I am sure everyone is wondering what the 2013 artists will create for the 2013 Cheng Long International Environmental Art Project with the theme of “On the Table: Aquaculture and the Environment.” Below you will find more details about each of the 6 selected artists and a brief description of the artwork they will create during the 25-day residency in Cheng Long village from April 11 – May 6, 2013.
About Chun’s Artwork “Fish for Every Year” 邱國峻【年年有魚】
Kuo-chun Chiu from Tainan, Taiwan, received his MFA degree from SUNY New Paltz in the USA in 1997, and he is presently a professor of art at a university in Tainan. Chun specializes in art photography as well as environmental sculpture, creating large site-specific installations of bamboo and other natural materials. He has worked with community people and children as an organizer, curator and artist in several community art projects in Taiwan. He has participated in international exhibitions in Taiwan, Japan and America, including “Going Green – New Environmental Art from Taiwan” that traveled to 4 cities in America in 2010.
Chun’s artwork for Cheng Long titled “Fish for Every Year” is inspired by the traditional Chinese proverb that refers to the practice of serving a fish at the last dinner of every year and leaving some left at the end of the meal to ensure that there will be more fish all year. This proverb emphasizes the importance of saving some resources so that there will be enough food for every year. The structure of Chun’s sculpture is the skeleton of a huge fish, installed on a round table made with bamboo. The inside of the fish body is supported by different sizes of semicircles, made from branches of bamboo, which implies the table has preserved half of the food for next year. In the middle of the circles, Chun will hang a large number of thin strips of bamboo, and as it is windy in the wetlands the bamboo strips will flutter, showing the relationship between the food of humans and the natural environment. Chun plans to make his sculpture installation in the wetlands close to the water so that in some seasons the sculpture may be flooded, and the fish will look like it is floating on water. He will involve the children and local people in helping to collect bamboo and other natural materials to make the sculpture as well as helping him to construct the bamboo fish and table. Chun looks forward to making his installation fit the place and the local culture of a small seafood-producing village such as Cheng Long.
About Yachu’s Artwork “Reserve a Table and Seat” 康雅筑【訂位】
Yachu Kang of Taipei, Taiwan, has been an international multi-media artist since receiving her MFA degree in Fiber Arts from Tainan National University of the Arts. She has participated in international exhibitions in Taiwan, USA, Germany, Lithuania, Syria, Nepal, Japan and Canada. She has been an artist in residence in the USA, Bangladesh, Jordan and Japan as well as in Vancouver, Canada during the 2010 Olympics. Yachu has experience as an art teacher as well as community artist and enjoys working with children and community people to create site-specific installations exploring the relationship between the environment and human bodies. Her works usually make use of a vast array of recycled materials to create site-specific sculpture installations that have been featured in exhibitions such as “Going Green-New Environmental Art from Taiwan” that traveled to 4 American cities in 2010.
For her Cheng Long installation titled “Reserve a Table and Seat” Yachu will present an arrangement of chairs, table and implements for seafood dining that have been reclaimed from the local recycling center. In her installation she will also use cotton fabric and the Cyanotype technique to create images on the fabric that present the local seafood and focus on the ecological link between humans, food and the environment. The broken and well-used chairs, table and dishes will encourage thinking about and caring for the environment. The Cyanotype technique, a type of printing technique that uses the rays of the sun to develop the images on the treated fabric, reminds people of the importance of natural elements in the wetlands. Yachu will involve the children of Cheng Long in collecting materials, researching and creating imagery to put on the fabric and making the Cyanotype images for her installation as well as constructing the structure for the tableau of recycled chairs, table and implements for dining and seafood preparation.
About Michele’s Artwork “Water Table”【水餐桌】
Michelle from New York City, USA, received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, in 1994, and since then has created site-specific environmental sculpture installations working with local communities in the USA, France, Costa Rica and Germany. Her experience working with children includes being an artist in the public schools of New York City since 1997. Her art is a social practice working in collaboration with each new community to enhance awareness of the environment by generating works of art that respond to a sense of place.
Michele’s artwork for Cheng Long, titled “Water Table”, is in part a personal reaction to the recent hurricane Sandy that caused so much damage in the NYC area where she lives. Michele’s work focuses on the need to be more aware of the effects of climate change on the fragility of the human-made environment along the shores of our rising oceans. On the sinking land of Cheng Long Wetlands, she will create a raised structure of oyster shells. In the center of this structure Michele will build a teahouse of recycled bamboo, driftwood, scrap wood and other natural materials. Michele’s installation is a sculptural interpretation of how to approach protecting our shores from the rise in ocean levels, while creating a space where the community can sit, have tea together, contemplate the surrounding environment and discuss this year’s theme. She will lead the Cheng Long children in collecting and putting together the oyster shells for the base of her installation, and then constructing a table, seats, walls and roof for the teahouse. This will be Michele’s first trip to Asia, and she is looking forward to learning from and working with the local community and the school children.
