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Dual Exhibition

How Far Apart Can a Coupe’s Room Be?

“Rooms” is a joint exhibition by Zheng Erqi and Hung Zhen-you. The two artists used to live together in Taipei; however, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, they were forced to live apart and start their long-distance relationship. In the very beginning, the two painters were lost and resigned. As they watched how their partner lived alone through the screen, the travel restriction yet became the vocabulary they co-created. The two artists attempted to inquire the significance of distance through paintings and thus further explore their individual inner worlds and their delicate bond.


For Zheng Erqi, who went to Taipei from Xiamen alone at the age of eighteen to study, painting has always been a way to capture and depict all kinds of trivia and the pleasure of daily life. However, she was forced to stay in her hometown in China after the New Year reunion in 2020. The life stranded in her hometown somewhat diverted Zheng’s creative focus. After ten years of absence from home, Xiamen is still her home, enveloped with intimate love and childhood memories. However, the city has also become alienating as time passes. At her original home, where everything relied on the memory of ten years ago, Zheng Erqi realized that the time in Taipei seemed to be dreamy bubbles. Only in the distant yet intimate interaction with Hung Zhen-you did she recognize her very own existence. If she could continue imagining life in Taipei when living in Xiamen; if the room in Taipei becomes a more convincing residence, where does the distance between people exist? Due to the limitation of communication caused by space, Zheng started to spend long hours in her room silently, attempting to dig deep into her emotions, taking painting as her action to get close to the people and things that trigger her feelings in life: the silent father, the aging mother, the still life scenery, distant Zhen-you, and herself. In these perspectives, she let the paintings develop with consciousness and followed her senses to explore the uncharted place.


In contrast, the impact of the pandemic on Hung Zhen-you emerged only after Zheng Erqi left Taipei for a period. Living in two separate places seemed to be as usual in the beginning. However, as time passed, all the objects in the room in Taipei kept revealing the absence of a person. Hung gradually realizes that the essence of life is solitude. If so, is the emotional process the genuine presentation of one’s spirit? He dived into the thoughts miss his partner, amplified his perception and followed his instinct to transform the shared memories with Zheng Erqi into works such as Homeward, Afterwards, and Us. The solid memory forms an abstract space in the accumulation of sensibilities, and the boundary of the image is the standard by which the artists measure their perception. When the longing grew and started to project in many aspects of daily life, Hung began to depict the trees he saw. The realistic branches are life's trajectory, and the dazzling and gentle light and lines translated the artists' spirituality. For Hung, each stroke is communicating with the previous one, and each conversation attempts to reach himself.


In the exhibition, the works of the two artists intersect. The different painting styles seem to express themselves respectively and choreograph a duet, projecting how they approach themselves in fear, confusion, and expectation. In this co-created situation, the two artists realized that the wall between two rooms is, after all, a psychological barrier. As the boundaries of consciousness collide, the two rooms on different lands are always connected.

Text by Celia


A room is an enclosed space within a building. This sort of space is a human dwelling, which offers individuals the right to communicate with each other while having their privacy. A building gathers the people who live together into one group and draws boundaries between individuals by space so that people can keep their private territory and yet to be connected. The long and silent understanding maintaining a subtle distance is a stable and inseparable state.


During the pandemic, such spaces have been transformed into completely unfamiliar forms, and people started to redefine their spaces. As a result, all thoughts are forcibly separated between two distant places, and the definition of time becomes blurred. Things that used to be clear have lost their outlines within a moment. Instead, they become fragmented memories and flavors that scatter in space and fail to be put together into a complete picture.


A room is also the space where we talk to ourselves. Thoughts and perceptions are concentrated in the confined space and cannot be dispersed, triggering endless thoughts beyond the present moment to resolve the dilemma caused by distance.


The two rooms refer to the actual space where the two artists live. Under the distance across the strait, each room carries trajectories of the artists’ lives and their imagination of the past. The artists documented their yearning and thoughts through art-making, which are subtle yet direct descriptions and the whispers between the two people. Through such expressions, the two artists are drawn to each other and explore a place of liberty beyond the limits of physical forms.

Text by Raven Lu / PTT space

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