung and Ereignis - that nurture existence.

Tao Ya-lun, a former winner of the Taipei Arts Award and nominee for the Taishin Art Awards, is one of the most outstanding of a new generation of contemporary artists from Taiwan. On February 26th, 2010, Gallery 100 invites you to attend the official opening ceremony for one of the most anticipated new media art exhibitions of the year. Visitors should be ready for an experience that challenges their physical perceptions and instincts, one that asks us to look below the surface of what can be seen to a reflective space demanding further reflection.

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