[spectre] Shu Lea Cheang to represent Taiwan Pavilion at 2019 Venice Biennale

Andreas Broeckmann ab at mikro.in-berlin.de
Fri Jul 13 09:57:23 CEST 2018

news from a dedicated spectrite... (congratulations!)

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	July 12, 2018 	
Taipei Fine Arts Museum


Shu Lea Cheang,/ BRANDON, /1998–99. Collection of the Solomon R. 
Guggenheim Museum in New York. Courtesy of the artist.



*Artist Shu Lea Cheang to Represent Taiwan Pavilion at 2019 Venice 
Biennale *
May 11–November 24, 2019

*Taiwan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale*


The 2019 Taiwan Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, organized by 
Taipei Fine Arts Museum, will feature Shu Lea Cheang as representative 
artist. She is the first woman artist to be selected since the Taiwan 
Pavilion began holding single-artist exhibitions. The 2019 Taiwan 
Pavilion nominating committee was composed of a variety of professionals 
including independent curators, performing arts planners, artists, and 
art critics, affording broader room for debate and inspiration.

Taipei Fine Arts Museum director Ping Lin remarks: “The Venice Biennale 
Taiwan Pavilion is an international platform. Once every two years, we 
gather the Taiwanese contemporary art world together to imagine what 
this platform can be. In recent years Taiwanese artists and art 
institutions have elevated their participation in the global art 
community, generating a more refined and complex network of connections. 
For this reason, the nominating committee employed a greater level of 
strategic thinking, coloring their artist recommendations with stronger 
overtones of global strategy. Shu Lea Cheang, a pioneer of net art, not 
only in Taiwan but around the world, emerged as the first choice.”

Cheang remarks: “Since my net art work /BRANDON/ (1998-1999), a 
trajectory charged with detours and deviations has teleported me to 
Palazzo delle Prigioni, Venice, where crimes and punishment are 
revisited in a 16th century prison setting. My growing up in Taiwan was 
much associated with a tightly controlled society under Taiwan's martial 
law (1949-1987). My return to Taiwan after decades of living abroad has 
exposed me to a liberated, intricate and generous new generation with 
whom I have only now begun to become acquainted. To be representing 
Taiwan in its current complex state is a tremendous task, and I am 
grateful to be accompanied on this venture by the visionary curator Paul 
B. Preciado and the dedicated VB team at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum.”

*Contemporary Net Art pioneer*
Shu Lea Cheang (1954-) grew up in Taiwan and established her own 
distinctive perspective of art while living in the West, quickly carving 
out a terrain of her own in the internet world. Considering herself a 
“digital nomad,” her artistic footprints span Asia, Europe and North 
America. Her work encompasses such forms as net art installation, 
feature-length films, and art actions, in which she explores and 
rethinks the middle ground between technology and humanity in the era of 
globalization, repeatedly engaging in dialectic on social and political 
issues such as gender and body politics, ethnic and cultural diversity, 
history, and the environment.

The works of Shu Lea Cheang have always revolved around the nature of 
electronic/digital technology, emphasizing collective participation and 
intervention. In the 1980s Cheang was active in the production of 
independent videos and grass-roots television programs, as well as 
documenting the street demonstrations taking place at the time in New 
York. She also began working in video art, launching her career as an 
artist. In the 1990s she began to explore net art, creating 
installations combining computer programs and video interaction that 
connected virtual networks with real spaces. She also started a series 
of creative, performance and action projects. Her work /BRANDON/ 
(1998-1999) was the first web art commissioned and collected by the 
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Since 2000 she has anchored 
her works in the scenario of a post-netcrash age, developing a science 
fiction narrative as a countervailing force amidst the chorus of 
optimism about the future of the internet. Cheang’s work initiates an 
alternative imagining of the internet beyond its essential function as 
digital communication technology, transforming it into an artistic 
medium of collective creation, and inviting viewers to enter its milieu 
to discuss contemporary social issues. By creating collective 
experiences that cross cultures and bridge the virtual and real worlds 
to promote the redistribution of ideas with the aim of achieving genuine 
social action, she manifests the concept of contemporary art as a form 
that spans physical boundaries in the digital age.

*International curation*
To strengthen the international connections of the Taiwan Pavilion and 
open up multiple dialogues with the global art community, Taipei Fine 
Arts Museum and Shu Lea Cheang jointly agreed to invite the Spanish 
philosopher Paul B. Preciado (1970-) to serve as curator of the Taiwan 
Pavilion, in light of his apprehension of the creative context and the 
tacit understanding he has formed with the artist through long-term 
cooperation. Preciado earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Theory of 
Architecture from Princeton University and studied under Jacques Derrida 
in New York City. Preciado is today one of the leading thinkers in the 
fields of gender, sexuality, and body studies, following the steps of 
Michel Foucault and Judith Butler. He has taught at Université Paris 
VIII-Saint Denis and at New York University, served as Head of Research 
at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona, and was Curator of 
Public Programs for documenta 14 in 2017. With his solid reputation as 
academic scholar and curator, Preciado’s visionary projects dovetail 
with the Shu Lea Cheang’s creative background, lending the upcoming 
Taiwan Pavilion an interpretive approach able to penetrate the tension 
of the artworks.

Regarding the curation of the Taiwan Pavilion, Preciado states: “We are 
living through a moment of planetary transformation with the advent of 
artificial intelligence, sophisticated warfare technologies, genetic 
engineering, and global internet. This is a paradigm shift only 
comparable to the one that took place with the invention of the printing 
press and global colonization. The political and poetic potentiality of 
this moment is as big as the risks of building new forms of oppression 
and exclusion. We need new grammars and new images in order to forge a 
new subjectivity, to invent new ways of feeling and desiring. I see Shu 
Lea Cheang’s work as one of the most powerful creative and experimental 
tools to navigate this transition. Bringing together many underground 
traditions, from transfeminism, queer and anti-racist politics, as well 
as science fiction narrative, video art, and performance, Shu Lea 
Cheang’s work is a reflection on what it means to be free, to act freely 
within contemporary society. The historic halls of the Palazzo delle 
Prigioni Venice, the former prison of the Palazzo Ducale, are an 
exquisite site to think about the conditions of contemporary subjection, 
about the constructed limits between normalcy and deviancy, as well as 
to imagine new emancipatory practices.”

Further information on Shu Lea Cheang can be found at: 


311 East Broadway
New York, NY 10002, USA
Contact <mailto:contact at e-flux.com> Conversations 


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