Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts

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Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts
One Piece Room Chen Yun Solo Exhibition
2014-02-27 ~ 2014-04-27

Text by Huang, Sun Quan

“I often lived alone when I was a child. Therefore, I had many imaginary male and female friends from around the world. They all stayed in the vessels in my house, and had their own reasons to end their ephemeral life. Others might regard their problems as insignificant. However, each of these problems at the moment of occurrence was significant enough to make the one involved miserable. They might even never forget the problems in their lifetime.”

Chen Yun has been living in the house where her father stored a variety of collected objects. In addition to various joss papers, her father also collected old pictures, films, comics, and an old-fashioned dressing table, which altogether turned the house into a small museum. When Chen was nine years old, her mother died of a disease. Since then, the museum-like house became a lonely dwelling during her youthhood. She imagined the scene that many good friends stay in the objects collected and put around her bed by her father. Each of her friends had a fixed position. She could pour out her emotions to them and vice versa. She greeted each of them with a roll call every evening. Having their company, Chen got over the pain of bereavement, the possible harms to her growing-up, and the lonely youthhood. Finally, she buried her secrets together with these friends, and wrote them an epitaph of “micro-death” (out of trivial and nonsensical reasons). Then, she grew up by recognizing the fact that time elapses.

In the exhibition venue, Chen’s installations created an extremely quiet and horrifying atmosphere. Her works almost immediately reminded the audience of the atmosphere prevailed in their youthhood. We may sometimes feel sad or have the thought of committing suicide in our lifetime. Whether trivial emotions or wishful thinking, and whether heartbreaking bereavements or silly quarrels with classmates, these situations were all brought about by the side effects of our youthhood. Most of us may have imaginary friends who accompany and talk to us. And they fade away one by one as we get older and older.

When the artist focused on the creation of her private and exclusive language, she reminded us of our bittersweet youthhood and forced us to retrieve our painful memories in an in-depth manner. Besides, the metaphor of “imaginary friends staying in objects” reminded us that something we have forgotten still exist in our life. Objects are occupied by spirits and memories. We are unable to grow in maturity until we get over these bittersweet memories.


An excerpt from The Collective Memories of Youthhood, Goodbye to the Suffering Spirit-Body: “It’s Been a Long Time” by the 2013 Kaohsiung Award Winner, Chen Yun