Back to the Days of the Verdict: Chen Wu-Jen Art Exhibition(Free Admission)
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Back to the Days of the Verdict: Chen Wu-Jen Art Exhibition(Free Admission)

Session Information

Number of Sessions Venue
Back to the Days of the Verdict: Chen Wu-Jen Art Exhibition(Free Admission)
日曆圖案 2021/10/29 09:00 ~ 2021/12/19 18:00
googleMap連結 3rd Exhibition Hall (1F) 

Event Details

If we can go back to the days of the verdict, would the political victims’ fate be different?

How do the victims and family of the White Terror reveal their trauma and anger?

What roles did perpetrators and bystanders play in an authoritarian society?

 

Chen Wu-Jen’s artworks are his accusation to the oppressor from himself and his fellow inmates during his time in prison. It is also the squeal for the victims and their families who he has never met. His art carries the misery during the White Terror in Taiwan as well as the criticism and lashes against the authorities. After the lift of martial law, Chen shouldered the responsibility of condemning the authoritarian government through the distorted and rough strokes of the expressionist, while also probing the trauma of the victims. With the core series “Verdict”, this exhibition displays the evidence of the state apparatus’ persecution of human rights through artistic techniques. By the special institutionality of Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, this exhibition is calling for the reflection on this history of the countless wronged souls.

 

Through the concepts of parallel space, dual routes, and public participation, audiences can select the routes themed in art or history to return to the past. Through the oil paintings, woodcarvings, sound devices, and following the artists’ creation trail. Audiences will be able to enter the world of the victims and their families, experience their sufferings and trauma, reflecting on how the perpetrators and bystanders in the authoritarian system transform their fear into the verdicts that took away life and freedom. Finally, in today’s Taiwan, which is stepping towards transitional justice, we invite you to think about how to rehabilitate the victims, restore their reputations, and rewrite the verdicts together.

Historical Images of the White Terror

Chen Wu Jen’s artworks recorded the perpetration during the period of White Terror, also the plight and struggles of the victims and their families. Featuring the series of artworks of Chen Wu Jen related to White Terror, this section presents the experiences of the artist himself and his concerns of human rights by the dual routes themed history and art.

 

Chen was born in 1949 in Wanluan, Pingdong. At the age of 20, after he graduated from the art class of Tainan Teachers College, he engaged in mandatory military service, serving at the Zuoying Navy Training Centre. While he was taking the aptitude test, he wrote: “Oppose the central government, oppose the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)” on the answer sheet, and hence imprisoned in Taidong Taiyuan Prison for two years with the charge of violating Article 7 of the Betrayers Punishment Act. He constrained himself to paint what mattered after his release from prison to protect his family and his job as a teacher from invisible oppression and surveillance. He started to paint freely after the lifting of martial law in 1987. With the distorted human figure, the metaphoric use of color and composition, Chen’s works witnessed the collective trauma and screaming of Taiwanese people, leading the audiences into the memories of his time.

Cracking Crowd

Woodcarving is a new challenge to Chen as an artist, also the testimony of White Terror through the creation of the series of Verdict. This section exhibited three series of woodcarvings: Verdict, Fictional Huge Evil, and Messenger from Hell, featuring the sound theatre designed by Yannick Dauby, reifying the gloomy atmosphere during the white terror with a forest-like landscape.

 

By presenting the original texture and shape of the wood, Chen utilized the multi-faceted and multi-perspective of wood sculpture to present the diversity and distorting of humanity in his art. The materials are diversified in texture: some are solid, some are loose. Scars and cracks are often seen. Chen used knives and chainsaws to leave aggressive marks on the wood, symbolizing his outcry against injustice in his art creation. The artwork in this section presented different figures under the authoritarian ruling, also their complicated mental state.

Life-Taking Words

On the day of the verdict, countless names became numbers because of a few words. Through the verdicts and the instruction stating “can be shot”, fear and evil thoughts of the dictator became the inferno of the victims. Lives were taken, fates were stated. A thin, light paper, turned into the heaviest nightmare throughout the victims’ life.

 

Chen Wu-Jen created a series of oil paintings with the verdicts. An enlarged, laser-printed verdict has been stuck on every painting. The verdict will be filtrated to almost transparent after contacting the grease of the thickened layer of paints. The verdict will eventually be penetrated onto the painting, constructing the unique composition of Chen’s artwork.

Rewriting the Verdicts

In order to practice justice and construct a peaceful future, every democratized nation has to face the trauma of authoritarian ruling. Against the perpetration of human rights in the past, we have to find out the truth, enforce the prosecution of the assailant, restore fairness and justice for the victims, also prevent the repeat of oppression and dictatorship.

 

Zhang Min-Zhi, Uyongu Yatauyungana, Zhang Jin-Jue, Kuo Chen-Chun, Chin Him-San and Lan Yun-Ruo. They are all victims and their family members and came from different walks of life. However, their lives were disturbed and distorted irreversibly by a simple verdict. Although history can never be fixed, we can still find out what really happened, and restore their rights and reputation even only on paper. We invite you to be the agent of transitional justice through the re-writing of the verdicts. First, you can pick a verdict, find out the relevant person and clues. Then, you can read their stories and the injustice they faced. Finally, by the sense of transitional justice, you can write down what you will do to implement justice, create new possibilities for their life story.