Light Interdiction

Ya-Lun Tao, Fujui Wang, Ting Chaong Weng, Tom Mùller

Curated by Wang Chun-Chi, Idolon Studio Berlin
Utilising light as a structural base, artists Tom Muller, WANG Fujui, TAO Ya-Lun and TING Chaong-Wen investigate potential exploitations of our perceptual experience through interventions in architectural space.

Wang Chun-Chi is a curator and artist based in Berlin. She is trained as artist at New York University Tisch School of the Arts. In 2012, she was Assistant Curator for Taipei Biennial, Modern Monsters / Death and Life of Fiction. Her projects was presented in Berlin, Paris, New York, Taipei, and Seoul in various collaborations from 2010 to 2014. A collective and intergenerational investigation of feminism in the context of contemporary art practice that included a symposium, exhibition; and lecture. She is the founder and director of IDOLONSTUDIO (Berlin).

Chaong-Wen lives in Taichung City, Taiwan. Born in 1979 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Ting is an installation artist and a visual designer. Excelling in spatial installations of mixed media such as images and ready-mades, the artist has shifted his focus to the exploration of the plastic potential of art with archives. His recent solo shows include Shiro and Oni Ko, at Shiro Oni Studio (Gunma, Japan, 2014) and DAY BY DAY, at the Freemantle Arts Centre (Fremantle, Australia, 2014). Also in 2014 he was featured in the group shows Image / Sound: Concept and Position, at LE CENTQUATRE 104 in Paris, and Flesh Exploration, at TAIYU Beaux Arts Salon in Chai Yi City, Taiwan. His artist-in-residence projects include Cite Internationale des Arts (Paris, France, 2010), organized by Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture, as well as S-AIR Artist-In-Residence Programme / Sapporo2TM Project (Sapporo, Japan, 2013); for the latter, he studied ‘History of Hybrid Culture Movements’ for an art project.

Tao Ya-lun is a Taipei-based artist who produces two and three dimensional installations which place the body of the audience participant at the center of the work. Tao mounts a critique of the mind-body split in Western philosophy and the dominance of sight in a hierarchy of senses which he cites back to the Renaissance. The installations, which often involve light, are heavy meditative spaces which seek to demarcate a zone outside of the over-proliferation and clutter of visual signs in contemporary life. Tao Ya-lun teaches at Taipei National University of the Arts and has exhibited throughout Asia, the US, and Europe. In 2015 he has a solo exhibition “Vanish Into Thin Air” at IT Park in Taipei.

Wang Fujui is one of the pioneers of the Taiwanese noise and digital art scenes. After studying at San Francisco Art Institute in the 1990s, Fujui returned to Taiwan and founded noise, the island’s first publication and label dedicated to the new music. Wang is Head of the Trans-Sonic Lab in Center for Art and Technology of Taipei National University of the Arts, specializing in sound and interactive art. He has curated the Digital Art Festival Taipei and Tran- Sonic Sound Art Festival. Wang’s recent group exhibitions include Phantom of Civilization (2014) at Casino Luxembourg and Shoot The Pianist - The Noise Scene in Taipei 1990-1995 (2014) at Peltz Gallery in London. In 2013 Wang performed at the re-opening of Queens Museum.

Tom Muller is a visual artist who works in a number of media, including sculpture, installation, video and painting to explore our relations with larger systems, whether human-made or ecological. Many of Muller’s works deal with the relationship between the natural realm and the human realm of rationalistic transactions and exchange. The work merges ecological concerns with a sharp, even strident, sense of geometry and the attention to detail of a cartographer; such as in his installation “Liquid Empire” (2008) at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, which was made by mapping the quality of water in the world’s rivers. Muller has been based in Perth, Australia since moving there from Basel, Switzerland in the early 90s. He has exhibited widely throughout Australia and Europe and undertaken a number of large-scale public commissions.

Ron Hanson
Editor, White Fungus Magazine

In the post-industrial techno city we are surrounded by light, whether emanating from traffic lights, flashing neon signs or the infinite screens of gadgets and communications devises which generate light but suck inwards our psychic energies into an infinite but concealed matrix of ones and zeros.

Light is everywhere. It is so omnipresent that we can scarcely register natural sources of light, as they are no longer natural to us. A case in point: in 1994, when an earthquake knocked out a power grid in Los Angeles, city residents called 911 to report “a giant silvery cloud” hovering overhead – ie. The Milky Way. The light of the cosmos has been usurped by the manufactured desire machinery of capitalism, which trades, these days, in subjectivities which can be obtained via a set of distinct consumer purchases. The heavy mysticism of the cosmos is replaced by a cheap and tawdry enticement into economic exchange.

Light, the light, a light, etc. are not neutral. In Hollywood light is used to produce a sense of continuity and a hierarchical set of contained individuals. It is illusionistic in the sense of order it presents to us in an unpredictable and unstable world; a thin plastic coating protecting us from the void. In painting light was used in the service of perspective, fixing the viewer’s lines of sight, also in the production of the individual psyche as the prism through which to view the world.

But light is the most malleable of materials and we needn’t be passive in the face of it and its territorializing effects, merely oneway receptors in the face of urban hyperproductivity. While light can be used to regulate and structure society and social roles through the carving out of these discrete subjectivities, it can also be used to obliterate the senses, to blur boundaries and lead us into a trance. There is a power of intensity within light that can lead us into a myriad of altered states.

Light has often come to symbolize a perfect plane of being, an idealized form in a metaphysical space to which we attempt to lay claim. But there are other conceptions of light as violent, excessive and ecstatic, such as the writing of Georges Bataille and, in particular, his surrealistic essay / set of aphorisms “Solar Anus”, in which he presents the sun as an anal eye , a sphincter guarding the entry to darkness. Here we have a light that is all generating but blinds us if we try and confront it directly. It is a light that will lead us into total blackness through too intimate an embrace. It is a source of energy, Bataille said, that creates a surplus.

Bataille wrote in “Solar Anus”: “Vegetation is uniformly directed towards the sun; human beings, on the other hand, even though phalloid like trees, in opposition to other animals, necessarily avert their eyes. Human eyes tolerate neither sun, coitus, cadavers, nor obscurity, but with different reactions.”

While Bataille – someone avowedly comfortable with the concept of his own annihilation – would perhaps easily lead us to and into the void of his black hole sun, the artist’s role, it could be argued, is to strike up a connection and navigate a path for this frenzied matter into the thin crust of surface reality, as magma forces its way through rock.

And so light is everywhere, whether in its role of implementing utilitarian function or inciting ecstatic revelries. Our reality is characterized by the rapid propulsion of devices which generate and exploit light; our schedules have become liberated from the earth’s rhythms. But it is this in context that an artist can be an agent, an instigator who rewires, reworks and re-imagines a landscape of light, fusing this material with their inner-visions. “Light Interdiction” proposes the artist as an instigator of this very nature.