Chih-Chien Wang: What You Found Only Exists in Another World

Chih-Chien Wang
What You Found Only Exists in Another World

December 1 – 22 2018
Opening Saturday December 1st from 3pm to 6pm
Artist in attendance

65 George Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5A 4L8

Open Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 6pm

Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain Toronto is proud to present a solo exhibition of new photographs by Chih-Chien Wang.

“What You Found Only Exists in Another World” subtly transcends the viewer with the sensation of having no tongue—where the familiar becomes unsayable, unfathomable, unknown, a wordless world rich with visual phantasm. Early 20th century modernism’s epitaph is perhaps its possibility to mouth the unseen, to encapsulate without afore-learned language, another world. Chih-Chien Wang’s recent photographic essai emphasizes modernism’s alterity whilst cutting the stoicism of its historical regulation and categorization.

And yet, the works precisely chosen and collected do not attempt to challenge or circumvent language, they simply ask (or demand) the viewer to see, to inhabit our so-called position. A strategic crop truncates snow into aerial distance reportage and a naturalistic sublime, a freshly cut cabbage extends beyond a countertop surface to muster all the resplendence of a melting ice cap, an orange is galvanized into a small heart, and a bushel of grapes, picked, eaten and then exhibited as a specimen of a small tree complete with a hand-cut paper horizon line, seize our attention from the mundane to the spectacular, from seeing nothing to seeing climaxes in performance and spectatorship within the seemingly futile.

We are never fooled by the objects, they remain as they are. Their implicit duality with otherworldliness is made complicit and conspicuous. It is this specific space of performativity, where the actor (the artist) acts as both producer, director and cinematographer, nudging (ever so slightly), where Wang’s work transforms quotidian acts into a form of intricate performance—swallowing, cutting and walking perform coyly and question the viewer’s search for shrewd enjoyment and extravagant consumption.

Spectatorship behooves a reminder of the human body: shrewd and selfish eyeballs and the ability to also produce works of mega Hollywood level spectatorship (hands, legs, muscle and minds), the geological and earth-worn specimens presented by Wang draw our attention to the rolling ball beneath our feet, mocking insistence on ego-centrality, naming, buying, saving, selling, using and toiling, in the same way the images themselves underscore the beauty of uselessness.

– Margaret Haines

The Gallery thanks SODEC for its support.


Chih-Chien Wang was born in Taiwan and lives in Montreal since completing a master’s degree in the Department of Studio Arts, at Concordia University in 2002. He studied previously in cinema and theatre at the Chinese Culture University in Taipei, Taiwan. In 2018 he was appointed assistant professor in photography at Concordia University. Recent solo exhibitions include Kunstlerhaus Bethenien (2016), Art Gallery of Mississauga (2015), Darling Foundry in Montreal (2015), Expression in Saint-Hyacinthe (2014), Musée régional de Rimouski (2013), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (2012), and numerous group shows, including at the Kamploops Art Gallery (BC), Justina M Barnicke (U of Toronto), Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, The Quebec Triennial at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the National Gallery of Canada, Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery in Montreal, Zenith Gallery in Beijing, Aperture in New York, Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne Switzerland.

Wang’s work has entered important collections such as the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, the National Gallery of Canada, Hydro Quebec, National Bank of Canada, Royal Bank of Canada, TD Bank, Global Affairs Canada, Caisse Desjardins, Caisse de dépôt et placement, the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland, Giverny Capital, BMO Financial Group, City of Montreal and Canada Council Art Bank.

The Canada Council of the Arts awarded Wang the 2017 Duke and Duchess of York Prize in photography and he has been selected as a finalist of the senior visual arts award in Montreal – Le Prix Louis-Comtois 2018.

For the list of available works please consult the gallery website