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b. 1969, Taiwan

Yao Jui-chung Biography

Yao specialises in photography, installation, and painting. The themes of his works are varied, but they all examine the absurdity of the human condition.

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Representative works include the 'Action Series,' where he explores Taiwan’s identity in Military Takeover (1994), subverts modern Chinese political myths in Recovering Mainland China (1997), and examines post-colonialism in The World is for All (1997–2000), as well as Long March — Shifting the Universe (2002).

In recent years, he has created photo installations combining the style of 'gold and green landscape' with the superstitions that permeate Taiwanese folklore, expressing a false and alienated 'cold reality' that is specific to Taiwan. Representative works include the series 'Celestial Barbarians' (2000), 'Savage Paradise' (2000), and 'Heaven' (2001). Another photo installation series 'Libido of Death' (2002) and 'Hill' (2003) probe the eternal issue of body and soul.

Recently, Yao Jui-Chung has assembled all the black-and-white photos of ruins he took in the past 15 years, grouped under the themes of industry, religious idols, architecture, and military bases. They reveal the enormous ideological black hole in Taiwan hidden behind the trends of globalisation and Taiwan’s specific historical background as a continuation of the main theme of his work: the absurdity of the historical destiny of humanity.

Since 2007, Yao has started a series of works, including Wonderful (2007), Dust in the Wind (2008–2010), Dreamy (2008–2010), Romance (2009) and Honeymoon (2010–2011). He appropriates masterpieces from Chinese art history and reinterprets them in his own way, transforming them into his personal history or real stories in an attempt to turn grand narratives into the trivial affairs of his personal life. Yao intends to usurp the so-called orthodoxy with his recreated landscapes.

In 2010, Yao grouped his students into a team of photography workshop called the 'Lost Society Document' (LSD). He encouraged them to photograph and survey in their hometowns. Through the way of field survey, they attempt to portray 'mosquito houses,' which have been widely criticised. Titled Mirage: Disused Public Property in Taiwan, seven volumes of the photographs taken by the LSD have been published, encapsulating art’s potential as a tool for social observation.

The Incarnation project (2016–2020) covers more than 220 temples, cemeteries, public gardens, and amusement parks featuring the statues of deities created by the Han people in Taiwan. Fascinated by the way in which belief systems operate, the artist photographed these sites intensively, and spent over one year and a half for each section. The images were exhibited at Taipei Biennial 2020, which was curated by Bruno Latour and Martin Guinard with Eva Lin.

Graduated from the Taipei National University of the Arts with a degree in art theory, he has exhibited internationally. In 1997, he represented Taiwan in Facing Faces-Taiwan at the Venice Biennale. After that, he took part in the International Triennale of Contemporary Art Yokohama (2005), APT6 (2009), Taipei Biennial (2010), Shanghai Biennale (2012), Beijing Photo Biennale (2013), Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, Venice Architecture Biennale, Media City Seoul Biennale, Asia Triennial Manchester (2014), Asia Biennale (2015), Sydney Biennale (2016), and Shanghai Biennale (2018). Yao is the winner of the Multitude Art Prize (Hong Kong) in 2013 and 2014 Asia pacific Art Prize (Singapore). He received the Taishin Arts Award (Taiwan) in 2018. He is also widely involved in the fields of theatre and films.

Apart from art making, Yao Jui-Chung has also curated exhibitions, including The Realm of Illusion—The New Wave of Taiwan Photography (2002), King-Kong Never Dies—The Contemporary Performance & Video Art in Taiwan (2003), and Spellbound Aura—The New Vision of Chinese Photography (2004). His essays have been published in numerous art journals. He is a prolific author, publications including Installation Art in Taiwan Since 1991–2001 (2002), The New Wave of Contemporary Taiwan Photography Since 1999 (2003), Roam the Ruins of Taiwan (2004), Performance Art in Taiwan 1978–2004 (2005), A Walk in Contemporary Art: Roaming the Rebellious Streets (2005), Ruined Islands (2007), Yao Jui-Chung (2008), Beyond Humanity (2008), Nebulous Light (2009), and Biennial-Hop (2010), Mirage: Disused Public Property in Taiwan Ⅰ, Ⅱ, Ⅲ, Ⅳ, V, Ⅵ, Ⅶ (2010–2018), Incarnation (2017), and Photo-logues Ⅰ&Ⅱ (2018, 2019).

His work is housed in renowned institutions and private collections, including the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan; Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung, Taiwan; National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art Collection, Cornell University, U.S.; Bibliothèque National de France, Paris, France; Art Museum of Seoul, Seoul, South Korea. Yao Jui-Chung currently works as an artist and associate professor at the Department of Fine Arts of the National Taiwan Normal University. He is also on the board of directors of the National Culture and Arts Foundation.

