Hsu Hsin-wen Solo Exhibition

Conversation of Split & Illusion







Conversation of Split & Illusion - Hsu Hsin-wen Solo Exhibition


Artist | Hsu Hsin-wen

Opening Reception | 06.01.2019 Sat. 3:00 p.m.

Artist Talk | 06.22.2019 Sat. 3:00 p.m. Talk with Tan Li-hsin

Duration | 06.01.2019 – 06.30.2019(10:00-19:00 Closed on Mondays)

Venue | Powen Gallery Map


Article / Aurelia Chan


This solo exhibition manifests the idea of dialogue between the split and the illusion of objects. Objects are recombined and as in cell division, emerged as new bodies, like chlorophyll absorbing sunlight and converting it into new energy. Familiar objects bear memories. While transmitting messages, they also try to abandon their shackles and assume fictional yet natural illusion to further explore their very essence. Rich in symbols and imageries, the creations quietly draw viewers into many conversations while pondering the creations. The private conversations between objects and objects/ people and objects/people and illusions are intimate but empty, and real yet illusory.


After many years in graphic design, artist Hsu Hsin-wen later devoted herself to artistic creation. Accomplished in using everyday objects such as pencils, water pipes, branches and paper as a medium, she connects her works with the memories/impressions of her viewers, thus inspiring greater resonance. The unique Chinese aesthetics in her works embody the flow of nature and the extension of plants and life. Objects associated with memories, such as paper and pencil, are gentle and delicate yet profound, endowing the installation art with a fresh poetic image.


The Conversation of Split & Illusion is a creation of dialogue and the many forms through which the artist expresses her thinking about her subjective experiences. The new series of sculpture-like creations uses water pipes to encapsulate and blend the two ends of space and time, like the circuit of our memories spreading over cities and imaginary boundaries. On the other hand, all the potential in discarded objects may be revisited in the purest form of their materials and assimilated into the conception point of the creation....






Materiality, Relationship and Landscape: The Aesthetics in Conversation of Split & Illusion by Hsu Hsin-wen


Article by Tan Li-hsin


In her solo exhibition entitled Conversation of Split & Illusion, artist Hsu Hsin-wen used everyday objects as her vocabulary to compose a natural landscape of relationships. Regardless of her individual pieces or entire series, her creations reveal enigmatic relationships that are explicit yet latent. Her creation, A Square, is constructed with pieces of transparent water pipes. The proliferation of images is achieved through light projection and tiny circular forms that poetically draw our vision from a single plastic material to a display of cellular organisms suggested by the energy of the overall construction. In the Scenery in Memory, water is depicted as endless rolling waves using artificial tubes captured within a frame. In the duality of entity and application, she used the exploration of physicality as the entity and the interpretation of art media as application. Through the complementary duality, the creation nestled within the frame emanates a unique sense of both virtuality and reality. Viewed purely from the context of art history, its form, content and symbolic meaning clearly belong to the " found object art" or "assemblages" line of modern art. However, while such understanding of an aesthetic activity can quickly and effectively allow us to grasp the positioning and meaning of the work, it also returns us to our daily behavioral patterns where practicality and utilitarianism are standards by which values are assigned and weighed. Nevertheless, a departure from measurable normative standards always seems to leave us overwhelmed and anxious.


This is because the artist is very versatile in her skills and techniques with ready-made media, and is not complacent in her mastery over the integration of special materials and techniques. As such, viewers can no longer interpret her creations according to a technical conceptual framework. From this viewpoint, Hsin-wen is in fact oriented to the eternal topic of dialogue between people and things. Since phenomenology, both ideologists and artists have been fascinated by the meaning of artistic creations. Art is an "object". First of all, it is based on its material characteristics. It has a specific existence occupying physical space, such as color, texture and volume. However, general objects are merely an aggregate of existence and are useful only to the extent of its instrumental thinking. The works of Hsin-wen are certainly not an expression of pure material aesthetics. Artworks are different from ordinary objects because they transcend general materiality and instrumentality. At the same time, they are not the sum of the relationships between material representation or imagination. Thus, her works reveal the "use of uselessness" described by Zhuangzi and create a transcendental world of self-being. In other words, her artworks themselves create a hidden world while setting up an open field to the world.


Herein, open means not looking at things according to specific concepts, such as by preserving the original material of everyday objects in the works but erasing their intended functions. The openness in art opposes the use of specific theories to interpret their creative implication. Therefore if we view her works from a specific historical perspective, we become alienated from her creations. However, by contemplating them through other states, the unfamiliar and undiscovered quality of the substance will be manifested. The meaning of openness is not an advanced description of certain objects and principles. Instead, it is the understanding of a goal and focusing on the accompanying emergence of multiple phenomena in the same way that an artist constructs with industrial materials without granting established symbolic meanings. Therefore even as we behold a scene that is self-evident, we must also assume a certain bearing and open up all positions. We must regard conceptual forms derived from prior and different forms, and repeatedly define and examine the trail from which the meaning arrived. With the world opened to us, we can respond to it through feelings and expressions: the infinite process of opening and closing allows us to constantly explain its characteristics. Conversation of Split & Illusion emphasizes abandoning prior definition of "what art is" and replacing it with the question of "what art has" when trying to understand a work of art.


The artist has long been intuitively inclined to use a variety of linear media, first with pencils then recently with transparent water pipes. The varying lengths of the linear structure are both strongly directional and symbolic, and almost indexical, a metaphorical aesthetic gesture of an" instrument." On the other hand, in the linear alignment of different lengths, the natural gaps in the different linear segments become wrinkles of fluctuating depths. This generates splits in the object itself, creating a unique expression that is apart from the subject. It transcends the meaning of the existing carrier and shapes an inner and outer tension that changes infinitely. Such a technique seems to reveal the poetic essence of the object, like a chaotic concept poised to launch and the unsung poems of the deaf and mute. Simply put, the poetic quality of an instrument and the art of the object are the most powerful manifestation of the paradoxical inner and outer tension in her works. In the process of creation, various indescribable thoughts are formed through moments of emotional collage. The idea of the final image remains unformed during the process; only a state of "emotional movement" has been forged. The myriad of shapes, structures and network change in concert to depict a "relationship" landscape. At this point, the meaning of the "relationship landscape has yet to emerge. Until the final meaning is completed, the return to materiality can be reached and imagined, and even the blank space can be inhabited.


The "relationship landscape" is a primitive scene of the spirit that contains openness and measures changes in emotional movement between people and things. To truly describe the significance of this landscape in Hsin-wen's creations, perhaps the most obvious image would be the "image" of flowing water. In almost every exhibition, all her works refer to the image of water. Almost every work in this exhibition perfectly alludes to the image of water to some extent. At the same time, the poetic symbol of water fully summarizes the cultural metaphors in the exhibition. Culturally speaking, water has always been the crucible for all things. Regardless of whether the water in the artist's work is enclosed by tubular objects, the intangible significance of the transparent gushing within can still be felt. The metaphor of water in her work has abandoned the solidified form of an object to free our spirit to flow smoothly and our hearts to calm. Nevertheless, with the inorganic monument of daily industrial matter in the appearance of the work, we need a great amount of water to wash away the ruins of industrial civilization and return us to the primitive universe of all creatures. In going back and forth, the greatest enlightenment brought about by the open works is its analogy to the original "flood" and "growing earth" in ancient Chinese mythology. Water is the source of all things and the driving force that brings poetry to a work. However, we still need a sacred land to inhabit, and that sacred earth is the work itself. This is the inspiration that the artist has given us, and the aesthetic significance of Conversation of Split & Illusion.