Chapter Series

Life and Death

2019 - 2022

About work

Inspiration And Motivation

In June 1874, the Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky wrote the piano suite “Pictures at an Exhibition”, which was inspired by an exhibition of paintings that exhibited a deceased friend of Mussorgsky, Viktor Hartmann of paintings, he selected 10 of the paintings to compose an emotional suite to commemorate the artist, interpret music through paintings, and communicate with the deceased through music. The “chapter series” was originally inspired by this musician’s suite. I combined my own experience and took a page from the “chapter style” to describe the mother’s bedridden, dying, funeral, the influence of the dead on the living and other themes. I was like Mussorgsky, as an observer, witness the process of life from flourishing to perishing, and explore the essence of life through emotional internalization and speculation.

a new journey begins

Chapter one - Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour visualizes the anxieties of youth about life choices. The idea was inspired by the Gobi boulders in Cappadocia, Turkey five years ago. The marks and traces of the predecessors can be seen on the surface of the stones. They seem to be lost in this stone forest just like me. The difference is that they are Pioneers, groping to find the way in and out, as a descendant, I followed their traces to find the exit step by step. Taking care of my mother's serious illness forced me to face many life choices independently early on. Compared with my peers, I was a pioneer at that time, and at the same time, as a descendant, I was guided by the experience of many elders to get out of adversity.

Chapter two - The hill of desire​

The hill of desire points to the primitive sexual impulse and curiosity about sex in youth. People walk on a blurry line between sex and love, and the hill sits in a kind of void, like sexual impulses, which from time to time suddenly rise and disappear from our consciousness. The donkey dying on the piano in high heels symbolizes the greed, stubbornness, and ignorance of a woman who is tortured by wishful thinking. The conflict between the door and the snake is a rational check and balance of the contradiction and fragility of sex in human nature.​

Chapter three - The observer’s eyes​

''The observer’s eyes'' expounds the relationship between the elderly and teenagers. When I was 22 years old and I met my 22-year-old father, it concretized time, space and time. It comes from what my father once said to me: young people have troubles and worries, and their predecessors have experienced it. Although my father is far away, I can feel the traces and afterimages of his journey when he was about the same age as me. The dilapidated house and a pair of old shoes are metaphors for the things he used and left behind, symbolizing what he once told me his advice is a kind of protection and the cornerstone of success.''​

Chapter Four : Transmigration

The Reincarnation inspired by the funeral and spiritual reincarnation after mother's death. In Taiwanese culture, Burning King Boat Ceremony is used as a religious sacrifice. In Egypt, there was Khufu ship to help the king cross the river Styx. In European history, there has Ship Burials The boat became a symbol of helping the dead to cross the disaster, a transition from the human world to the underworld. During the Eastern funeral, through burning joss paper money, paper houses and personal items as a sacrifice, suitcases all over the island became the mother's journey in this life. With the cremation ceremony, everything will continue to the afterlife. After a Chinese funeral, the family usually gather in a round table, symbolizing the completeness of the funeral process and celebrating the completion of a person's mission.

Chapter five - Family ​

In any cultural context, family is the core theme, which defines the spiritual background of a nation. In Chinese culture, the family is like a tree. Each family member performs his or her own duties as the indispensable lifeline of the tree. Above the earth's surface are the branches and leaves full of vitality. Below the earth's surface are the roots that determine the life and death of trees, and so are families. When the roots fall apart, we live and die together. When we reunite again, it means new possibilities and new hopes. After the chaos, every member of the family has found a new position.​

Chapter six - Cohesion ​

The death of the deceased is like the death sentence for the living. The sadness and life of impermanence gradually erode the life of the living. Only religion and the power beyond mortals can provide comfort and answer the essence of life. We gathered the strength of religion and family to go into the abyss and get salvation.​

Chapter Seven : The Dead Are Indifferent To The Living

In the terminally ill ward, a ray of light shone in the chill atmosphere, which was everyone's reluctance for the deceased and the deceased's openness to the end of life. Before the death knell sounded, the mother was haggard, burning with the last afterglow of her life.​

Chapter Eight : Dialogue With Death In The Language Of Death

Orientals burn incense, and wisps of smoke float into the air and into the distance, becoming a dialogue between the living and the dead. And sometimes, not always, I can actually see and feel my mom. It is as if an incense moves away and there she is. I could almost touch her, but the real world rushes in, and she vanishes again. She appears and she disappears like sunrise or sunset, anything so ephemeral. Just like our life - we appear and we disappear and we are so important to some, but, we are just passing through.

Chapter nine: barren mountain - Father ​

Pairing is a kind of balance in eastern culture, and the death of a partner is an imbalance for the living. My father's life was like a barren mountain from a series of green mountains. He saw through the truth of life and lost his courage in life. Loneliness and uneasiness erode his body and mind, and his passion for life is like grass withering all over the mountains.​

Chapter ten: Episodic memory​

Episodic memory gives us the ability to mentally time travel. Whether it is good or bad memories, they always pop into our minds because of some immediate stimulation, but people are always eager to remove the bad parts. In the process of growing up, the defects of my original family made me use inferiority complex, jealousy, longing and resentment as emergency responses to fight against the injustice and impermanence of life when I saw others have a perfect family. However, when looking back at different stages, it is often those bad parts that make us a complete person.

Chapter eleven: Where will we go?​

Taiwan is trapped in the colonial culture of powerful countries in terms of politics, economy and other cultures, but unconsciously depends on the colonial culture in terms of culture and psychology. Perhaps this is the contradiction where the original foundation is not strong enough. When facing our own country and claiming to be the melting pot of multiculturalism, we are in an ambiguous position when talking about our own culture. The cultural and political opposition between China and Taiwan makes us unwilling to accept that Chinese culture is our root, but where do we come from? Where will it go? Or everything depend on turning the mind.