Chen Pin Tao

Descendent of an esteemed violin maker and hailing from a lineage of master craftsmen, Tao’s refined objects and assemblages contain immense exotic, ethereal, and incorporeal allure, embedded within their exuberant complexity and virtuosity unraveling between both folk traditions and technological acceleration.  These objects are means to excavate alienated ancestral history through deep introspection, and are tools to overcome humanity’s inability to comprehend and preserve the sublime. 

Reality is stranger than fiction.  Tao’s primary interest resides in the exploitation of the splits in reality, and the examination of object-oriented fetishism. In an accelerated and trance-like state induced by the fissures between contemporaneity, metaphysics, spirituality, and their metamorphosis, decadence, intense desires and asceticism, Tao creates ecstatic realities––or emergence––through the alchemy of objects and architecture, expanding the already rich ontological vocabulary of Chinese materialism. 

Tao’s reality emergence devices (portals, thresholds, gargoyles) are means to manipulate objects bridging through the virtual (noumena) and reality (phenomena), allowing the qualia of objects to be extracted, mutually exhausted, and elevated. The language and ecological logic of these realities avoid conventional phenomenological grasp, producing semiotic slippage and inhabiting a withdrawn potentiality of space, object and imagery. 

These spatial and symbolic dimensions are not merely vessels encapsulating entropic qualities, but individual ontological beings, complex enough to seek release from an established organization, to determine and generate a multiplicity of their own ontologies, and to manifest further enlivenment and cosmology, across volumetric, visceral, and physical scales. With the given structure of deeply ordered chaos, infinte malleability, permanence, impermanence, destruction, and rebirth, these ontologies contain infinite transformative potential.

Temple of Physiotology, 2019, 8’46”

Chen Pin Tao’s “Physiotology” series embodies an existential angst towards the nature of being. It puts forward propositions in which religion and conventional cultural establishments are questioned. In the video work “Temple of Physiotology”, both fact and fiction are obscured to create factish narratives. Through these narratives, an otherworldly space-time continuum is generated for the viewer to dwell and experience. 

The work revolves around the historical Peruvian city of Chan-Chan as context . The recorded mythical and historical information of the context acts as seedlings for the development of factish storylines. The narratives hints at themes of religion, fetishism, totemism, gender, nature, and the notion of being with an antinatalist and nihilist perspective. Through a tribalistic ritual and trance-like visual experience, the work conveys discontents towards a mainstream creationist dogma, and the faulty construction of the human body.