Chen Chieh-jen was born in 1960 in Taiwan. His artistic career began with illegal action, in which he challenged the limits of expression under the martial law system of his country. His actions were staged in the public sphere in a guerilla-style performance and in underground exhibitions. His work explores Taiwan’s modern history, from its colonial subjugation, through to the Cold War period, its position as a key base in global capitalism production, and its evolution into a consumer society. He has focused his production on ambitious video work, where he highlights current social and political issues in Taiwan.
Exhibited: Factory, 2003
The video focuses on a group of women, all of whom have worked in the factory from which the video takes its name. As in many of his works, Jen involves non-professional actors from social fringe groups that form the subject of his production. Here, as with many other factories in Taiwan, the factory closed and reopened in a country that offers cheaper labour. Chieh-Jen asked them to return to the site to reenact the work they used to carry out. Less concerned with an exact historical reconstruction, he exposed feelings and emotions that the charged space provoked. Through people who have been forgotten, Jen counters the inevitable progress and course of history.