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Dreams of Past Era IV
Wu Tienchang
■Year 1997
■Medium oil and objects on canvas with light, sound and others
■Size (cm)
A single painting hangs in a darkened room. Suddenly a nostalgic, romantic Taiwanese song starts playing and the light bulbs surrounding the picture frame blink in rhythm to the song. The image of a young woman, in the painting in the middle of the lit frame, appears and disappears. A mood fills the room--cheap, nostalgic, somewhat dubious, and sweetly sentimental. For Wu, the 1950s are an important artistic theme, and he believes that the era when Taiwan was still under the control of an external power, was, in spite of that occupation, the most Taiwanese of times. The song playing in this work is "The Boat of Good Fortune Set Sali," a popular Taiwanese version by Chen Fenlam of a Japanese song. The image of the young woman is drawn from a photograph taken at a 1950s photo studio. For the artist, the 1950s were an age that echoed the images of this song, a time when, as the song's title implies, fortune was at hand. And indeed, can't those years be seen as a brief moment of nostalgic springtime, a dreamy past era?
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