About Giorgio’s Artwork “Element” 【元素】
Giorgio Tessadri is from Italy and living now in Brussels, Belgium. He studied sculpture at a university in Italy for his bachelor’s degree and then international relations/human rights for his master’s degree. Giorgio is very interested in other cultures and in social and environmental issues and has worked as an artist in residence with children and community people in Italy and the USA. He has also worked as an international volunteer in Kenya and Venezuela in poor neighborhoods with underprivileged children leading them in community art projects. Coming to Taiwan for the Cheng Long art project will be his first time to experience an Asian culture, and he is eager to share and learn about the culture of Cheng Long.
Giorgio will create a sculpture installation in 3 parts titled “Element.” The concept of the work is to show the way systems are connected and the cyclical relationship of elements in the environment. His sculpture is an organic form, with no beginning and no end, popping up in different parts of the area, made up of many smaller parts that go in and come out from the soil and the water, wrapping the “whole” village. Referring to the phrase “on the table”, meaning items up for discussion, he intends each part of the installation as a “question”, as an intimate space to reflect, in order to raise public awareness about environmental issues present in the area. Giorgio plans to involve the children in his artwork to help collect, cut and put together the wood scraps and bamboo pieces and then to add some non-toxic color to the structures. At the opening weekend he will ask children and adults to write some words on the sculpture to express their thoughts about environmental issues.
About Michael’s Artwork “Milkfish”【虱目魚】
Michael Rofka is an international artist/sculptor from Germany, and he has worked with children and community people to create large-scale outdoor sculptures since 2000 in Germany, Italy, Estonia and Russia. He studied bio-chemistry at university in Germany and also did graduate studies in art. He has participated in international sculpture symposiums creating site-specific sculpture installations and public art in Germany and other countries of Europe.
Michael’s idea for his proposed artwork titled “Milkfish” expresses the connection of humans, nature and the culture of breeding animals and plants. The milkfish is the most common fish raised for food in the fish farms around the Cheng Long area. Using the shape of this common animal of the aquaculture, Michael will construct a milkfish form from bamboo, reeds and other natural materials and cover it partially with mud mixed with reeds and straw. The fish-shaped sculpture will be hollow inside, and people can come inside through a small opening in the rear, bowing as they enter to symbolize their appreciation for the milkfish. Also, when people come inside the fish, they can see the world through the eyes of the fish as if it has “eaten” them. The viewers become a part of the artwork, and by watching the world from inside can gain a new perspective. The sculpture will change over time with the sun and rain affecting the mud/straw skin, and the skeletal milkfish will remain. Michael will involve the Cheng Long school children in cutting bamboo, making holes in it and joining the bamboo pieces to make the “ribs” and other parts of the skeleton structure. Then he will lead the children in doing the wickerwork with reeds and other natural materials to fill in the structure of the huge milkfish. After the skeletal structure is completed, children and community people will also help to make the earth/mud and straw mixture and put this on the structure. Michael is looking forward to coming to Taiwan for the first time and learning about Cheng Long and working with the children and community.
Johan Sietzema is from the Netherlands, and he has been working since the early 1990s as an international sculptor creating site-specific installations of natural materials with children and community people. He has created sculpture installations at nature parks, museums, public gardens and international sculpture symposiums in Holland, Belgium and Ireland. Johan is a member of the Artists in Nature Network as well as other environmental art organizations and enjoys working with children and community people. This will be his first visit to Asia, and he is looking forward to getting to know Cheng Long and creating his installation with help from the children and community people. Johan is very experienced with wicker work and making large sculptures from European materials such as willow, but he is very interested in having more experience using bamboo.
Johan’s artwork for Cheng Long Wetlands is a multi-part installation titled “Food-Prints”. His concept involves using local natural materials and local input as the artist, children and community people think together about local environmental issues. He will involve the children of Cheng Long in gathering materials and weaving fish shapes and fish trap structures of different sizes and shapes out of bamboo, reeds and other natural materials found in the area. The fish and fish traps will be hung on tall bamboo poles arranged in the shallow water of the wetlands, and the structures will look like leaves of bamboo and fish living together in schools and moving with the wind over the water. The fish shapes will represent all kinds of fish found in Cheng Long, and the fish traps will recall traditional ways of catching fish. This installation in multiple parts invites the participation of many children and community people.
Please let us know your comments and thoughts about the proposed artworks, and we look forward to welcoming these artists to Cheng Long.
I am also asking each of the 2013 artists to send us a photo and a brief introduction about themselves for the students at Cheng Long Elementary School. So, keep looking at this Blog for information and photos of the 2013 art project in Cheng Long.
Jane Ingram Allen, Curator
艾婕音 / 策展人