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Breaking Time and Routine

杨雅茹 Lann Yang 2017-07-06 15:53

The video art described above is Overexposed Memory by Taiwanese artist Joyce Ho, who is very passionate about the concept of time and space, as well as the “close yet distant” relationships people have with their daily routines. Her artworks are distinctive in style and colour, and notably, during the process she always keeps a very rigorous attitude not unlike that of a scientist conducting research on cell division. 


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Her creative techniques are not constrained by any art form - they range from framed painting to mechanical art, and even to stage setting. 


From Frames to Theatres 


Joyce Ho left her hometown for more than ten years to study in the United States. However, during her school years, she was not able to find a creative technique that allowed her to express herself accurately. It was not until she returned to Taiwan and was accidently acquainted with the director of the Riverbed Theatre: Guo Wentai and through their collaboration on the show of 100 Nights' Dreams, Ho was able to discover the door that opened her world of creativity. When immersing herself in the environment of a theatre where the main art expression is through shows, Ho discovered that the work nature of a director is like that of an artist. And without a doubt, her work at the theatre expanded her art creation vocabulary - she became increasingly flexible with her artistic techniques. 


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Survival Instinct


It was thus that Ho started to participate in stage and theatre set design. In 2011, during the Just for You Festival, Ho released a self-directed piece named Room No.206, which received praise from the wider art world. 


Along with the transformation of techniques from painting to theatre design, Ho realized that painting on a flat canvas is more like conducting a “self-dialogue”; the loneliness that an artist experiences in the process is also a drive for creation. On the contrary, theatre design requires more outward communication. Inward versus outward… it is right between the two environments, Ho slowly recognized that she needed to shift her artistic attitude for different environments. “The shift is beneficial to extend my own artistic life.” 


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Inner Space 


With her increasing clarity on creative techniques, Ho gradually started to design more visual art on interactive devices. In her new art pieces On the Other Day, Saturday, and Your Three Minutes, she purposefully enclosed the exhibition spaces, thus allowing audience to escape from the noisy environment of the exhibit. By utilizing the semi-open space, she amplified the interactivity between the audience and the art pieces. 


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On the second day, Saturday, your three minutes… 


Ho said that she likes to be in total control of an exhibition space, but sometimes she adjusts her exhibition plans based on specific situations too. If a rearrangement can result in new interpretations of her artwork, without doubt, she would change her original plans to utilize the space - building connections between the space and her artworks. The process is both isolation and a merger. For instance, when Ho and Hong Kong Artist Lee Kit held their joint exhibition at the Tina Keng Gallery, she did not adjust the structure of the exhibition space, rather she deliberately and meticulously extended the space’s meaning. 


“When I create an art piece, I hope the characteristics of the space can itself become a layer within which my art is being interpreted in, because only in doing so does it give meaning to artworks in different environments.” says Ho. As a result, the interactivity between art and space becomes the primary factor that Ho considers for every exhibition. 



The Disappearing Routines 


While viewing Ho’s interactive artworks, audiences often mistake the space they are in for a waiting area, a ticket window, or a bar - with ceremonial-like staging effect, Ho demonstrates scenes from our daily lives. 


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On the Other Day illustrates the waiting period prior to a journey; Saturday captures the moment when one receives his or her ticket to a destination; Your Three Minutes lets audience use three minutes of their own to exchange for a drink or a moment of quietness and peace. By replaying the moments that pass by us daily in the blink of an eye, Ho provides her audience an opportunity to have a dialogue with the fleeting “what if” moments and therefore guiding us to think about our relationship with space and time. “Through a new distance and space relation, I am simply trying to bring out the anxieties hidden in reality.” 


The “anxieties” described by Ho also include her worries about people’s fast fashion-style viewing of art exhibitions. With the growing number of commercial art exhibits, people like to think they feel “improved “and “privileged” after they have seen a myriad of artworks in the market. Such collective sense of “transformation” inevitably put many people under the illusion of accelerated fortune. 


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On the second day, Saturday, your three minutes… 


Ho thinks the function of an artist is to provide their audience with a means to escape from reality; where such media should not completely align with reality. It needs to be at a position that is slightly away from reality—a position that let audiences observe from the gap between the two, to think, and to grow and transform themselves as a result. 



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