Taiwanese artist Yahon Chang participates in Performa 19 in New York on 7 November with a new performance work referencing the Biennial’s Bauhaus theme.
Chang’s new work sees a set of vertical drapes of semi-transparent silk scrolls juxtaposed with patches of linen canvas on the floor, referencing the linear and geometric forms favoured by the Bauhaus school at the turn of the century. The structured form of the set is interrupted by the fluidity of Chang’s vigorous expression of ink and echoes essential theories of the martial art Tai Chi, “overcoming hardness with softness” and “combining hardness with softness.” Chang will be performing for the first time in New York at Performa’s Hub.
Exploring painting as performance, Yahon Chang is a contemporary ink painter who combines classical Chinese calligraphy techniques with gestural Western expressionism in a highly physical manner. Brought up in Taiwan after Japanese colonial rule, his works portray a visual language voicing adversity and acceptance, whilst striving for higher spirituality and peace. Through the act of painting, both cultural and spiritual values are embodied in an intensely personal manner. Harking back to Chinese ink-wash traditions, Chang uses a large ink brush to create powerful strokes on canvas or Chinese paper. Viewing art-making as a mind-body discipline, the artist explores the close relationship between traditional calligraphy, philosophy and spirituality through performance.
About the artist
Born in 1948, Yahon Chang lives and works in Taipei, Taiwan. He recently performed at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence and was Outset’s 2019 artist in-residence in London, responding to a space designed by spatial practitioners Cooking Sections. Major solo exhibitions include Poetry of the Flow curated by Maria Rus Bojan at Manifesta 12 in Palermo (2018), The Question of Beings at MACRO in Rome (2016) and a collateral event of the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia (2015). The artist’s work has been shown extensively across Asia in institutions including: Today Art Museum, Beijing, China (2013); Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China (2012); Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan (2011); Gwangju Museum of Art, Gwangju, Korea (2011); and the National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China (2005). Chang’s work is held in the permanent collections of the China Art Museum, Shanghai, China, and Busan Museum of Art, Busan, Korea.
Performa 19 is curated by RoseLee Goldberg (Chief Curator and Founding Director), Kathy Noble (Senior Curator and Manager of Curatorial Affairs), Charles Aubin (Curator), and Job Piston (Special Projects Manager). The production of Performa 19 is led by Esa Nickle (Producing Director).
Founded in 2004 by art historian and curator RoseLee Goldberg, Performa is the leading organization dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of 20th century art and to encouraging new directions in performance for the 21st century. Part of Performa’s mission is to present a biennial of visual art performance in New York City that illuminates the critical role of performance in the history of art as well as its enormous significance in the international world of contemporary art.
Since launching New York’s first performance biennial in 2005, Performa has solidified its identity as a commissioning and producing entity. As a “museum without walls,” Performa contributes important art historical heft to the field by showing the development of live art in all its forms from many different cultural perspectives, reaching back to the Italian Renaissance. Celebrated worldwide as the first biennial to give special attention to this remarkable history, the Performa Biennial transforms the city of New York into the “world capital of artists’ performance” every other November, attracting a national and international audience of more than 50,000 for three weeks of live performances. Performa has presented seven international biennials, commissioned and produced nearly 300 performances, worked with more than 700 artists, and toured commissioned performances and exhibitions in nearly 20 countries around the world.
Performa Hub is located at Deitch Projects on 18 Wooster Street, New York, NY 10013. Access to the performance is free to the public.