Contemporary art center Casino Luxemburg will host a multimedia Taiwanese exhibition titled "Elysium" to provide an objective look at the religious absurdities that are ravaging East Asia. Curator Wu Dar-kuen (吳達坤) believes that in today's Taiwan, a land of ever-multiplying divinities and mysticism, religious faith no longer serves to bring spiritual salvation but to satisfy human desires.
The two featured artists are Yao Jui-chung (姚瑞中) and Su Hui-yu (蘇匯宇). Through meaningful dialogue between the two Taipei-born artists who attempt to transcend socio-historical confines, "Elysium" hopes to pinpoint the Leviathan behind the massive religious world — human desire.
By seeking salvation in gods, the people of Taiwan cast the "karma" produced by their desires upon the deities themselves. As religions metamorphose into the carriers of human desires, these deities "leverage" the power of karma and continue to be reincarnated as multifarious colossal statues across the island, perpetuating a cycle that keeps summoning the phantoms of history to be used as a driving force behind the emergence of new deities.
Begun in 2016 and shot intensively over a year and a half, Yao's photographic and moving-image project "Incarnation" covers more than 230 temples, cemeteries, public gardens, and amusement parks around Taiwan. Many feature statues of deities created by ethnic Chinese communities in reference to their self-image.
Unlike Yao, who tends to take photographs in bulk and apply the aesthetics of scale to field surveys, Su has been refining a new set of erotic imagery created by reinterpreting and reshooting earlier works. For example, his 2017 video installation "The Walker" deconstructs three plays produced by the Taiwan Walker Theatre and then ingeniously uses the elements to portray his wild imaginings about history, the extreme dimensions of pop culture addressed in art films, and the subcultural modality of The Other.
By virtue of their discerning eyes, this exhibition shall penetrate through the abyssal depth of human desires to uncover the ultimate truth. An experimental music concert featuring Taiwanese singer Pon and the Network Afterlife Existence Storage Corporation (NAXS Corp.) is also scheduled for June 27.
"Elysium" is made possible by the collaboration of Casino Luxemburg, VT Artsalon, and the Taiwan Cultural Center in Paris.
‘Elysium: The Spiritual Journey of Yao Jui-chung & Su Hui-yu’