HUNG Cheng-Jen
Place of Melancholy
This is a series of works with the focus on Hongmaogang in Kaohsiung, a traditional fishing village that had a history of nearly 400 years but was forced into extinction. Amidst the heated discussions and protests about the relocation of Hongmaogang, I spent over a decade starting from the 90’s recording what was happening in Hongmaogang and, as a result, had long-term interactions with the villagers.
In 2007, organized by several image artists in Kaohsiung, a farewell ceremony was held for Hongmaogang to commemorate the last moment of this old fishing village with a history of vicissitudes. The atmosphere at the ceremony struck a chord with my pursuit of possibilities in the art of imagery over the past many years and inspired me to convert from pure photographic documentation to artistic creation with bold cutting, twisting, wrinkling and collage of photos of myself and photos of Hongmaogang. By creating such a series of 3D photomontage works, I attempt to create a sense of synchronicity with multiple spaces merged into one, a sense of penetrating clarity despite changes of time, and a sens of ambiguity about confirmation and recognition. I intend to connect the feelings among Hongmaogang villagers of helplessness and powerless about the loss of their hometown, presenting the emotions of sadness, bitterness and anguish that thousands of villagers experienced after they were deprived of their land and memories.
Through the distortion and destruction of images, I want to express the sorrow and reluctance of these villagers and reveal the problems of people being forced to leave their own land.
Hung Cheng-Jen, born in 1960, Taiwan, and now works at the CPC Corporation. He joined the Wang- Jiac Studies of Photographic Art in Kaohsiung in 1990, and would discuss photography with like-minded enthusiasts, gradually perfecting his own photographic techniques in his spare time.
Being blue-collar background, Hung created many unpretentious yet humorous sculptures by welding machinery components together: his photographic works express his care and warm heart on the land where his root is.
Other than photographing documentary, he also tried to use digital camera for his photo works, using real images to express his concerns about the natural environmental and social issues. For example, The Cosmic Garden conveys his concerns regarding human erosion and destruction of the natural environment.
Hung also frequently incorporates his own image into his works, and uses techniques including cutting, twisting, wrinkling and collage reconstruct real scenes, creating varied satirical and mournful images that present a silent scream, or a panicked running on the spot. All above-mentioned are manifested in the series Place of Melancholy. Whether in the real or imaginary worlds, Hung's works express his beliefs that the relationship between the environment and human will always be absurd, broken, and powerless.