Duplicated Memory: Chen Shun-Chu’s Family Images, 複寫記憶:陳順築的家族影像

by Chen Shunchu, 陳順築

cover of Duplicated Memory: Chen Shun-Chu’s Family Images, 複寫記憶:陳順築的家族影像

n some ways the meaningfulness of a family album depends, ironically, on the extent to which it is used in the interpretation of society, beyond the family doors. We are aware, for instance, that as soon as family photography is open as art to public scrutiny, it immediately slips out of private hands and becomes a kind of public property. With family pictures rooted in private lives, it is difficult not to seek biographical explanations for artworks such as Chen Shun-Chu’s, in order to assess the legitimate limits of interpretation. Chen Shun-Chu comes from a family of builders, both his father’s and his own generations are given names related to building trade. Shun-Chu means “smooth building”, and his father King-Do means “golden (impregnable) city”/ This snippet of information makes on aware of how Chen Shun-Chu, since embarking on a career in installation art in 1992, has been quietly building up an edifice devoted to the permanent memory of home and native soil. He has never been able to leave his home island of Penghu, spiritually tied to it like a prodigal son’s attachment to the banished house. Through remembering and mourning for the past he has given new meaning to life, turning private experiences into public memories.