“We are drifting in a paradoxical world. We find pleasure in it, but we have also lost our ability to discriminate.”
Born Changhua, Taiwan, 1979
Talking about his work, Huang Chien-Hua quotes Susan Sontag’s observation that “the essence of photography is a mixed way of seeing”. His digitally manipulated photo fantasies offer a literal interpretation of that remark. In the Beasts series (2006), he inserts animals into urban settings and merges monochrome and colour to point up the commonalities and disjunctures between the instinctive world of nature and the ordered structures of civilization. His luridly coloured “blankscapes” (2010) achieve similar effects by adding jokey human touches like wigs and balloons to solitary animals set against surreally spectacular sunsets. Decked in the bric-a-brac of modern life, his creatures become almost human, seeming gloomy, anxious, playful, bored or simply lonely. The artist says he is investigating “human identity in an image-driven age”. In the jarring overlap between nature and artifice, he attempts to make visible the psychological state of modern man.