Chen Chieh-jen: Empire's Borders II – Western Enterprises Inc.
Chen Chieh-jen’s powerful and haunting body of films examines the history of Taiwan within the larger context of globalization. In this exhibition, Chen presents a newly commissioned work entitled Empire’s Borders II. Inspired by his own difficulties in acquiring a visa to enter the United States, this multimedia video installation explores ideas of borders and boundaries within a shifting geopolitical landscape while also reflecting on the ongoing heated debates on the “One China” policy. The first iteration of Empire’s Borders, Chen’s critical response to the opaque systems that have been in place as a result of Cold War politics, was featured in the Taiwan Pavilion at the 2009 Venice Biennale. Chen has since further developed the work for REDCAT by incorporating his own family history. The artist, who grew up in Taiwan in the 1980s during the martial law era, says his films engage with history in relation to current political and economic forces. As such, Chen notes, the films constitute actions that “depict memories of marginalized places, present ways of opening up to the other, and thereby subvert both external and internal mechanisms of colonialism.”