Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts

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Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts
And It Came to Pass — Chu ChunTeng Solo Exhibition
2020-01-17 ~ 2020-04-19
Artist : Chu ChunTeng 
Curator : Wang Rui-Xu   

“With death, Dasein stands before itself in its ownmost potentiality-for-Being.”

                                                                                               --Martin Heidegger, Being and Time


text |Wang Rui-Xu  

When the clock of the meaning of life begins to count down, what remains from our conditions of life? Or, in what kinds of states would life exist from this point on? Just as Heidegger said, “Being towards Death,” dying and dead are two different concepts—dead refers to the true physiological end of men, whereas dying is a process, which indicates that, being towards death, with every breath we take when we are alive, we breathe in less air; life will go through qualitative change with the countdown towards death, and as it fades, life will look for the meaning of own existence in the process, becoming “past being” that proves existence by passing away.

“And It Came to Pass” seems to leave behind no traces, but when facing the passing of time, Chu ChunTeng constantly shifts to and from, and back and forth, this point and that point, forming a loop of gaze on life faced with the passing of time. This loop does not remain in one spot, instead, it is statically suspended and dynamically arriving in the passing of time, freezing and sealing people with the very moment gazed upon by the artist; it transitions from the atmosphere of tranquility to the immersion of gaze, so that people indulge in the life conditions in the videos and cannot break away; it breaks free from binary thinking of subjectivity and objectivity, allowing the artist’s gaze, the objects in the videos, and audience’s perspectives, to jointly mirror a sonata of perceptions, and resonate with the suspended and arriving states of the facing of the passing in the works, drawing out own life experiences of audiences, as they are either ambushed by the past, quickly forgotten by the present, or left behind in the past by the future, so that we believe that the suspended and arriving states of being towards death are full of perceptive implosions, and segmented loop can better expose the truest and the most revealing self in front of time, and interpret the entirety of life, giving rise to a moment of resistance in life to more organically extend the agency of life.

From “Rhythm of Life” in 2006, “After” in 2011, to “Ever After”in 2019, Chu has long searched through his artworks the incommunicable intervals within life, subjects, events and objects, and consciously captures through gazes the “past being” towards death. Among these works, “August 15th” is the keystone of his gaze on the passing and existence of life, boosting the momentum of Chu’s latest creative work entitled “And It Came to Pass”in 2019. “And It Came to Pass” originates from Chu ChunTeng’s artist-in-residence experience in Chongqing in 2019. With a background in filmmaking, Chu captures the passing and existence of life of a mountain city in the ancient capital with rich history through the movement of camera; also, through unique personal view, he peels and explores the layers of the relationship between the passing and existence of life and history, culture, and society.

“And It Came to Pass” is Chu’s first solo exhibition that combs through own creative context. First, in terms of context, he abandons the use of linear timeline as a method of retrospection; instead, the core of his endeavor is a looping state of being towards death that flows through his creative context like a liquid. Moreover, in terms of exhibition format, he breaks the linear structure of narratives through multichannel videos and directorial installations, turning the exhibition venue into a space of montage, and weaving and constructing a narrative structure that is more of a pseudo-ecosystem. Audience can freely roam within, collecting and reassembling the various fragments of the loop of “past being” within his videos. In this exhibition, there are no narrations, and no narratives with excessive and deliberate descriptions; instead, there are gazes on the state of past being of life, partial actions without temporality yet they hegemonically intervene with the wholeness of time, accelerating the collision for the appearances of life as it is.


text | Chu ChunTeng

Between entering film school in 2000 and going abroad to Britain in 2008, I came to have great doubts about the reality that could be represented by video over this eight-year period. Except for constructing illusions through montage and editing control, what other possibilities are there for each and every second in a video?

With such great anxiety and doubts, installation became a breakthrough point. In addition to two-dimensional scenes, I realized that I could recreate three-dimensional narrative structures in-between physical spaces and objects. Therefore, in my installations, I still created from the perspective of a filmmaker, just that the ways I used images and languages changed, as objects became my actors, spaces became sets and scenes, and lastly, the camera became the eyes and bodies of myself and audience; on the other hand, the works presented a structure and sense of presence more similar to theater.

Ten years into my creative journey, I shifted my creative focus back onto video in 2017. From “August 15th” in 2017 to “Rooftop” in 2019, in addition to mutual integration and propulsion of formal aesthetics and narrative structure, which was my forte, I also tried to reconstruct the mutually gazing/projecting relationship between video (subject) and audience (object) in these multichannel videos through horizontally expanded narrative threads under spatial and multichannel frameworks.

In this exhibition, “And It Came to Pass,” at Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, other than the latest five-channel installation “Ever After,” I have also selected works created at various turning points in my career. I hope to inch closer to the core underneath the topics and formats on the surface by combing through these works, as well as to reflect the course of my journey that has gone a full circle back to video.