The Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève is pleased to present Two Episodes of Mourning Exercises by Hsu Che-Yu, in collaboration with Han Nefkens Foundation.
The first mourning exercise is a tribute to the artist’s deceased grandmother. The latest advances in medical research recognize the “spirit”, that immaterial and eternal aspect of every human being that consists of emotion or consciousness, as mere reactions within the nervous system – an understanding that denies the very existence of the soul. The artist recalls the experience of bodily perception in his grandmother’s house and contemplates death and memory from a material perspective.
The second mourning exercise is based on the memories of a terrorist bomber and on his brother’s suicide in the family home. The artist returns to the scene of the suicide and reenacts the event constituted by death. Meanwhile, he revisits the seashore and reenacts how he once practiced bomb-making and testing that was inspired by the suicide-prone United Red Army in Japan. By juxtaposing the suicide that struck his family with the sacrificial immolation of terrorist attacks, the artist presents death as a tension between the individual and the collective.
These two mourning exercises deal with the body, space, and memory, and are part of an investigation into the “politics of death”. This project is finalized by working with a special scanning team that assists police authorities in the collection of forensic evidence. The team scans crime scenes as well as fragmented and decomposing bodies for identification. Using scanner technology, the two mourning exercises explore the representations, constructions, and alienations of memory and death as an intimate event.
The works presented in this exhibition were created in cooperation with screenwriter Chen Wan-Yin, Hsu’s long-standing collaborator. The first one, Gray Room (2022), is a co-production by Han Nefkens Foundation & Kaohsiung Film Archive VR FILM LAB. It is presented as a VR installation. The second film, Blank Photograph (2022) was produced by Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains.
Hsu Che-Yu (b. 1985) is an artist based in Taipei and Amsterdam. Hsu Che-Yu works as an artist who primarily creates animations, videos, and installations that explore the relationships between media and memory. Hsu received a master’s degree from the Graduate Institute of Plastic Arts, Tainan National University of the Arts (Taiwan). From 2019 to 2022, he has participated in the residency program at HISK (Ghent, 2019–2020) and Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains (Tourcoing, 2020–2022). In 2022, he began a two-year art residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.
Hsu has participated in the Bienal de São Paulo (2021), Seoul Mediacity Biennale (2021), Sonsbeek20→24 Quadrennial public program (2021), Techniques of Becoming (Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, 2021), VIDEONALE.18 (2021), Shanghai Biennale (2018), London Design Biennale (2018), Asian Art Biennial (Taichung, 2017), and film festivals IFFR International Film Festival Rotterdam (2023, 2022, 2020, 2018) and NYFF New York Film Festival (2020). He was awarded the Videonale Award of the Fluentum Collection (Kunstmuseum Bonn, 2021), the Loop Barcelona Video Art Production Award (Han Nefkens Foundation, 2020), the Taishin Annual Grand Prize (Taishin Bank Foundation for Arts and Culture, 2016), and was a finalist for HUGO BOSS ASIA ART (2019).