The spellbinding result of artist Ting Tong Chang’s residency at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Until Now consumes the viewer with a multi-media frenzy, examining our mediated perceptions of success and failure.
Visiting on the final day, I walked into what appeared to be the aftermath of some sort of exotic food fight: the towering stack of vivid yellow bananas on the poster which had enticed me into Minto House had been replaced by rotting, deflated rubbery sacks, dripping banana-innards onto the floor. Navigating this maze of five kinetic sculptures, the stench of rotting fruit hit me immediately along with an uncomfortable crunch under my feet as I slipped on uncooked-rice fired across the room at me from a fan.
This visual Feast of Lights and technology was a literal ‘assault’ of the senses. Initially confusing, yearned to be investigated and observed. Stronger than these sensory experiences, was the overwhelming sense of anticipation. This was beautifully and subtly presented through small actions of potential; a can of hairspray near an unlit candle, an incense burner waiting to be blown by duelling industrial leaf blowers.
Ambiguous political and religious undertones were difficult to fully grasp without the supporting statement which eventually revealed that the work is centred on a televised speech by Hugo Chavez, following a failed attempt to rise against the corrupt Venezuelan Government. Just like Chavez we are surrounded by the media, both in our everyday lives and in Chang’s exhibition.
The audience, as confused onlookers are assaulted in the middle of the five sculptures: the pulsating flash of a strobe light in one corner, the air blowing from a fan in the other as all the while Chang’s Lucky Cat-topped Self-Portrait fires rice at us. Chang challenges us to think beyond our own lives, assaulting us with his ferocious message of politics, media and bananas.
by Joshua Duncan
Ting Tong Chang – Until Now was on from 25th July-8th August at Minto House, Matthew Gallery, Edinburgh