Meng-Chuan "Isa" HoTaiwan
Meng-Chuan "Isa" Ho is an exciting and prolific mixed-media artist who creates photographs that explore what she calls "urban fairytales." Ms. Ho received her M.F.A. from Taipei National University of Art in 2005, and her work has been exhibited widely in Taiwan, throughout Asia, and in two venues in the United States. In 2009, Ms. Ho had her first opportunity for an extended stay outside Taiwan when she received support from the government of France to participate in a six-month residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris. Confronted with an urban culture radically different Taipei, Ms. Ho began creating work that imagined universally popular myths and themes through the lens of a foreigner, an Asian woman, working in Europe.
The exhibition will showcase Isa Ho's ongoing series of the “Westbeth” project and the newly developed serial work “My Peony Pavilion.” While the subject matter of the two series seem to sit on the opposite end of a spectrum: the young and the elderly, the East and the West; the difference between the series embodies Ho's continual focus on socio-cultural issues. The “Westbeth” series was inspired by and shot at the Westbeth Artists Housing in New York, where Ho spent over four years documenting the senior artists living there, their daily lives and environment. “My Peony Pavilion” utilizes and blends the traditional Chinese Kunqu Opera and Korean popular music K-pop to picture female self-identity in two juxtaposed temporal and spatial frameworks, by leveraging similar pop culture element. The exhibition title Not the Chelsea Hotel (Chinese Title: The Black Swan Effect) points to a key concept: the everyday mundaneness taken for granted might be overturned by a new piece of information – just as when a black swan was “discovered” by an explorer in Australia in 1697, only then people started to realize not all swans were white and their understanding was partial. The concept of the Black Swan Effect becomes the connecting thread: through presenting the two series together in this show, the artist wants to inform the audience’s preconceived notions of facts having the possibility to formulate utterly opposing meanings, once approached with a new angle with a new piece of information presented.