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Six Color SARS Masks  
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ChinChih Yang
Chin Chin Yang's talent
C hin Chih Yang, a New York artist, who is the recipient of numerous awards for his work in the fields of photography, art, and design is currently featured in the October issue of “ART AsiaPacific”. In his most recent work, he explores the implications of SARS on our lives.

SARS—Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome is the epidemic of the 21st Century. As of 6/18/2003, more than 8000 people have been infected worldwide and about 800 have died. The rapid spread of SARS took the world by surprise. Fortunately, it has now been contained as a result of cooperation between governments, the public and scientists worldwide. But has SARS been eradicated? Unfortunately, the answer is NO! We have merely interrupted the spread of this disease. The resilience of the SARS virus is such that it may re-emerge at anytime, if environmental conditions are favorable.

Chin Chih Yang examines the effects of totalitarianism, surveillance, quarantine, isolation, and mutation on both the victims of SARS and those spared by the scourge of this and other diseases. His conclusion: No matter what steps we take to protect ourselves against this disease and other threats to survival, there are ultimately no guarantees. Life is ephemeral. We will never be in total control. However, this does not entitle us to sit in the bleachers of the game of life, waiting to get hit by a ball.

In the 1970’s Chin Chih Yang studied painting in Taipei under the tutelage of the contemporary artist, Lin Yi-Chang. Feeling confined by the artistic environment of Taipai, he moved to the United States where he studied Fine Art at the Parsons School of Design and Pratt Institute. He graduated with a Masters degree from Pratt.

At the New School, John Brzostoski introduced Chin Chih Yang to the philosophy of Lao-Tsu. This had a profound effect on him and his art. For Lao Tsu, the ultimate paradox concerns the nature of reality itself. He regarded superficial reality as an illusion. True reality, in his opinion, is hidden from us by our use of words. Lao Tsu’s word for this hidden reality is “Tao”. Chin Chih began to incorporate Taoist concepts into his paintings.

In the late 90’s, Chin Chih Yang established as a library of contemporary artists. He serves as the curator of the website since 1997. Currently, 123soho has approximately 3000 artists. Chin Chih regards 123soho as a living piece of art that continuously evolves.

Chin Chih’s first image in this series is entitled “I am ready”. It was created in response to the War on Aids in 1984, adapted to the crisis generated by events of 9/11, and tailored to the Iraq war. It depicts a man’s genitalia modestly covered by a World War one gas mask.

In “sh!sh! SARS” Chin Chih Yang satirizes the effect of the actions or inactions of totalitarian regimes on the health and welfare of their citizens.

Chin Chih Yang also addressed SARS in a conceptual work, in which he explores the implications of quarantine and isolation on the human spirit.

In “Art Pollution” Chin Chih Yang satirizes the artist’s lavish use of paints, plastics and other pollutants that damage the environment. Unfortunately, pollution is not confined to the environment. The artist’s ideas and thoughts also suffer distortion in the process of attempting to explain and justify his/her new creations. Although it may not be their intent, artists often mislead the public as to what they are trying to express in their art.

In a three dimensional piece based on the Chinese art of decorative knotting, and entitled “Gordian Knot”, Chin Chih addresses the political implications of the twisted relationship between Taiwan, Hon Kong, China. Chinese Macramé is a delicate art. The knot of Chinese macramé symbolizes unity. In the Chinese mind, both the beauty of macramé and its symbolization of unity have profound meaning.

During the period from 1996-2001, the artist, disturbed by political changes taking place in Hong Kong and Cross Strait relations, expressed his concerns with a knot that was tied by using the flags of the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Democratic Party (Taiwan), the People’s Republic of China (China) and Hong Kong.

This is the first piece in a series that aims to address thorny global issues that can only be resolved in a peaceful manner.


Jacy Chen
Editor, Inc.
490 Greenwich Street,
New York, NY 10013
Tel. 212-965-8582 ext: 118
Fax 212-226-7342

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