About Nesting: Behind the Objects — Tai Han Hong’s Solo Exhibition / Lee Ming Hsueh
Artist Tai Han Hong’s solo exhibition, “Behind the Objects,” was held at the Art Center of National Central University where the artist chose to conduct a dialogue concerning physical space. The artist explores ways of reinterpreting his past works, Stairs Objects Series, The Game in the Forest #2, and Unluxurious House Plan, by corresponding the properties of his works with the spirit of the new site, an institution known for its mathematical science program and a symbol of science and reason. In doing so, the artist creates dialectical conversations and new exchanges, some of the most characteristic aspects of this exhibition.
The three sets of works share a common material: wood. With the transformation of wood and the installation of the works in a new exhibition space, viewers are confronted with a new site (National Central University), space (Art Center), and work. The viewer is propelled into the condensed space to experience the forest, houses, and furniture. The act of placing organic material in a man-made space is an investigation into the opposing forces of the natural and the artificial. It establishes a conversation that flows in both directions, opening up the viewer’s perception and inspiring them to reconsider the properties of space. The creator made a particular effort to explore “the body, its home, and its space” and also to present viewers with new perspectives to open up their imagination. The Game in the Forest #2 uses raw wood and cables that are connected to a motor, which automatically opens and closes small doors. This man-made construction of organic material hints at the idea of a door and the home it leads to. The artist-created space, in which reality and virtuality are interwoven, can only be entered when the viewer can surrender their emotions. Similarly, Unluxurious House Plan was designed so that the viewers must view it from above, like the perspective of spirits floating high above their bodies. Houses that seem to cover a wide tract of land are in fact miniatures which the artist has whittled from wood — a material that gives the work an illusion of organic growth. This effect is further aided by the arrangement of the tiny houses. Numerous and tightly packed, they serve as a microcosm of present day society. Numerous houses displayed in the building of the exhibition space create a loophole comparable to that of a body existing in space. Yet, in Stairs Objects this loophole becomes even more complex. The artist took household objects that surround us, such as stairs, brooms, windows, chairs, and easels, and leaned them against the wall and attached sawtooth shapes to them. The continuous geometric motif of staircase does not enhance the function of the objects but imitates parts of the physical object. Staircases serve to connect different levels of a building; here in miniature form, it is a symbol that connects works. The adjustment of the distance from which the works are admired, the transformation of a viewer’s perception, and the shifting of one’s perspective all make the space within objects more than just physical, but also spiritual, for it penetrate and flows between physicality, spirituality, and cognition.
To some degree, art is unlike science for it does not offer solutions; its value is more to inspire retrospection. Such as the difference between a home and a house lies in the difference between one’s cognitive sense of space and emotional experience of it. Warm sentiments, fond memories, and physical experiences might not solve realistic problems, but they do afford the soul a necessary safehouse for reflection. Tai’s exhibition “Behind the Objects” arranges sites and objects in new permutations. The shifting of space transforms and expands the scope of the significance that each work holds. This realistic exhibition space, the imagined virtual space, and the space in which the bodies of the viewers exist are able convert and transform, so that the pursuit of a spiritual space is made possible.