TheCube Project Space is pleased to present the exhibition REM Sleep by Taiwanese artist Jao Chia-En. This is the first solo exhibition for the curatorial series Re-envisioning Society curated by Amy Cheng, which runs from December, 2011 through February, 2013 with ten groups of artists from local and international participating in.
REM Sleep, Jao’s newly finished multi-channel video work, is a progression and extension from his Thaïndophiliviet project, presented in April, 2011. Based on issues and discussions related to language learning sphere in Taiwan, especially languages from Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippine, the four main countries that Taiwan searches for labor force, further by connecting to economic and political aspects, this project reveals multilayered inspections on contemporary Taiwan society’s social economy and hierarchical system. Following Thaïndophiliviet, REM Sleep distills via a documentary format the dreams of Indonesian, Filipino, Thai and Vietnamese laborers who have come to Taiwan as short-term migrant workers after Taiwanese government policy shifted in the 90s.
In his statement, Jao wrote about the thoughts of this production: “Documentation of these dreams in a foreign land serves on one hand as an exploration of the range of effects of a change of environment on the individual, as a result of shifting global economic forces. On the other hand, as documents with no legal ramifications whatsoever, they also avail to the society inhabited by these workers a possible means of introspection.”
ABOUT JAO CHIA-EN
Jao accomplished his BA degree in Taiwan, after graduation, he went to Paris and London to continue his studies and art practice. From diverse cultural and educational backgrounds, he has developed a unique perception on the question and relationship between identity, different languages, societies and ethnic groups. He is able to transform his sense and experiences into manifold forms of expression, which are not only humorous but also precise in expressing his observation and reflexivity.
In his 2007 single channel video Father’s Tongue, he already demonstrated using “language” as a medium to address the issues of identity between cultures, ethnic and social groups. In 2009, his solo exhibition You Are The Horse That I Would Never Ride demonstrated meticulous interventions on both aesthetic and conceptual aspects. He expanded his interest from language, ways of constructing meaning, into the evolution of cultural images, totems and symbols. From this viewpoint, he projected his reflection of Taiwanese history, culture and society. In 2010, for the piece Statement shown in the Taipei Biennial, he invited the general public to perform/read out artist statements written by artists from different generations. Through this juxtaposition, he tried to deal with the political question between speech, writing and construction of history.