Sculptural Installation, 2020-21

Library is an installation involving multiple physical objects. In this installation, library is interpreted to be the collection of writing in a broad sense. While writing is represented here not only as a record of language, but also a gesture of registry, a process of assertion, a proof of existence, which transcends time and space.

All objects exhibited here hold inscriptions, marks or traces that are hardly legible, in which their own histories are being identified and measured in their materiality. Various procedures including scanning, retouching, erasing and etching are applied only to introduce minute differences to found materials so as to emphasize their underlying writing which were overlooked previously, and leading the focus on the relations between presence and absence, removal and remainder. Each object in this installation bears these contradictions and can be understood through multifold readings. Although these objects are formally discrete and materially dissimilar, they are conceptually interrelated to forge the possibilities for an infinite sign system, which interrogates and shifts the power relations in writing and its preservation. Meanwhile, all objects can be deemed as a whole, while meanings of the writing are left to be reflected, constructed and projected by the viewer.

Writing I, 2021
A set of movable types, form a page-size block ready to produce a copy. Movable type, or Press Letter, is the oldest form of printing. In this set, the original character is replaced by squares, leaving only punctuation. Each piece of the movable type suggests that it can be manipulated and eliminated, contrary to the belief that engraving on a solid material is a reliable and long-lasting form of writing. With the characters erased, the meaning of the written message is dissolved and the punctuation suggests the pause, the accent, the emphasis of the original paragraph.

Writing II, Covering A Mark of the Room, 2021 
A thin layer of black soil on the floor, covering a black mark made by taking away a piece of gaffer tape which was used during a re-painting job of the installation room. The soil covers exactly the same area that used to be covered by the tape in a way that is barely noticeable. Inspired by Robert Irwin’s site specific works, by reconfirming the writing of the room with the dislocated soil, this piece is a conversation between the artist and the worn out installation space.

After Borges, “Pierre Menard, author of Quixote”, 2020
The full text of Pierre Menard, author of Quixote (1939) by Jorge Luis Borges is printed in a horizontally flipped way on a 44x12 inch silk fabric. Borges’ work addresses the concept of authorship, appropriation and deconstruction. Building on these principles, the fiction can be read only from the back side of the fabric or through a mirror. The fact that the printed version is a translation from Spanish to English echoes the nature of this piece as a paradox being.

1 to 1 scale copy of scanner glass from flatbed scanner, 2020
A laser etching of the scanned image of the scanner glass from a 12 x 16 inch flatbed scanner, with all the scratches, hair and dust left intact of the original scanner glass. It resonates a short fiction from Umberto Eco, On the Impossibility of Drawing a Map of the Empire on a Scale of 1 to 1 (1982), which explores the impossibility of fully representing the original as it is a false proposition, while it investigates the definition of an original.

1985, 1964, 1991, 2021
Three slides taken in the year 1985, 1964 and 1991 respectively are scanned and their image content is manually removed while dust, fungus, stains and grains remain untouched intentionally to act as a signature from the past of unobserved events. The newness of the plastic slide case is not only a contrast to the old original slide but a metaphor of historic recurrence. The narrative embedded in the original slides is intertwined with the marks of time made by the process of decay.

Aphasia, 2021 
Cassette tapes collected from second-hand markets were re-recorded with me talking about my personal connection with the piece, with original recordings being overwritten. Tapes are then taken out from the cassette case, cut, put together and wrap around a pedestal. Without the protection of a case, the magnetic tape is vulnerable and its recording is unable to be retrieved. The materiality of the recording medium, which connects speaking and writing, is emphasized here, as well as the tension came from the fear of being unable to speak out.

#1064567G-0, 2021
A vintage typewriter manufactured in the 1930s is repainted in matte white, covering its rusty exterior. While signs and marks hit by typebars on a platen roller and the typewriter’s unique serial number are still discernible. The typewriter works as an input interface with a specific coding system for inscription. Through denunciation of the codes from this machine’s interface, the typewriter reclaims its “thingness” through the traces it bears instead of the function it used to operate.

The installation is neither a denial to meaning nor a denial to interpretation. Library is not a riddle to be solved, nor a code to be cracked, but a labyrinth contributing to the concept that meaning is contingent and the sign system is an endless loop in which everything connects and disconnects. It is a constant struggle between hiding and revealing, a battleground calling for awareness in the establishment of an archive. The withheld explanation on the contrary gives the work its meaning, as absence repeatedly points to presence, and opens all kinds of interpretation.

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Writing I, 2021, 
Movable Type, MDF, 8 x 10 x 1 in

Writing II, Covering A Mark of the Room, 2021
Soil, Site Specific, 2 x 16 in

After Borges, “Pierre Menard, Author of Quixote”, 2020
Silk, 44 x 12 in

1 to 1 Scale Copy of Scanner Glass from Flatbed Scanner, 2020
Laser Etched Glass, 12 x 16 in

1985, 1964, 1991, 2021
35mm Slides Reshot from Archive, 2 x 2 in

, 2021
Re-recorded Magnetic Tape, Dimension Variable

#1064567G-0, 2021
Typewriter, 14(W) x 11(L) x 10(H)
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