Wong Wang Chuen: Hakka Sonata


Forces of death and life clash, intermingle, and are synthesized into something anew. This cyclical existence, where everything before me is decaying and regenerating itself at once, has hijacked my consciousness, and to come to terms with this sensation, I have embarked on the search for the concealed interconnectedness between the apparently disjunctive elements in life.  

As an outsider having lived in Beipu for the past 7 years—a Hakka village in Northwestern Taiwan—I encounter, on average, a funeral once every two weeks. I don’t know how many I have seen. It was a hot summer day, and as I was passing by a funeral, there was a sharp putrid smell of decaying flesh wafting out of the bereaved family’s house. A few days later I could still smell it in my head—it’s as if the whole village were rotting (or was it just sleeping?) right in front of me.

For a moment I was, in bafflement and delight, caught in the liminal state between death and somnolence, and I knew I had to come to grips with this pervading sense of decay around me—there was no getting around it.

 “All things are impermanent—this is the law of arising and passing away.” Irrevocably, all life leads to death, all desires come to decay, yet I am still intrigued by the eternal—it’s calling to me.  Perhaps the river of Life will eventually flow towards nothingness, yet for the moment; at least, the incandescent sky hanging above is still making me feel light-headed.

ABOUT Wong Wang Chuen

Born in Hong Kong in 1986, Wong Wang Chuen has been living in Taiwan since 2015.
He now resides and teaches English in Beipu.
Solo|2020 Hakka Sonata at Kagiya Gallery, Hamamatsu, Japan
2021 Tainan PhotoGO, Tainan, Taiwan
2019 Tainan PhotoGO, Tainan, Taiwan / Wonder Foto Day, Taipei, Taiwan
2018 Tainan PhotoGO, Tainan, Taiwan / Wonder Foto Day, Taipei, Taiwan
2021 Tainan PhotoGO Jury Prize
2019 Wonder Foto Day Jury Prize
2018 Tainan PhotoGO Jury Prize

Hakka Sonata: Wong Wang Chuen

Opening|2022.11.19 (六) 14:30
Art Talk|2022.11.26 (六) 14:30 Wong Wang Chuen vs Huang, Albert J.L.
Curated by│Edward, I-Chien CHIU (Tokyo University of the Arts, phD)
Organized by|1839 Contemporary Gallery
TEL│02-2778 8458
Open hours│Tue.-Sun. 11:00-19:00

Article by Toshiharu ITO (伊藤俊治)
Japanese art critic, photography critic, art historian. Professor of the Department of Intermedia Art, Faculty of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts

1839 Contemporary Gallery_Hakka Sonata: Wong Wang Chuen_2022.11

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