Tate Film: Chen Chieh-Jen

— Feb 21, 2020 by YIART

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Chen Chieh-Jen, an artist who is famous for caring for Taiwanese society, will participate in the Tate Film program in March this year. By holding 2 days long (March 6 and 7) of video playback and talk, the foreign audience can get closer to Taiwan ’s social context. Also, this program is presented in partnership with Taiwan Film Festival UK, who will first hold a talk with the RCA Film Night Series on March 2. Chen's films will allow the audience to revisit the neglected Taiwanese history through his videos.

In the late martial law period, Chen challenged the government with his performance art. After the release of martial law, Chen shifted his focus to Taiwan's social structure. Through the narrative form of videos, he tells stories of the changes in Taiwan's political and economic system. The people who he cares about are unemployed workers, foreign spouses, mobile workers, minority groups, and activists.

Take his work Factory (2003) for example. Chen brings the audience back to the historical moment when the clothes factory was deliberately shut down by the owners. It caused over a thousand people lost their job overnight and didn’t get any help from the government. Chen uses video to recreate the moment what we might neglect at that time.

The Route (2006) was inspired by the Liverpool Dockers' dispute in 1996, when the world was resisting the docking of the Liverpool cruise, and the cruise was finally docked at Kaohsiung Port because Taiwan has not heard of this boycott. The Route (2006) reconstructs the historical scene and attempts to re-complete of the unfinished strike that year. By connecting the relationship between Liverpool and Kaohsiung, it has resonated with people in common historical background.

The concept of "Empire's Borders I" (2008-9) comes from Chen’s own experience in applying for US visas. At the time, due to filling of incorrect forms, the interviewer thought that Chen intended to sneak. This video tells the eight classic cases in which the interviewers were treated poorly when applying for a U.S. visa. Chen explored the intendency of Xenophilia and issues derived from American imperialism.

Chen will bring his works, "Factory" (2003), "The Route" (2006), "Empire's Borders I" (2008-9), “Realm of Reverberations" (2014) and "Wind Songs" (2015), leading the audience to review the social and economic changes in Taiwan, and then reflecting the ideology of Taiwan society and minority groups.

Chen Chieh-Jen is born in 1960 is Taoyuan, Taiwan. His works have been collected by many international art institutions, including the Pompidou Center in Paris, M + Museum in Hong Kong, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, the Taipei Fine Art Museum and others. His works have represented the Venice Biennale, the Lyon Biennale, the Liverpool Biennale, the Sao Paulo Biennale, the Istanbul Biennale, the Moscow Biennale, the Sydney Biennale, the Taipei Biennale, Shanghai Biennale, Gwangju Biennale.


Date: 6 March 2020 at 19:00-20:30

Venue: Starr Cinema, Tate Modern


Date: 7 March 2020 at 14:00-16:00

Venue: Starr Cinema, Tate Modern


Date: 7 March 2020 at 17:00-18:00

Venue: Starr Cinema, Tate Modern

Figure 1: Chen Chieh-jen Factory 2003, film still. Courtesy the artist

Figure 2 top left:Chen Chieh-jen Realm of Reverberations 2015, video still. Courtesy the artist

Figure 2 top right:Chen Chieh-jen The Route 2006, film still. Courtesy the artist

Figure 2 bottom left:Chen Chieh-jen Empire’s Borders I 2008-9, video still. Courtesy the artist

Figure 2 bottom right:Chen Chieh-jen Factory 2003, film still. Courtesy the artist

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