The ocean, to the artist, carries heavy weight of homesickness. Hsu Ching-Yuan was born in Houliao, Penghu, and left the house built with coral stones with his family at the age of 11 for the industrialized city of Kaohsiung. This very migration path is also shared by many people from Penghu who leave home for better career opportunities. During the 1960s and 1970s, when the “American ships” came, the Port of Kaohsiung served as the logistics base of the U.S. Navy, and the business of bars and theaters thrived around the area. At that time, the artist’s family ran a snack bar in a theater. What kept him company growing up was the movies that were repeatedly played in the theater when no one came for them.
Products made in Taiwan are exported to the world through the Port of Kaohsiung as well. After his time serving in the army, Hsu Ching-Yuan worked in the Kaohsiung Export Processing Zone, in charge of the production line of stereo systems and other consumer electronics, witnessing the life of workers in the labor-intensive industry. Later, he turned to the construction industry and started his own business. He had built houses and apartments for thousands of households in total during his 30 years of career and, with the savings from his hard work, he migrated to the United States, the wealthy and liberal country he once yearned for when younger.
However, he has eventually moved back to Taiwan. After retirement, he picks up his camera once again and leads a team of amateurs to create scene after scene for the stories of his artworks along the coast, on farmlands, or in abandoned factories. Debt Space, where this exhibition is held, used to be an iron factory. The traces from the time when it was in use can still be seen now, including large sinks, machine pedestals, chalk marks made by former workers on the walls, and the oil-stained and uneven ground. The artist transforms the space into the base of his experimental art and an exhibition hall while retaining most of the original features of the factory.
People always rely on stories to get through boring and unbearable moments and long waits, such as the men and women fleeing from plague during the Middle Ages and taking turns telling stories in the mountain, as well as the viators on their pilgrimage exchanging stories as a pastime at dinner time. In this exhibition, each art piece is a short story, combining the artist’s life experiences and his reflections on social phenomena, and can either stand on its own or provide context for one another. The stories are especially expressive and meditative during this time when both the globe and Taiwan are facing particular challenges, including the pandemic and the tension across the Taiwan Strait.
In addition to a number of new artworks, this solo exhibition also includes the artist’s collection of photographic works to be presented at the 2020 Photo London Fair, which due to the pandemic has been replaced with a digital venue. With a comparison between these photographs created during 2013 and 2018 and the other new art pieces showcased in this exhibition, the artist’s transformation in his recent creativity techniques and thoughts can be observed rhetorically.​​​​​​​
Date: 2020.12.19 - 2021.01.17 (Wed - Sun 15:00 - 20:00)
Venue: Debt Space (No. 250, Ziyou 1st Rd., Kaohsiung City, Taiwan)
Opening performance: 2021.01.17 15:30

Back to Top