Fortune- telling 100 Project 《靈籤一百 藝術計劃》
Hou's Statement 2017
In the past few months of 2017, I was bothered and anxious about my Ph.D. degree and the intensive upcoming exhibitions. However, I accidently become the chief of Show Your Island Artist Group. I believe everyone once had been in a circumstance that all the things come together at the same time regardless how busy and restless you are. In my life, things always come together at the same time. Bad things crowded, and so did the good things. This makes me consider the possibility of fate. I started believing there is a “being” using his or her “hands” manipulating my fate and trying to affect and guide me.
The freshman of this artist group – Chen Li Fang. I was not familiar with her. However in this exhibition – “A Letter from Future”, she wrote me a prophecy that forces me to leave my studio, galleries, and museums. Those places are main parts of the ordinary daily life. That letter asked me to leave those I am familiar with for riding a bike and doing performance art in the street. Her “prophecy” is a way against my own path. I would have given up this exhibition, however I am the chief of this group this year. As a leader I have to do it. It seems that the hands is manipulating and guiding me again. I have no reason and no chance to refuse. I do have choices, but I don’t have options.
Therefore I decided to face it, and use “fate” as the material of my performance art. I can not change the fate, so I decided to dress like a fate-teller, and tell the fortune of others. This time I will set my own game rules, walk into the transforming streets and use my own hands to play with “A Letter from Future”. I will be riding on a bike with lottery poetry (a traditional Taiwan fortune teller sheet) into the streets and do the fortune tell for passengers. I want to exchange my life experiences and my beliefs with them. I want the pasts, presents and futures to be changed by the time we met. I want to practice the project “100 Lottery Poetries” and transform the hands of fate into hands of art!
Who is the Fortune Teller?
Independent curator and art critic
I am a fatalist, and I make this declaration under a deliberate consideration. For the one who is not a fatalist would say: there are always choices. However, how would those choices come to you? When you have to choose from A or B, do you ever think, where is C and where is the other options? I think this is the best explanation for fatalism: there is always a free will to choose, however we can not control the options. The options are controlled by a pair of invisible hands – fate.
“And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;”
~ quote from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Stanza 29th and 30th
I considered the “hands” as a higher beings than human. Who can life and drop a question on your plate? I think it is god, or gods in any religion, or the nature force. The works and days of the god, gods, or nature forces are lifting your past questions, answered or not answered, and drop new questions on your plate. The works and days of human are keeping choosing among the questions.
The annual exhibition of Show Your Island Artist Group in 2017 is named “A Later from Future”. Each artist will receive a latter which is written in future tense, and he or she has to follow the “instructions” in the letter to finish his or her works. Art is free, it can not be forced to do something or not to do something, however, the artists still have to follow the letters. It’s like that you have choices, but you don’t have other options. This letter is like the hands of god that drop a question on your plate. The only thing you do is to swallow it, and the choices is how you do it.
Hence, the fate creates a series humor chemical reactions to Hou Chung Ying.
His project for “A Letter from Future” is named “100 Lottery Poetries”. The lottery poetry is a traditional way of fortune telling in the temples around Taiwan. You can take out a bamboo sticks or an iron bar which engraved with poetry. And a fortune teller will interpret that poetry for you to unveil the mask of future. In “A Letter from Future”. Hou Chung Ying is asked to leave traditional field of art such as museums and galleries. At the meantime, he is also required to get outside of his painting studio and face the crowd with performance art.
It seems like an impossible mission. His solution is to act like a real fortune teller. He wooden-printed the 100 lottery poetry from the famous temple – Lung Shan Temple. He carried those printings in a bike and performed like a fortune teller around the city. He is forced to complete an artistic project by the hand of fate. Intriguingly, he performed as hands of fate in front of the crowd to resonate the topic of this annual exhibition.
Hou Chung Ying’s works have been focused on hands, such as the series of “Allegories of Hands”, and “Landscapes of Hands”. He has been discussing the metaphors and meanings of hands in different cultures. At the same time he elaborate the phases, shapes and meanings of hands by painting hands from micro to macro points of views. He is pursuing the “God Hand” (in Taiwan that means an expert), and challenging the “hands of fate”. In this project, the motion of drawing a lottery poetry is responding to the ultimate spirit of his previous works – draw (means the challenge to the fortune). Through the motion of drawing, and the combination of hand of fate, he shall finish this project delicately.
For the crowds, they will be in a storm of fate. They know the draw their own fortune, however, who set those 100 lottery poetries for them?
Fortune Telling Stick 100, woodblock Prints