Chiang Kai-chun presents two handicraft works to reflect on change and disappearance in history.
The Central Mountain Range is a piece of Taiwanese jade found by Chiang’s grandfather Chang Chieh-chien on Laonao Mountain and presented to the artist as a gift. From 1966 to 1976 Taiwanese jade accounted for 90 percent of the nephrite mined globally, which brought instant wealth to the miners and others connected to the industry. However, although semiprecious stone processing, production and marketing prospered for a while, the sector soon fell into decline. The tradition of ornamental stone appreciation in Hualien can be traced back to the Japanese colonial rule period and this work intends to create an experience of being in a handicraft store in present-day Hualien, yet also simultaneously transport the viewer back in time to the nephrite mine at Fong-tian when the artist’s grandfather was a young man. The simple shape of the work alludes to the mountainous terrain of Taiwan and also to the history of jade in east Taiwan.
In Imitation Delft Ceramic Plate, Chiang designs an antique ceramic plate based on the Delft style works (Delfts blauw). This handmade piece by a ceramic artist from Yingge in New Taipei City resembles a Taiwanese style saucer. The original 17th-century ceramic plate is decorated with a portrait of Holland’s Prince William III, who was eight years old at the time, and is owned by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Although this piece was not commissioned by the Dutch royal family, it nonetheless expresses personal loyalty to the king and testifies to the rise and fall of the authority of Prince William III. Chiang retains the Chinese painting style around the edge of the plate as a point of connection to the trading renown of the Dutch East India Company. He also changes the portrait into a depiction of today’s life and genre painting echoing the Dutch School of painting.