SU Yu-Hsien

b. 1982. Lives and works in Tainan. SU Yu Hsien studied at the Graduate Institute of Plastic Arts, TNNUA. In 2011, his works were presented at “The Heard and the Unheard?Soundscape Taiwan” at the Taiwan Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale. In 2007, SU was awarded the Kaohsiung Award and the Taipei Arts Award’s first prize. His latest work was Hua-Shan-Qiang in 2013.

Hua-Shan-Qiang, 2013
Video, color, sound, 21 min. 8 sec., Photos, gelatin silver prints, 50×41 cm (each), 28 pieces as 1 set, Installation, paper offering, dimensions variable

Courtesy the artist

A man who died from burning himself comes to a paper house, where Golden Boy and Jade Lady await to take him to the Western Paradise. He climbs up to the Hua-Shan-Qiang, and his soul goes through a fable of ethnicity.

Fable can be a tiny imprint of a character; it can also be a profound political narrative. Included in its core are the shared history and consciousness of all Taiwanese. SU Yu-Hsien used these to connect folk traditions, ceremonial rituals, language and symbols, creating a unique narrative body in this work.
“Spirit is ghost, it is within a fire that burns everything, but it also reflects everyone’s desires and illusions.”
SU’s masterful skills interweave real-world and imaginary characters, turning the increasingly vulgar funeral ceremonies in Taiwan into an innovation of artistic language through interdisciplinary media and cultural thinking that co-construct a journey to the underworld with classical Taiwanese language. By comparing the realms of the living and the dead, Hua-Shan-Qiang gives a new perspective of the history, politics and culture of colonized Taiwan with videos, installations and folk paper crafts. [The 12th Taishin Arts Award Exhibition, Taishin Bank Foundation for Arts and Culture]