‘I explore how the invisible can be made visible through the actions of the body.’
Born 1979 Taoyuan, Taiwan. Lives and works in Taipei.
Video artist Kuo Chia-Ling is interested in theories of perception and language – her work explores how aspects of daily life can be transformed into something magical and mysterious through the language of cinema. In particular, she is fascinated by body language and the mediation between bodily experience and how the mind constructs meaning. In the Red Lip series a lipsticked mouth speaks, but the video is silent: speech becomes mysterious and open to multiple, overlapping interpretations. In You Can’t Talk to Other People (2014) the artist’s red lips move, speaking fast in Chinese; the same sentence is repeated over and over again as the 8 sec video loops. The literal translation is ‘You can’t talk to other people’ or, perhaps more stridently, ‘Don’t speak to anyone’. The video was inspired by a telephone scammer who attempted to extort money from the artist’s mother, threatening harm to her family if she told anyone. Kuo says: ‘The sentence was particularly crucial and decisive in the scam phone call to people who were involved.’ Her clever mother, however, managed to communicate with a taxi driver, bank teller and the police with facial expressions, body language and written notes.
Another work created in the same year creates a different connection between the artist’s body, her camera and the surrounding environment. In 3 Minutes Sea Wave at Night grainy, black and white images of waves breaking on a beach create an eerie and foreboding atmosphere. The movement of the waves is jerky, due to the time lapse technique. The lack of sound contributes to the somewhat sinister atmosphere. Influenced by philosopher Merleau-Ponty, Kuo says she was exploring how the invisible can be made visible through the actions of the body. ‘The rhythm of moving waves is like heartbeats and breath, in which invisible and imagined movements are present.’