Creative Fusion: The Spirituality of Things / Hui Lin Chuang / Kaohsiung City, Taiwan / Inlet Dance Theatre
First impressions of Hui Lin Chuang’s sculptures convey delicate webs, dappled sunbeams and frilly coral colonies. Their beauty, however, is elevated to ethereal heights by the unlikely artificial materials the Taiwanese artist employs to create them, which include plastics, rubber items and paper. That ironic choice of media is informed by her homeland’s manufacturing sector, which is replete with plastic objects.
“Our life is full of those kinds of material,” notes the 2016 Creative Fusion resident.
Her portfolio captivates at every turn. New and recycled objects become drapes of light, paper cathedrals and creatures with quiet souls. A surreal crowd populates The Totem of Life, which was once print media, while Nylon Snail swirls amid invisible waves, a world away from the plastic tie straps that constitute it.
“To me, things have spirituality,” says Chuang of her chosen media, all of which is created by human beings.
Chuang will team with Inlet Dance Theatre for the duration. An unusual union at first blush, but her attention to spatial relationships and implied motion spoke to Bill Wade, Inlet’s founder and executive/artistic director.
“The stage picture is a three-dimensional canvas that happens in space and time,” he says of the performance area. Hence when he considered Chuang’s work, the possibilities for an artistic confluence bloomed. “There is that fluidity,” he says. “Some of her installation work literally looks like scenic design for a stage space.”
Chuang’s interactive public installations also intrigued the Inlet troupe. The works challenge participants in surprising and whimsical ways. They negotiate a maze of PVC sheeting and zippers amid A long distance from one step to the others. and envelope themselves inside Neo-Aurora, a glowing tube of blue plastic netting. Through Chuang’s unique artistic interpretation and the choreography of the Inlet troupe, they will collaborate on an installation/event at SPACES gallery in mid May.
Chuang studied plastic arts at the Da Yeh University and the Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan, obtaining an MFA at the latter in 2009. Her exhibitions include four solos across Taiwan and one in Switzerland (2015), and a host of group shows in Taiwan and one in Korea. Since 2010, she’s completed five residencies including stints in Taiwan, Germany (2015) and Korea (2012). In 2013, Chuang garnered a Lih-Pao International Sculpture Biennial Award.
“I treat material like another person,” says Chuang of her method, adding that she opts for fragile media to achieve ideological balance between the natural and artificial. “They have life, too. They will die.”