Yao Jui-Chung (姚瑞中)

Yao, Jui-chung was born in 1969 in Taipei. He graduated from The National Institute of The Arts (Taipei National University of the Arts) with a degree in Art Theory. In 1997, he represented Taiwan in “Facing Faces-Taiwan” at the Venice Biennale and took part in the International Triennale of Contemporary Art Yokohama in 2005, APT6 (2009) and Taipei biennial (2010). He also participated in numerous other large international exhibitions. Apart from working in the fields of theatre and film, he has taught art history, wrote art criticisms and curated exhibitions. In 1997, he attended the Headland Center for the Arts (San Francisco). He was artist in-residence at Gasworks Studio (London) in 2001, ISCP (NY) in 2006 and Glenfiddich (Scotland) in 2007.

Yao, Jui-chung specializes in photography, installation and painting. The themes of his works are varied, but most importantly they examine the absurdity of the human condition. Representative works include his Action Series which explores the question of Taiwan’s identity in Military take over (1994), subverts modern Chinese political myths in Recovering Mainland China (1997), and examines post-colonialism in The World is for All (1997~2000), as well as Long March-Shifting the Universe (2002). In recent years, he has created photo installations, combining the style of “gold and green landscape” with the superstitions that permeate Taiwanese folklore, expressing a false and alienated “cold reality” that is specific to Taiwan. Representative works include the series Celestial Barbarians (2000), Savage Paradise (2000) and Heaven (2001). Another photo installation series Libido of Death (2002) and Hill (2003) tries to probe into the eternal issue of body and soul. Recently, Yao, Jui-chung has assembled all the black-and-white photos of ruins he took in the past fifteen years, grouped under the themes of Industry, Religious Idols, Architecture and Military Bases. They reveal the enormous ideological black hole in Taiwan hidden behind the trends of globalization and Taiwan’s specific historical background, as a continuation of the main theme of his work: the absurdity of the historical destiny of humanity. In 2007 Yao started to create a series of works, including Wonderful (2007), Dust in the Wind (2008~2010), Dreamy (2008~2010), Romance (2009) and Honeymoon (2010~2011). He appropriates masterpieces from Chinese art history and recreates them in his own work, transforming them into his personal history or real stories, in an attempt to transform grand narratives into the trivial affairs of his individual life. Yao intends to usurp so called orthodoxy with his recreated landscapes.

Apart from creating art, Yao, Jui-chung has curated exhibitions including The Realm of Illusion-The New wave of Taiwan Photography (2002), King-Kon Never Dies - The Contemporary Performance & Video art in Taiwan (2003) and Spellbound Aura-The New Vision of Chinese Photography (2004). His essays have been published in many art journals. He has also published several books, including Installation Art in Taiwan since 1991-2001 (2002), The New Wave of Contemporary Taiwan Photography Since 1999 (2003), Roam The Ruins of Taiwan (2004), Performance Art in Taiwan 1978~2004 (2005), A Walk in the Contemporary Art:Roaming the Rebellious Streets (2005) and Ruined Islands (2007), Yao, Jui-chung (2008), Beyond humanity (2008), Nebulous light (2009), Biennial-Hop (2010). His works have been collected by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan; the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung, Taiwan; the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art Collection, Cornell University, USA; Bibliothèque National de France, Paris ( French National Library, Paris), and many private collectors. Yao, Jui-chung is an artist, critic and curator. He teaches at National Taiwan Normal University Department of Fine Arts.


