Taiwanese artist Tseng Yu-Chin was born in 1978 and graduated from the Taipei National University of the Arts. Seeing himself as a producer of experimental cinema, he is a representative of the latest generation of Taiwanese filmmakers, and many of his films are available on the internet. In his video works, he depicts the loneliness and solitude of his actors. His mode of expression is often ripe with torment and the rhetoric of martyrdom, turning his work into mournful short dramas that drift along the boundaries of language.
It has been said that Tseng Yu-Chin’s work, encompassing the fragments and recollections of memory, brings forth as its main chord a mellow bitterness that remains in the heart but can never be spoken. The piece he showed at Documenta XII in 2007, who is listening, depicts several children having milk poured over their heads while smiling at the lens. Such works recall the deeply humanistic atmospheric touches of Taiwanese experimental film from the 1970s and 1980s.
For this exhibition, Tseng Yu-Chin presents the dual channel video piece Assumption of I Hate Assumption. Similar images are projected on two facing screens: the scene is a schoolbus full of students straight out of class. All have their eyes closed, while their bodies gently rock to the rhythm of the background music and the motions of the bus. This vision feels as if it had struck the artist suddenly as he awoke from his sleep: who is this person sleeping next to me, and what happened to my memory? In that moment of confusion, he may have recalled a moment on the bus from his youth. The bright spring sun scatters across his skin through the window, the air conditioning is quiet but cool, and he involuntarily closes his eyes—that kind of comfort is difficult to forget. The artist hopes that life can remain in such a state: eyes shut, can’t see; ears closed, can’t hear; only the mouth continues to breathe while the skin senses the crispness of the air temperature. This work begs a question worthy of significant contemplation: between you and men, between collectivity and the individual, between history and oblivion, how can we located the position and identity of any particular person?