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Behind the Art: “Addict and Betrayer”

By Hung-Chi Chen
Translated By Jeremy Tiang

Hung-Chi Chen's “Addict and Betrayer” is the cover art of WWB's June 2021 issue: The Queer Issue XII.

Many of my works explore desire, observing the unique attributes of the male body from the perspective of my own identity and the gay male gaze, with particular emphasis on individual experiences of intimacy and the representation of queer bodies within gay male culture and wider society.

粉紅色漆皮沙發 ("Pink Patent Leather Sofa") by Hung-Chi Chen, 2015. Acrylic and glitter on canvas, 91 × 116.5 cm.

In terms of public exhibitions, the challenge faced by queer artists is that the audience is usually unseen and unknowable to the artist, while the artwork connects the public and private (an outing of the artist, as it were). The way I see it, this creates a power dynamic. Desire is an intimate experience, and the queer community faces two challenges here that heterosexuals do not. First, for us, sex itself is seen as secret, forbidden, taboo. Second, there is the discrepancy of sex/gender orientation. Under these conditions, exploration becomes difficult.

《他們的庸俗花絮》展場紀錄 (Installation view at the exhibition of Hung-Chi Chen's “The Banality beneath the Skin”)

“How can we express ourselves while concealing our subjectivity?” I once had such thoughts of escapism. In my 2017 solo exhibition “The Banality beneath the Skin,” I chose to confront the question head-on, exposing the desires of my work/myself, keeping a record of the creative process. As if I were publishing my diary, I used my own life and narrative to publicly display the sensation and experience of gay eroticism. By representing the spectacle of wild pleasure, private thoughts, and mundane moments, I sorted through the emotions of love and intimate relationships, and recounted stories of loneliness and disappointment, happiness and ecstasy. I also reimagined the male-on-male perspective—a different “queer male gaze” that gave rise to different standpoints and approaches from which to view the male form.

It is my hope that every queer individual will be able to feel understood, accepted, and loved. To face their fears and doubts with courage, to find their own position and value, and to feel proud of who they are.

Related Reading:

8 Queer Books in Translation to Read Now

Behind the Art: "Rose of Sapatão"

Subverting Gendered Language: Hannah Kauders on Translating Iván Monalisa Ojeda's Las Biuty Queens


Published Jul 8, 2021   Copyright 2021 Hung-Chi Chen

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