Peihang Benoit Solo Exhibition
撰文 Text / 賴駿杰 Jay Chun-Chieh LAI
We may truly know a person by memorizing.
When looking back to the past, we realize that our experience of growing up is always inseparable from ideologies such as “nation/family” or patriarchy”. The resistance to patriarchy that extends from the so-called “always to be a child” is also engraved in life as the years pass. This is also the centre of the artist Peihang Benoit’s serial works: from the Fleshy Fairytale series with obviously feminism, to the later series of paintings focusing on the issues of European immigrants/refugees and their governmental policies (Wonderland series), which are all the results in this thinking context. The new works exhibited this time connect her mother’s youth times through the “(China Youth Corps) Youth Activities”. By the comparative clue hidden within the title “All Her Bright Times (her mountains 她 ⼭ )“, some landscapes seem to be Déjà vu, which can be vividly found in the artist’s self-understanding and the memories. The “young men” who are longing for the future, wandering through the enlightenment scene set by the party-state system in the past, challenge the “mountain that needs to be conquered” guised as bright, sunny and beautiful scenery; who can conquers it is the promised. Besides, a good family needs to have their children immersed in the nurture, for the sake of physically and mentally health. Nature and landscape have become a set for fostering the personality corresponding to a certain civilization by the State. Today, it has been passed down through family albums, showing the promised “national youth.”
The photos exhibited, comprise that of the artist’s and her mother’s when she was young, could hardly be regarded as belong to a family album, for it is impossible for Peihang to be in her mother’s photos. However, Peihang’s new experience of hiking in Europe allows her to take the same route in ‘time’ her mother once took. In this sense, the two of them overlapped in time, prowling around the future. The imagination of mountains certainly reflects a variety of different cultures and ideologies, but in addition to the generally more ‘solid and masculine’ impression, this exhibition focuses on the changefulness of the ‘mountain outlooks’ and the “mysteries” of the forests that are perhaps accompanied with ghost stories, leading to an interpretation that tends to be more agile and feminine. In fact, the positive and masculine imagery of the mountains and the feminine and variable impression of the mountains combined to form and consolidate the role of the artist’s mother in the family. And through the timeline driven by “National Youth”, one that only envisions the future but eliminates the past, it wipes out the past chapters hidden in the present while sketching the shapes of the mountain ridges. Our knowledge of our mothers are usually limited, especially that before she becomes a mother. The stories of their youth might be passed on through family documents and narratives, and at some point they become a medium for remembrance, for nostalgia for our mothers, and for a new understanding of ourselves. In this regard, Peihang’s works resemble a ritual or a response to the mysterious invitation of the mountains. Her brushstrokes unveil the long-lost ancient paths in the forest, enabling a travel to another time and another space. All Her Bright Times therefore points to a distant place. The place, for the artist, is at the same time the ‘you’ who are familiar, and the ‘her’ who is not. ‘My Mountain’ could only reflect ‘Her Mountain’ from a far distance. But perhaps what the artist is looking for, is the ‘empty space’ emerges from all the layers of overlapping.
⿈沛涵的創作本就有著細膩且多層次的情感，⽽在離開臺灣⼀段時間後，歐洲的⽣活歷練與重要⽣命轉折都在各種意義上豐富了她的表現⼿法。「她山」將展出其更臻至成熟且全新⾯向的作品，揭露⿈沛涵與其母親之間的各種羈絆：如何影響她對於女性與專業⼯作者在家庭與社會上的角⾊認知，特別是在經歷了喪母之慟與初為⼈母的喜悅之後，如何能剝除附加在身上的假⾯「⾁身」。削⾁，除了回應藝術家過去的⾁身童話系列脈絡外，在此也指涉同時帶有喜悅與極度苦痛之「新⽣」所卸下的⼼頭之⾁︔斥出母親在⾃身沉宕已久的欲望之不可得（某種缺陷），也弔詭地，藉由「成為母親」來填補身上可能有的孔洞。以時間的堆疊與破碎為⽅法，再次回頭、由外⽽內地審視⾃身，想望與紀念其母親。我們將訝異地發現，時間絕不是單純地前⾏，⽽是在無數的重複與相互掩映下， 揉雜⽽出總是相似的⾯貌。正如同其畫作所運⽤的⽅法，場景被重組，⽽現在潛⾏於未來。女孩/ 女兒如何理解母親的時代與記憶，以及⿈沛涵對於過去的想像與未來憧憬，皆被潛在地編織、交纏在此系列畫作裡。
Peihang’s creations contain delicate and multi-layered emotions. After leaving Taiwan for a long time, the life in Europe and some significant life transitions have enriched her expressive methods in various senses. “All her bright times” will exhibit her well-considerate and brand-new easel paintings as well as a few ceramic installations, exposing the various inter-related ties between Peihang and her mother: how to influence her perception of the role of women and, at the same time, professional artist in the family and society, especially after the mourning of losing a mother and the joy of being a mother, how can she remove the “physical body” attached to the flesh. In addition to responding to the artist’s past series of Fleshy Fairytale, to detach, or which can be said the “slicing flesh” also refers to the dearest heart unloaded by the “rebirth” with joy and extreme pain at the same time; it repels the artist’s long-suffering desires (unavailable, or a kind of defect) for mother dwelled in her own body. Paradoxically, by “becoming a mother”, Peihang is able to fulfill the holes (hollowed out) in her body. Using the stacking and shattering of time as a method, she looks back again and examine herself from the outside to the inside, looking forward to and remembering her mother. We will be surprised to find that time does not simply move forward, but under countless repetitions and mutual concealment, it is always a similar face. Just like the method used in his paintings, the scene is reorganized, and now sneaks into the future. How the girl/ daughter understands her mother’s time and memory, and additionally Peihang’s vision of the past and vision for the future are potentially woven and entangled in this series of paintings.
The rich, impenetrable, and highly chalky colors are in sharp contrast with the clear, as if vividly- used “photo album”; the bright outdoor scene is replaced by the depressive sky, and the clear stream has become a silent blue color.
It is impossible to walk through the blue river for the second time. Perhaps it is the true color of life and memory.
她山 All Her Bright Times｜ 黃沛涵個展 Peihang Benoit Solo Exhibition
策展人 Curator ｜賴駿杰 Jay Chun Cheih Lai
時間｜Tue. – Sat. 13:00 – 19:00 週日、一休館