2016 05/03 - 2016 05/07

Sweet Water - Chen Chia-Jen Solo Exhibition

Sweetwater is Chen Chia-Jen’s public showcase in Taiwan that features works inspired by a residency program in Indonesia. During the residency, the artist focused his investigation on rivers flowing through the city as well as different ways of life within urban and rural water systems. A few video and photographic installation pieces are selected to demonstrate his observation on local human landscapes. The title Sweetwater came from beverages of tea or juice that one would order on a daily basis when eating out. Teashops often dose their drinks with large amount of sugar if no specific requests on intensity of sweetness are made. These excessively sugar saturated beverages seem to implicitly reflect the relationship between agricultural products and everyday necessities. Can similar logic be applied to how human treat the environment? Another idea behind the word choice Sweetwater came from the process of image manipulation. A sugarcoating, or euphemizing, method is employed to create contrasts within certain images, coinciding with the term “sugar tablets (tang shui pian)” often used in China to derogate a stylistically pretty yet tacky form of expression in photography. Finally, the English translation to the title, Sweetwater,  referring to non-oceanic natural water sources, brings us back to the original context of this project based on water systems in Indonesia. 

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