Born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1979, CHENG Shih-Chun graduated from the Department of Fine Arts at Taipei National University of the Arts in 2003 and received his Master’s degree from the Graduate Institute of Plastic Arts at Tainan National University of the Arts. In 2001, CHENG started 284 ART SPACE with friends. He is known for his performance art and video installation. Since 2003, he has shown his performance art and video works around Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, New York, the UK, Germany, Japan, Seoul, Gwanju, Pusan, Hong Kong, Macau, Russia, Portugal, the Philippines, Indonesia, and many other places. He has participated in Shanghai Biennial, SuperGeneration@TAIWAN, Taiwan Biennial, Co6 Taiwan Avant-Grade Document, Yi San Kun San-Documents Show of Chinese Performance Art, Solo Exhibition at Long March Space, OPEN 10th Anniversary” International Performance Art Festival, and etc.
There is a great variety in Cheng’s performance styles, including ritualistic, theatrical, and game-like forms. His past experience in a rock band allows him to make the perfect use of music in his artistic practice. Compared with his fellow artists, his performance art is relatively offbeat and unpredictable for that he is known for using instinctive physical reaction to get on the society’s nerve by challenging the convention and disrupting viewers’ experiences. In his early works such as 2002’s Cycle and A Spiritual Feast as well as 2003’s Amor/Love and Clay Bodhisattva Crossing a River, the naked artist produces sperms, urine, and shit or shows his penis as a way to push artistic expression and the experience of viewing to the extreme.
In An Unspeakable Secret, the artist ties up each audience, forcing him/her to tell a secret otherwise he will punish them. Should the audience tell it or not? It does not matter what the secret is. Either way, one should struggle between one’s spirit and flesh. The instinct to survive becomes the only truth of the performance.
Cheng usually uses costume which is strongly ritualistic and symbolic. His performance is known for the religious enthusiasm and the danger to challenge the extreme. It requires an instinctive form to evoke the inner emotions of participators/ audience. When the artist “interrogates” the audience in An Unspeakable Secret, he becomes an exorcist to evoke one’s instinct through the power of suppression. The purpose is to arouse the instinct, revealing the truth which cannot be pretended and faked.
CHENG Shih-Chun’s performance art is as unpredictable as his personality. He is convinced that the making of art should base on one’s instinct, while the instinct often demonstrates what the society desires to repress. Cheng liberates the instinct from the repressed body to create a sense of excitement and release, which he can fully enjoy and devote his whole life to.
From 284 ART SPACE in his early days to the later RedSun Art&Design, his artistic practice challenges the conventional artistic concept and the categorization of artworks. He has once described that “behind my laughter, mockery, absurdity, and stubbornness…is the extremely optimistic spiritual faith which comes from the extreme hatred for the world.” His works visualize his belief of using one’s body to play a game and to fully play with the border of craziness. The uniqueness of his performance art comes from the theatricality of role-playing and scenario performing. He is particularly good at combing body and customized costume in his improvisation, through which he tries to encourage an interaction with audience and the surroundings. In his pursuit of excitement, he evokes the illusion of human’s psychological desire.
|English title：||An Unspeakable Secret|
|Medium / Classification：||New Media and Video|
|Collection Unit：||Courtesy of the artist|
|Contact method for authorization：|
|Related Exhibition：||"The Pioneers" of Taiwanese Artists, 1971-1980|