Text courtesy TKG+

Yao Jui-chung Featured Artworks

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Incarnation by Yao Jui-chung contemporary artwork
Yao Jui-chungIncarnation, 2016–2020Photo, fiber-based gelatin silver print, 18.5×23.5 cm each
Taipei Fine Arts Museum
Good Times: Welcome Home by Yao Jui-chung contemporary artwork
Yao Jui-chungGood Times: Welcome Home, 2017Gold leaf and ink pen on Indian handmade paper
140 x 100 cm
Tina Keng Gallery Contact Gallery
Good Times: Selfie by Yao Jui-chung contemporary artwork
Yao Jui-chungGood Times: Selfie, 2017Gold leaf and ink pen on Indian handmade paper
140 x 100 cm
Tina Keng Gallery Contact Gallery
Small Landscape Ⅱ: Central Cliffy by Yao Jui-chung contemporary artwork
Yao Jui-chungSmall Landscape Ⅱ: Central Cliffy, 2015Gold leaf and ink pen on Indian handmade paper
110 x 110 cm
Tina Keng Gallery Contact Gallery
Small Landscape II: Peace of mind by Yao Jui-chung contemporary artwork
Yao Jui-chungSmall Landscape II: Peace of mind, 2015Gold leaf and ink pen on Indian handmade paper
110 x 110 cm
Tina Keng Gallery Contact Gallery
Cliffs & Gully : Savage Valley by Yao Jui-chung contemporary artwork
Yao Jui-chungCliffs & Gully : Savage Valley, 2018Gold leaf and ink pen on Indian handmade paper
110 x 110 cm
Tina Keng Gallery Contact Gallery
Cliffs & Gully : Buddha on the Top by Yao Jui-chung contemporary artwork
Yao Jui-chungCliffs & Gully : Buddha on the Top, 2018Gold leaf and ink pen on Indian handmade paper
110 x 110 cm
Tina Keng Gallery Contact Gallery
Incarnation (Addendum Edition) 巨神連線補遺版 by Yao Jui-chung contemporary artwork
Yao Jui-chungIncarnation (Addendum Edition) 巨神連線補遺版, 2019Fiber-based gelatin silver print
50.7 x 50.7 cm
TKG+ Contact Gallery

Yao Jui-chung Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Show, PLUS X at TKG+, TKG+, Taipei
Closed
7 December 2019–22 January 2020 Group Show PLUS X TKG+TKG+, Taipei
Contemporary art exhibition, Yao Jui-chung, Vimalā-bhūmi 離垢地 at Tina Keng Gallery, Taipei
Closed
12 October–17 November 2019 Yao Jui-chung Vimalā-bhūmi 離垢地 Tina Keng GalleryTaipei

Yao Jui-chung Represented By

TKG+ contemporary art gallery in TKG+, Taipei, Taiwan TKG+ Taipei

Yao Jui-chung In Ocula Magazine

Taipei Stays Open: Shows to See Ocula Feature Taipei Stays Open: Shows to See By Tessa Moldan, Taipei

With Taipei Dangdai launching the online platform Taipei Connections, here's a roundup of shows to see across Taipei.

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Taipei Dangdai Launches Digital Platform With Ocula Ocula News Taipei Dangdai Launches Digital Platform With Ocula Taipei, 23 April 2020

Taipei Connections seeks to build a bridge between galleries and collectors separated by COVID-19.

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Taipei Biennial Announces 'Planetarium' of Participating Artists Ocula News Taipei Biennial Announces 'Planetarium' of Participating Artists Taipei, 21 April 2020

Curators said each artist would have their own pull of gravity in the exhibition.

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Yao Jui-chung In Related Press

5 Highlights from the Asian Art Biennial 2015 Related Press 5 Highlights from the Asian Art Biennial 2015 15 October 2015, Art Radar

Founded in 1988 under the auspices of the Taiwan Provincial Government’s Department of Education, NTMoFA was and remains the only public fine arts museum in Taiwan. In a push to downsize the Provincial Government in 1999, the museum was transferred into the hands of the Council of Cultural Affairs (now the Ministry of Culture as of 2012), and...

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Ink Remix at CMAG: Chinese traditions remixed in cutting-edge collection Related Press Ink Remix at CMAG: Chinese traditions remixed in cutting-edge collection 1 July 2015, The Sydney Morning Herald

Delicate brush strokes on paper – calligraphy, lyrical subjects, perhaps woodblock prints on handmade stock. These are the things that most commonly spring to mind when it comes to Chinese ink art – ancient methods and traditional subjects, perhaps reinterpreted in a contemporary context but always recognisable. Recognisable and...

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Yao Jui-chung In Video & Audio

Michael Goedhuis on Yao Jui-chung Related Video & Audio Michael Goedhuis on Yao Jui-chung 19 June 2015, Michael Goedhuis

Michael Goedhuis and GalleryLOG reunite to bring another compelling 2-minute video on contemporary Chinese ink art. In this installment, Michael Goedhuis discusses Taiwanese artist Yao Jui-chung - born in 1969 in Taipei and coming of age in the 1990s - who is one of the most prolific artistic practitioners of his generation. As an artist, his work...

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