The Observer August 1 - September 14, 2013 Cheng Ting Ting

Opening Reception: August 1, 2013 from 7:00-9:00pm

The Observer, London-based Taiwanese artist Cheng Ting Ting’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, documents her findings from two recent projects, where in one, she becomes an involuntary reader of free media that came into her hands, and in another she becomes an active reviewer of five sequential editions of a travel guide for Taiwan written by Robert Storey.

In the first project, Cheng explores the flow and excess of information in our society, and how they form our perception towards reality. For 100 days, Cheng quit buying newspapers, magazines and stopped watching all televised news programs, instead she read newspapers that ‘came to her’ randomly she had not asked for, such as freely distributed newspapers on the streets and discarded papers on train seats. She became an involuntary reader.

Cheng collected these newspapers, photographed them, and noted down the time and location where they came to her. Slowly and silently, this web of information began to shape her perception towards society during this time period, and the parallel reality construed by free media during the period becomes more and more apparent.

Involuntary Reader is selected for Nord Art 2012 and III Moscow International Biennale for Young Art 2012 and this project is exhibiting in National Art Museum of China, Beijing from Aug 26, 2013.

In the second project, Cheng questions the role of Lonely Planet, and in particular, of author Robert Storey, in shaping the Western perspective of her mother city. Besides being a respected provider of eat, sleep and logistic tips for traveling worldwide, Lonely Planet is widely regarded as one of the most trusted source of local history and cultural insights. For outsiders who don’t speak the language, Lonely Planet is literally their travelling lifeline and de facto cultural attaché; for Cheng, it’s the perfect entry point for investigating the identity of her own country, and how it is viewed and filtered under the pen of an non-Asian author.

Through her findings, featured via a range of medium from vinyl texts, mounted prints, framed pages and video installation, Cheng challenges each edition’s proclaimed authority and authenticity, and questions the concepts of tourism, exoticism and speculation in a wider context. What comes through is a parallel Taiwan that bore little relation to the real thing, exposing culture as a traveller’s comfort food served up in recognizable flavours.

Cheng was born in Taiwan and graduated from MA Photographic Studies in University of Westminster, London. She has exhibited and received a number of photography awards internationally, including New York, London, Berlin and Taipei, and her works are owned by private collectors worldwide. Cheng’s recent exhibitions include Jo vull aprendre Mallorqui, SACMA, Manacor, Distance in Between, Galerie Grand Siècle, Taipei, Inter-vision: A Contemporary Art Exhibition Across the Strait, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art, Taichung / National Art Museum of China, Beijing Love your imagination, Cans Art, Taipei Innovation and Recreation, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art, Taichung, Just Mad, Addaya Art Centre, Madrid.