Artist's Statement

Setting an iron bed during a bright day under the sky, I invited three participants to be recorded sleeping in that iron bed. Being obstructive to habits of sleeping,not to mention with a whole shooting crew with more than ten people surrounding them, participants need to “try hard” to fall asleep in three hours in an outdoor environment.The whole process can essentially be deemed as a mute presence.

With my face being painted blue which symbolizes a metaphorical mask,the loss of my personal identity brings me back to the state of being a mere temporal-spatial object on earth, equal to birds and beasts, insects and reptiles. In the video, I do watering and filling water into the pot, gathering seeds, or sieving them into dividing lines with flour over and over again. There is zero interaction and conversation between the person with blue face and those sleepers. All the elements come to a place in which their relations are exhibiting in an awkward manner, exhibiting a repose without any reason.

Most activities, ranging from building a house,a bridge or paving a road, to hiking and leisure activities, need to be accomplished with a lot of physical exertion. However, some activities have to be achieved without any physical exertion, and sleep, as one has to remain in a state of doing nothing in order to fall asleep, is one of them. My work“Daytime of Sleeping” asks participants to sleep under all the conditions which are unusual when it comes to falling asleep: they have to sleep during daytime, in a public place, without privacy, and with a great deal of physical exertion.

What is the point of making such an unusual scene? Is it to ridicule modern people that we have to work very hard even to sleep? Or do we really want to return to nature and settle down under the sky? Or to express the preciousness of contemporary people’s sleep? Or angrily protesting that the post-industrial age has no real nature to speak of, along with sleep? Or do we want to magically create spectacles on our own and put people to sleep in a dimly lit world?

For the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, the anxiety presents itself most acutely in the experience of insomnia which is the experience in its highest metaphysical dimension of an empty, mute presence. With people being put in an environment which makes people feel insecure in their body, facing the fear that makes people feel like walking on thin ice, and being exposed to the universe with no way to escape, how will the concept of being-in-the-world become one’s ontological proof of their existence? In the process of making a piece of artwork, does it suggest the possibility that art itself has already proven us the fact of being-in-the-world? Can I be at ease with what I want without asking for anything?

Praying for living safely when one is in an unsettling world, praying for peace when one is left unguarded, praying for the truth when one resides in these socially and politically troubling and disorienting times, creators become a vessel for people living without a shelter and a comfort to people whose home has been shattered and become homeless. The world is full of images of the mother earth singing lullaby to children who haven’t accustomed to this unsettling world, waves being beaten down by concrete tetrapods, abandoned bridges being overgrown with weeds, concrete buildings standing upright as planted windbreaks with ghosts roaming in between, and people whose relationship as mother-and-daughter or husband-and-wife being intertwined with one another. One’s existence is carried out by prescribed orders laid down by the Universe. Creators are a vehicle for expressing universal emotions as well as the invisible presence retreating to their world of art in which my work “Sleeping in Daytime” presents itself to its viewers. Humans come to their place as a temporal-spatial object in the world, just as other creatures and objects existing in this Universe.

(Artist’s website: https://huiart.wixsite.com/liu-hsiao-hui/home

Artist

Liu hsiao-hui

The artist’s content of art creation is mainly concerned with the relationship between human beings and the natural environment. In 2000, she created environmental art on the coast of Hualien Chishingtan Beach (Chishingtan), Hualien. After 2010, she tried to combine landscape installations, performance art, and installation art for interactive presentation. 

After 2017, the artist focused on video art. She hunted images through the lens of the camera, and then began to involve herself in the video, inviting the public to participate in the performance art to enter the shooting. Her works are like poetry in the universe where the world and the characters are self-evident. In the theater of existence, “I am the landscape” naturally becomes what it should be.

2021 Gone Mountain

Photographing family members or trips as they travel to any place in a memorial way, viewers can see mines up on the mountains of Taroko National Park in the background. Indigenous people live there; tourists spend time rambling there. The “inevitable” and “existing” facts are presented in the images, showing that the camera is an eye that will never rest.

2020 Swimming Upstream

Participants from all over Taiwan who took part in the performance art “Swimming Upstream” were heading towards the same direction in Hualien Mugua River, going upstream. They carried their personal important belongings and objects. No matter what roles people play in front of the camera, be it a certain social role, a dreamy character, or a mundane self, the image showing them collectively fleeing to nature is more like a call of the wild…

2018 Kome no Matsuri

Arriving at the artist community of “The Land of Rice” in Shinano-Omachi, Nagano Prefecture, here is the hometown of rice as well as a well-known town for its sake breweries. From rice fields, rice, sake to the ceremonies, I invited citizens there to toast in appreciation with the straw-made ceremonial objects. Then, the ceremony began by the lake of the organic rice field…

2017 Crumble away crumbles

The work was inspired by one of Franz Kafka’s aphorisms: “Towards the avoidance of a piece of verbal confusion: What is intended to be actively destroyed must first of all have been firmly grasped; what crumbles away crumbles away, but cannot be destroyed.” This day in the workshop, I asked people to mark their own mark onto crumbles with piercing holes. We crumbled away crumbles in the landscape of Hualien where a lighthouse erects. I see the uniqueness in each person who crumbled through my lens.