rumor has it…, serving as the title of Yu Cheng-Ta’s first solo exhibition in Galerie Zimmermann Kratochwill and in Austria, represents a false perception of reality which we sometimes encounter while we are lost in translation. The selected works in the show create a narrative, which circulated as an unverified account of how to re-interpret a much private and playful imagination toward modern society.
Yu´s exhibition rumor has it… invites the attendants to be a part of his work as to feel free to remind on all common barriers, which are given in our daily lives. Not to boost them but to break down or to find new realities and identities for ourselves. Yu Cheng-Ta uses language, body and culture in his works to convey a message to recipients all over the world and uses therefor an absolute common and emergent media – video. Video is for him the only valid media. Due to the reason, that many of his works are based on wrong identities or false realities and even more on language, video transmites his artistic base as a stage director and story-teller.
Yu Cheng-Ta´s works was showed already at the 2009 Biennale in Venice, the Taipei Biennal in 2008 and several other international institutional shows. rumor has it… will be on view until February 15, 2014.
She is my Aunt from 2008 is a single-channel video which seems to be a documentary. The setting reminds of a demonstration filmed by any TV-station in Asia and broadcasted in European primtime news. But how can we differentiate between reality and fiction?
In She is my Aunt Yu Cheng-Ta created a personal connection between the viewer and him as the artist. Nevertheless he created a wrong truth. The Aunt in this video is not his aunt, even the scene is a play. But the artists position as developer of this scene makes him a historian of a false incidence. The titel She is my Aunt turns also all people in the movie from beeing acters into defined characters and draws a personal story. The creation of a new reality and beeing displayed in a video presents how this media makes the viewer more willing to believe the virtual. The video media becomes the truth maker, virtual images more warrant than the true reality.
Yu often deals with the topic of language. In his 2008 video Ventriloquists: Introduction he offered the Chinese language to tourists. Yu – black dressed – was hiding behind them and feeding the foreigners the Chinese introduction word by word. Unfamiliar with Chinese they just repeated the words mechanically without understanding a word of it. In this case, language became a barrier instead of a tool for communication, cause the participating tourists were creating new stories. With frequent strange and incorrect pronunciation of Chinese words by the foreigners this video demonstrates how interesting and at the same time absurd language can be and also what parroting makes out of people, stories and history.
The Letters is a work from 2013. Yu deals with a topic which everyone knows in these days: spam-mails. Normally everyone is annoyed with all the offers you get everyday and sometimes people get caught in the spam-trap. Yu Cheng-Ta selected the spam from his own inbox. Then he searched for participants, which match with the requirement profil of the content of the letters such as gender or ethnicity and dialect. He invited them to read the letters out loud, sitting on a table with a globe on it – somehow like anchors, but not that serious, cause Yu cut the setting just under their eyes and offers a wiggle room to the viewer. Reading it out loud transforms the letters into oral accounts. It simulates a mutually imagined scam with the reading participants playing the roles of the imaginary letter writers such as a dying Kuwaiti widow, one of Libyan prime minister’s sons who is in need of help, an Asian woman affecting a British accent, an Irish salesman under an assumed name, and an African international banker inviting the reader to join an international financial crime. From these letters, viewers are inspired to imagine the other parts of the world and think further about the connections among people’s appearances, linguistic accents and political reality.
The work adj. dance seems to be a teaching video – it is just not clear if you get briefed in dancing or language. In this video Yu Cheng-Ta transforms abstract adjectives into a series of dynamic codes and physical dance moves. The viewer is allowed or even invited to imitate or interpret these movements by his/her own. Through the rhythms and the subtitled explanations in the videos, viewers can experience common sentiments and certain abstract emotions. Viewers can also see or peep at the private reactions and emotions of those people doing the demonstration performance on the screen… until you find yourself dancing.