In literature, Words make a sentence. Sentences gather a text. Text fills a page. Pages form a book.
In Chen Long-bin’s works, the journey takes one step further: books become a sculpture. Unlike book-craving art of rebellious intention in the past, the artist declared that “the style has become a classic” in the era of new media. The sculpture appears to be made of marble or stone if book spines are not revealed. However, you cannot miss the book spines as the sculpture is displayed with book spines facing front, making Dharma facing the wall. It suggests to me (i) the focus in this exhibition is intended to be the artistic process rather than the craftsmanship, and (ii) it is time to reflect oneself’s doing (facing wall is for self-reflection in Chinese culture and meditation in Buddhism).
In Peeker Book, Chen invited audience to peep into books on shelf through a peephole, implying a vehicle between two spaces. Indeed, reading is like peeping into an imaginative world in the case of novels, a knowledge-based domain in the case of academic books. Echoing reading as self-indulgence enjoyment, peeping the books can only involve one person at a time, creating a sense of curiosity to the surrounding audience. The shelves are hung at ascending heights to suit audience’s eye level and because of this, “Don’t touch” sign is highly visible.
The objects for peeping are hardcover while book-carving objects are paperback. Either type has its role to play in the artist’s eyes. The artist’s keepings, mostly art books and magazines with emotional attachments, have been transformed to art works. Do you think the value of literature has also been transformed in the name of art?
The Delight of Chinese Characters Festival Visited on March 23, 2013 at The Pier-2 Art Center, Kaohsiung, Taiwan