TENG Chao-Ming

chaomingtengstudio at gmail dot com

Game of Will (2016)

Set of 60 drawings on paper, 21x29.7cm each.

Scans of the 60 drawings can be viewed here

Seeing hosting the Olympics as operating an narrative machine, I decided to produce a piece that use archive images, all of which are from the sources of the “official narrative,” namely the official reports from the International and National Olympic Committees, publications and news media, from the three summer Olympic games hosted in Asia. I then intervened these images by hand drawings and writings directly on them. As a whole the 60 documents can be seen as some kind of storyboards with notes and instructions developed by a person, a set of documents that are leading toward some final production. The process is somehow back-and-forth: I would confront each image as both an individual object and one that is part of the whole set of images, waiting to be arranged. With background information and stories of what’s depicted/recorded in mind, I would come up with drawings and/or text expand or deviate the usual readings of it and in some cases, deal with the visual composition itself. These images are pretty banal; after all, the official narratives and what is worth recorded for an Olympics are to some extend the same across its history. Taken out from its original contexts, these images are asking to be interpreted differently, to be grouped in different ways.

This project was initiated in the context of working on a new commission for the exhibition “Discordant Harmony,” which invites artists of four nationalities: Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan to participate. The complicated relationships among these countries aside, they arguably all share the mentality that can be seen through the lens of holding events like the Olympics. Although the three Olympics were held at three quite different geopolitical climate across a span of over 44 years, they share in common, among other things, the desire of showing the competence and their uniqueness/authenticity internationally, and recognition/approval from mainly the West, with a devise that is invented by the West. Taiwan’s entanglement with China and the other two countries has made its people internalize this desire with very little hope of fulfillment. Whether we will be able to imagine alternatives to these concepts such as national recognition and coming-of-age linear narrative of national development is both the challenge and the opportunity.