Mori Art Museum DIGITAL

2020.4.28 [Tue] - 6.30 [Tue]

Special Online Screening of “MAM Screen”

“Mori Art Museum DIGITAL” is presenting special online screenings of video works featured in the Mori Art Museum’s “MAM Screen” series.
In addition to two works from MAM Screen 013: Mounira Al Solh premiered online prior to the actual on-site screening, selected works from the past “MAM Screen” series are now brought back online for the limited-time, encore screening.

Online Encore Screening of MAM Screen 012: Chen Chieh-Jen *** NEW ***
Online Sneak Preview of MAM Screen 013: Mounira Al Solh

Online Screening of MAM Screen 012: Chen Chieh-Jen

The first edition of “MAM Screen” Encore Screening features five works by Chen Chieh-Jen: Factory (2003, Collection: Mori Art Museum); The Route (2006, Collection: Mori Art Museum); Realm of Reverberations (2014/2019); Star Chart (2017); and A Field of Non-Field (2017). All five works were previously presented at MAM Screen 012: Chen Chieh-Jen.

Born in 1960 in Taiwan, Chen Chieh-Jen is acknowledged as one of the most prominent artists of his generation. He is known for producing video works mainly in collaboration with activists and social groups who live at the fringes of society. Often filmed in the architectural relics of previous government policies, Chen’s dramatic reportage, which fuses fiction and archival footage, examines the vulnerability of human existence as well as dignity. His works evoke the trauma, hardships, and various forms of imprisonment and abandonment that people have experienced throughout Taiwan’s turbulent history - from the Japanese colonial rule, the imposition of martial law, to the implementation of neo-liberalism as its economic policy.

Chen has had solo exhibitions in various institutions including Taipei Fine Arts Museum (2010), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid, 2008). His works have been exhibited at São Paulo Biennale (1998, 2010), Venice Biennale (1999, 2005, 2009), and Liverpool Biennale (2006). In 2018, he was named the Artist of the Year at the Award of Art China.

Chen Chieh-Jen Factory

Super 16mm transferred to DVD, color, silent
31min. 9 sec.
Collection: Mori Art Museum, Tokyo

This work centers on a group of unemployed female textile laborers reenacting their duties in the abandoned factory where they once worked. The garment factory was founded in 1969 and it helped grow Taiwan’s industry and its export economy. However, the factory closed down in the mid-1990s, a decade after the government reconstructed its economy through market deregulation and neo-liberalist trade policies. Having laid off its employees without meeting financial obligations, the investors of the factory relocated its operations overseas for cheaper labor. In 2002, Chen met with these women, who had been forced into long-term unemployment and had been protesting for several years, to discuss their shared plight. This work is a product of their meeting.

Chen Chieh-Jen The Route

Super 35mm transferred to DVD, color & black-and-white, silent
16 min. 45 sec.
Collection: Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
Japanese subtitles: Okumura Yuki

This work is based on the Neptune Jade incident and the international dockworker’s movement. In 1995, under the British government’s privatization policy, hundreds of unionized dockworkers were fired in Liverpool, igniting a transnational waterfront strike led by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).
Inspired by this international network of solidarity, Chen collaborated with contemporary dockworkers of Kaohsiung in Taiwan to secretly stage a simulated protest. The video is fictional in premise, nonetheless conveys these dockworkers’ hope to forge solidarity across temporal and geographical boundaries.

Chen Chieh-Jen Realm of Reverberations (single-channel edition)

Video, black-and-white, sound
59 min. 47 sec.
Japanese subtitles: Okumura Yuki
Assistance with Japanese subtitles: Iwakiri Mio
Cooperative production with Taiwan Public Television Service (PTS)

This work is based on the history of the “Losheng Sanatorium,” established in Taiwan during the Japanese colonial period to quarantine leprosy patients. In 1961, fifteen years after the end of the Japanese rule, the policies against those inflicted with the condition were abolished, however, many declined to leave the sanatorium and continued to live there as their ‘home.’ In 1994, it was announced that a metro depot would be built on the grounds of the sanatorium, necessitating the demolition of the facility and relocation of the patients. The plan brought about an intense debate and later, a preservation movement.
Divided into three parts, the work explores the sanatorium’s history from different perspectives: a sanatorium resident, a young activist, and a fictional political prisoner who takes the audience through Taiwan’s history. Originally created as a four-channel video installation, the work is edited into a single-channel video piece for MAM Screen 012: Chen Chieh-Jen.

