Chen Chieh-jen: Empire’s Borders II – Western Enterprises, Inc.

When 9 Jul 2010 - 5 Sep 2010
Where Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater
631 W Second Street
Los Angesles, CA 90012
United States
Enquiry 212 237 2800

“Chen Chieh-jen, Empire’s Borders II – Western Enterprises, Inc.” (still), 2010, video installation, courtesy of the Red Cat and the artist

July 9 - September 5 2010

Press Release:

Chen Chieh-jen’s powerful and haunting body of films examines the history of Taiwan within the larger context of globalization. In this exhibition, Chen presents a newly commissioned work entitled Empire’s Borders II – Western Enterprises, Inc. Inspired by his own difficulties in acquiring a visa to enter the United States, this multimedia video installation explores ideas of borders and boundaries within a shifting geopolitical landscape while also reflecting on the history of Taiwan-U.S. relations.

Empire’s Borders II – Western Enterprises, Inc. takes its cues from the political context of the 1950s Cold War when U.S. interests in Taiwan overlapped with the Chinese civil war. Cooperating with the Taiwanese Nationalist government, the American CIA established what was called Western Enterprises – agents responsible for training an Anti-Communist National Salvation Army (NSA) for a surprise attack on communists in Mainland China. The three-channel film installation begins here and weaves the biography of the artist’s father, a member of NSA, who upon his passing left an autobiography, a list of NSA soldiers killed during the China offensive, an empty photo album and an old army uniform. Through Chen’s characteristically charged re-enactments, the figures in the film encounter the ghosts of history and move through the vacuous spaces of struggle, absence and erasure, which echo present-day realities.

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