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Meet Hsuan-Kuang Hsieh

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hsuan-Kuang Hsieh.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I am originally born and raised in Taiwan. Seven years ago, I came to America to pursue my master degree at CalArts, now working as a multidisciplinary artist in L.A in art, performance and experimental film. A big part of my practice is to reexamine this dislocation experience between lands and nations as a first generation immigrant. And to take a deeper look at the complexity of multicultural identity and the idea of home.

Taiwan is a small island with an unstable political status. It has been through a long history of colonization, changing hands with many authorities. Many of our ancestors have been seeking survival in the other lands. As time passed, My generation somehow follows this path. We study aboard, relocate for jobs or go on work vacation in order to pursue a better and more reliable life. The process of adaptation in a new land, the struggle of redefining the identity and the desire of building a home has been similar. From my personal experience, I find the urge to tell the stories of my generation as an immigrant and as a home seeker.

Please tell us about your art.
My background in theater and film photography has deeply influenced my practice. In making, I enjoy integrating, layering and collaging various elements: performance, film/video, photograph, puppetry, found objects and texts. I usually see the creative process like building a theatrical experience for the viewers. Spectatorship is crucial; I tend to input a degree of interaction in my work, which incorporates the viewer’s movement and make them become part of the subject. By doing so, to bring another layer of intention and context into the piece.

Continued from my previous statement, my work mostly comes from my personal struggle and the diaspora experience as an immigrant in a foreign land. It constantly explores the meaning of home through different lenses. For example: In 16mm film installation ‘The Islands,’ I sourced back to Taiwanese colonial history and how the institution memory conflicts with the oral history from my family. From there, to discuss how our identities form and shift in time and places. In site-specific project ‘Dusts in the Wind,’ I addressed my frustration with my unsettled American legal statues (which has been reissued three times in the past five years). Further, to express nostalgia for my homeland and to claim the desire of a new home in the U.S.

For me, art making is a process of self-exploration. Through this honesty, I hope the deep emotion could come through and deliver to my viewers. Ultimately, the struggles in human history could be similar. They just present to us in various manners and degrees. My goal is to simply share the genuine emotion with my viewers, to raise wonders and to comfort the smilier souls. I want to encourage people to remember their own stories, and to share their memories with others. Art eventually is only a medium to open the conversation and connect mankind.

Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
Everyone is different. I believe the first thing is to ask yourself: what does art mean to you? And what type of artists you dream to become? After clarifying these questions, you will find a clearer direction of how to balance between art and work. I have never urge to produce art. The most important thing for me is be true to myself and be honest and responsible what I make.

Another advice is try not to divide art, work and live. To live them as the same, they’re all part of who you are and are part of the creative process. This is the mindset that really helps me to stay creative and motivated every day.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
People can find my work at my website or follow my Instagram account isyet and isyet.image

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Artist personal photo by Lin Cao
Photos of art work by Hsuan-Kuang Hsieh

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