專長為攝影、裝置及繪畫,其作品涉獵層面廣泛,主要探討人類一種荒謬處境,其代表作品包括探討台灣主體性問題的《本土佔領行動》(1994)、顛覆中國近代史政治神話的《反攻大陸行動》(1997),以及探討後殖民主義的《天下為公行動》(1997~2000),與「行動三部曲外一章」的《萬里長征行動之乾坤大挪移》(2002),2007年發表的《歷史幽魂》、《分列式》及《玉山飄浮》三件錄像,則以幽默手法對過去的威權統治進行顛覆。除此之外,他也透過攝影裝置手法,以「金碧山水」風格結合台灣民間充斥的怪力亂神現象,呈現台灣特有的一種虛假、疏離的「冷現實」,代表作品為《獸身供養》(2000)、《野蠻聖境》(2000)及《天堂變》(2001)系列;而另一個以銀箔結合攝影裝置的系列作品《死之慾》(2002)、《地獄頌》(2003),則試圖探討肉體與靈魂間的永恆議題。自2005年起整理過去十五年在台灣各處踏查所拍攝的廢墟照片,歸納了包括工業、神偶、建築及軍事廢墟四大部份,呈現台灣在全球化潮流與特殊歷史背後中,所隱藏著的龐大意識形態黑洞,延續「人類歷史的命運,具有某種無可救藥的荒謬性!」的創作主軸。2007年後開始繪製《忘德賦》l(2007)、《世外塵》(2008~2012)、《如夢令》(2008~2011)、《恨纏綿》(2009) 及《甜蜜蜜》 (2010~2012),改寫並挪用中國美術史經典畫作,再將其轉化成個人生活或真實故事,試圖將宏大史詩文本轉化為私微自傳敘事,以「偽山水」策略對所謂的正統性進行篡位。 2010年至2011年帶領一百餘位同學返鄉進行《海市蜃樓-台灣公共閒置設施》拍攝計劃,以公民參與的方式提醒社會大眾並提供政府有關部門參考,出版品及展覽引起社會高度關注。

除了藝術創作之外,姚瑞中也陸續策劃「幻影天堂-台灣當代攝影新潮流」(2002)、「金剛不壞-台灣當代行為藝術錄像展」(2003)、「出神入畫-華人當代攝影展」(2004)…等展覽,而藝評文章則散見各中文藝術專業期刊,著有《台灣裝置藝術1991-2001》(2002)、《台灣當代攝影新潮流Since 1999》(2003)、《台灣廢墟迷走》(2004)、《台灣行為藝術檔案1978~2004》(2005)、《流浪在前衛的國度》(2005)、《廢島》(2007)、《姚瑞中》(2008)、《人外人》(2008)、《幽暗微光》(2009)、《逛前衛》(2010,合著) 、《恨纏綿》(2010)、《海市蜃樓》(2010,編著)、《海市蜃樓Ⅱ》(2011,編著)等書。作品曾被台北市立美術館、高雄市立美術館、國立台灣美術館、澳洲昆士蘭美術館、美國康乃爾大學美術館、法國國家圖書館以及許多國內外私人單位典藏。曾擔任台北市立美術館與國美館典藏委員,以及文建會駐村計劃、國家藝術基金會、台北市文化局及新北市文化局藝文補助、台北獎、高雄獎、台北數位藝術獎、台北公共藝術、台北攝影新人獎、亞洲文化協會台灣獎助計劃、澳門藝術館...等評審委員。目前任教於國立臺灣師範大學美術系。