Chen Chieh-Jen Star Chart

Video, black-and-white, silent
3 min. 50 sec.

Star Chart is composed of a series of black-and-white photographic images that Chen shot at his brother’s apartment. Having been unemployed for several years following the 1997 Asian financial crisis, his brother attempted to commit suicide owing to severe depression. Chen explains that, after surviving the incident, his brother began “collecting and organizing alternative knowledge” by converting his apartment “into an archive for images and text.” While the meaning of this collection is never elaborated, it nonetheless embodies one’s will to construct a vast knowledge system that is free from conventional worldviews. This work serves as a preface to A Field of Non-Field.

Chen Chieh-Jen A Field of Non-Field

Video, color/black-and-white, sound
61 min. 7 sec.
Japanese subtitles: Okumura Yuki

“In our increasingly atomized and alienated capitalist society, I believe lo-deh sao still has the power to inspire,” Chen has said. Lo-deh sao is a pre-industrial form of theater in Taiwan that consists of simple opera and parade performances organized by the people of farming villages during the non-growing season. In this theater, villagers are offered opportunities to transcend their social roles by portraying multiple characters, such as farmers, artists, and mythical figures.
Conceived as a contemporary version of lo-deh sao, this piece shows a group of actors, who are actual workers, the unemployed, and activists, performing what seems like a funeral procession for a man who has attempted suicide. Their identities and relationships are interconnected but in gradual change, enabling them to transform their bodies into a richer source for alternative imaginary realms.

MAM Screen 012: Chen Chieh-Jen

Period: 2019.11.19 [Tue] - 2020.3.29 [Sun]

Organizer: Mori Art Museum

Curated by: Yahagi Manabu (Assistant Curator, Mori Art Museum)

* Exhibition webpage: https://www.mori.art.museum/en/exhibitions/mamscreen012/

Online Sneak Preview of MAM Screen 013: Mounira Al Solh

As the opening of MAM Screen 013: Mounira Al Solh has now been postponed for the measures against the new coronavirus (COVID-19), we are introducing two works entitled Rawane’s Song (2006) and As If I Don’t Fit There (2006) online prior to the actual on-site screening.

Mounira Al Solh (born 1978 in Beirut, Lebanon) has been working internationally, based both in Europe and her native country Lebanon. In recent years, she participated in the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) and documenta 14 (Kassel, Germany, 2017).

Al Solh offers an affectionately humorous take on everyday events, small stories, and episodes drawn from the lives of women in a contemporary society wracked by political and religious conflict and by refugee issues. Using a documentary style, she occasionally interweaves the content with fiction and fantasy with intent, and frequently employs methods such as “monologue” and “narration.”

At on-site MAM Screen 013, four video works in total including two early works mentioned above will be shown. We hope you would enjoy the video online first; and later all four works on larger screen by returning to the Museum once it reopens.

Mounira Al Solh Rawane’s Song

7 min. 19 sec.
Courtesy: Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut/Hamburg

The work portrays the concerns of a fictional artist in Lebanon who has made a conscious decision to avoid war-related topics at a time when so many works produced in the country took war as their theme.
The character in this video work, played by Al Solh herself, walks around an artist studio and describes pulling out of documentary festivals she had entered. Ironically, as the story progresses, it becomes clear that she will eventually end up talking about the war anyway. It is easy to see the struggle of the young artist with little personal recollection of the Lebanese Civil War wondering whether or not she really should bring up the war in her works.

Mounira Al Solh As If I Don’t Fit There

12 min. 8 sec.
Courtesy: Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut/Hamburg

The work depicts the recollections of four artists who have given up their profession. Some of their past works are shown, but these appear somewhat comical with the works employing such cliché - stereotypical means and approaches to contemporary art, such as drawing heavily from classical art works or having a strong similarity to well-known piece of contemporary art. This is likely an expression of Al Solh’s own dilemma with a contemporary art world where artists have to create works, being influenced by particular format, conditions, or trends.

MAM Screen 013: Mounira Al Solh

Period: TBD

Organizer: Mori Art Museum

Curated by: Kondo Kenichi (Curator, Mori Art Museum)

* Exhibition webpage: https://www.mori.art.museum/en/exhibitions/mamscreen013/

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