Today we take you to meet award-winning artist Hsu Che-yu. In his latest exhibition, Hsu shot three videos that delve into the lives of Mongolian wild horses, rabbits in an animal research facility, and street dogs in Kosovo. Through the exhibition, Hsu hopes to explore the co-existence between humans and animals. FTV reporter Stephany Yang takes us in for a look.
In this video, Hsu captured videos of horses from Mongolia. On one side are Przewalski’s horses, while on the other side are domestic horses. Domestic horses are taken care of by humans and serve as labor, transportation and companionship. On the other side, there is a sanctuary where Przewalski’s horses live. They are constantly being tracked and numbered.
I captured borders within Mongolia, the border of the wild horse sanctuary. Inside this border is the area where Mongolian wild horses breed. This area is about 500 square kilometers, and the wild horses are in completely free territory. Humans cannot interfere or try to protect them. But these wild horses will be numbered as soon as they are born. Wild horse breeders or scientists will observe them every day. The purpose is to record them as archives. It seems like they are free, but in reality, they live in a place that is very much like a fictional nature.
In another video, Hsu captured footage of a dead rabbit being manipulated by a puppeteer. The work was inspired by Hsu’s grandmother, who used to work in an animal research facility. Her job was to inject viruses into rabbits to develop swine fever vaccines.
The inspiration for this work is my grandma. My grandma used to work in an animal laboratory. She worked there for over 30 years. One of her daily tasks was to kill rabbits and to inject viruses into the rabbits’ bodies to make vaccines. For this work, we borrowed the body of a rabbit and then invited a puppeteer and our imagination to restore the rabbit’s life.
The last video showcases the lives of street dogs in Kosovo. During the late 1990s, due to the conflict in the Balkans, many dogs were abandoned and left to roam the streets. Through the exhibition, Hsu aims to bring to light ecological control in different places and animals and explore the co-existence between humans and animals.
Once I traveled to Kosovo, I kept seeing the same group of stray dogs in their capital, Pristina. After talking with the locals, I learned the background of this group of stray dogs. It is related to their history. In the civil war in the late 1990s, there was a conflict between the Serbian troops and the Albanian insurgents. Because of the war, a large number of pets were left on the streets. They continued to breed. After the war, there was still a large number of stray dogs on the streets. This exhibition hopes to explore whether it is possible to think about the world from a perspective that is not necessarily entirely human-centered. Is it possible to rethink the world from the gap between humans and animals?
His work won the Loop Barcelona Video Art Production Award. Now, he will hold five exhibitions around the world.
Han Nefkens Foundation
This is the second time that we have a Taiwanese artist that won. The five museums who are in the jury all discussed together which artist would get the grant. What is amazing about this grant and jury is that they are of five different institutions from different countries. Especially on how he in a poetic way works with video. How also, starting from daily things. Something like dogs and horses and about the house, father, family. He started from something that we all know. Very daily. Something that is in our daily lives. He knows how to transgress this and bring it to another level so that we reflect really on this world that we live in.
Hsu’s solo exhibition "City Strays and Wild Horses" will be held at MoCA Studio in Taipei till Feb. 4.
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