Wu Tienchang

Dreams of Past Era Ⅳ

1956- Taiwan

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 this 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 Sets Sail,' 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, cannot those years be seen as a brief moment of nostalgic springtime, a dreamy past era? (UM)

Work description

Title Dreams of Past Era Ⅳ
Name of the Artist Wu Tienchang
Year 1997
Medium oil and objects on canvas with lighting, sound, etc.
Size 207.5×167.5×12.0 cm