In every lifetime, there are good times. For me, events that mark me indelibly linger in my memory. In recollections of the past, that which creates nostalgia is not the fleeting moments of glory, but the impermanence of a faint sadness. 
As a child, I often sat on my father’s lap and watched as peonies, dragons in flight, and roaring tigers emerged from the tip of his brush; vivid blossoms, lifelike dragons riding on clouds and mist, and ferocious tigers whose roars seem capable of reaching the edge of the horizon. I’d doodle and scribble, naïve and innocent, surrounded by brushes, ink, and inkstone. The redolence of ink and the musk of books filled the room back then, and linger in the air still, conjuring those memories time and again. 
I was withdrawn as a child, and was academically unaccomplished. In primary school, only art class seemed to provide an outlet. My grades in secondary school were discouraging, and art class offered relief from such disappointment. Studying art at vocational high school was a window that opened into a new world for me. I would happily stay up all night to finish a project. Under the rigors of a Western-style education, the brush and ink paintings I grew up with became the relics of a bygone past. My father’s solitary figure at his solo exhibitions seemed proof that those traditions were in decline. My father never lived to see the solo shows of his youngest child, as he had passed away in New York when I was retaking my university entrance exams. All he left behind for me were his ink brushes. These fine brushes remain standing in their holder. To this day, I have not had the courage to paint with them; not because the brushes are old, but because the traditions hidden deep within them are immense, and I have neither the ability to carry them nor to put them down. 
I grieved my father’s death as I sat for my university exams. The results enabled me to attend art school, but I gave up painting after my first solo exhibition. I focused all of my efforts instead on the study of Western art theory, on publishing underground magazines, and on dabbling in interdisciplinary projects. I even founded a hiking club. Classmates then, who now work independently as artists, were with me as we scaled famed mountains and visited lustrous lakes. We beheld vibrant verdant peaks in the spring and summer, marveled at the mists and clouds of the autumn and winter, and saw rivers of jade surrounded by juniper. Nature, ever-changing, filled us with unspeakable awe. Our eyes were opened as we saturated ourselves in the mountains and streams of Taiwan. Those were the days; the good times. Out in the real world among the masses, and trying to make ends meet by creating art, I often returned to the mountains, hoping to find my muse whenever I was overwhelmed by the prospects of an uncertain future. I contemplated my path while gazing at waves crashing against cliffs, or as I strolled in places long forgotten, among hidden ruins of buildings between the city and countryside. I envisioned a simpler life like the ancient hermits, living freely and off the grid. To the grand mountains and immense oceans, fame and power are nothing more than a floating cloud on a cliff’s edge, or a momentary splash of the receding tide. Fame and power, as empty and impermanent as any illusion, are mere ruins and indifferent to our tributes and lamentations. 
It was during a residency in the Scottish Highlands a few years ago, that I found myself in an amazing place I have yearned for – surrounded by hills and fields covered in stalks of wheat for as far as the eye can see. The view and surroundings brought forth a tidal wave of memories. I painted day and night, unable to stop, as though I needed to retrieve every moment of good times that had been lost. Father’s brushes were a world away, so I picked up the fine-tipped ink pens I had at hand, and poured my emotions into this untraditional calligraphy. Perhaps the possibilities of ink and brush painting were hidden beneath traditional dogma, and by putting aside the limitations of brush, ink, paper, and printing, traditional paintings suddenly transformed into new ideas that opened up new pathways. In retrospect, this was not a coincidence, but a result of something that has been gradually cast by experience. 
Now in my forties, married and with children, the simple daily routines of life seem to have been born of the dust of this city. There are the occasional reunions with the mountains, of gazing at cliffs in the distance, but those mountain paths of the past can only be retraced with the overlapping threads of pen marks, in an attempt to stir up the long-settled layers of snow to conjure buried memories. 
I once believed that mountains were not what they seemed. Now, I know the mountains that appear in my mind’s eye are truly what they are, but what the mind perceives has been quietly transformed. The mountains and waters have no intentions and therefore need not be named. A change of vantage point does not have bearing on the ever-changing world.






直到數年前赴蘇格蘭高地駐村,麥草滿山遍野,山丘一望無垠,正是心所嚮往之絕妙境地。面對此情此景,回憶浪潮竟強烈襲 來,一發無可收拾地日夜狂畫,像要將失落的美好時光一一尋回,但父傳毛筆遠在天邊,索性隨手提起日用針筆,採用非正統畫法抒懷,也許正是太多教條蒙蔽水墨的可能,當全然拋開筆墨紙印之局限,竟能轉古畫為新意,另闢奚徑,想來並非巧合,過往經歷似已冥冥鑄成此局。