The Shadow of Metaphor: Chasing Light, Shadows, and Alternative Meanings

2023.07.27 - 11.19
Taipei National Center of Photography and Images, Galleries 201-203
LU Hsiao-Yu
Exhibiting Artist(s)
Shih Wan-Li
Ho Ching-Tai
Hubert Kilian
Lee Ming-Tiao
Annie Hsiao-Ching Wang
Juan I-Jong
Chou Shin-Chiuan
Lin Kuo-Chang
Chiu De-Yun
Hung Shih-Tsung
Chang Hong-Sheng
Dennis K. Chin
Kao Chih-Chun
Chang Chao-Tang
Chang Kuo-Chih
Chang Chih-Ta
Chuang Ling
Chen Shu-Chen
Fu Chao-Ching
Yang Shih-Yi
Yeh Tsai
Yeh Ching-Fang
Tsai Wen-Shiang
Cheng Shang-Hsi
Lai Yung-Hsin
Lai Pu-Kuang
Vincent Hsieh
Hsieh Chen-Lung
Chien Yun-Tai
Ministry of Culture
National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, National Center of Photography and Images
Exhibition Overview

Curators: Chang Li-Hua, Lu Hsiao-Yu

     The imaging of photography would not be possible without light; only light creates images and shadows (the Chinese word for both words is “影”). Light is the origin of shadows and images, which, in turn, bear witness to the light. However, without photographers able to capture this light through the camera obscura or cameras (today, there are a plethora of imaging devices; people can even take pictures with their phones!), imaging would not be possible, and the solidification of the rays of light is no accident, nor is it a mere chance. Indeed, 'light' may refer to the entire spectrum of daylight and artificial lighting perceivable to our sense of vision, and which allows people to detect the light of an object’s very existence. In Chinese, the word for 'light' can also refer to glory or honor, scenery, or time; it can also be used to describe brightness, smoothness, or even nakedness. The Chinese word for 'shadow' may also refer to images and how people are represented, or the darkness cast by blocked light; it may also describe imitation and copying, or the condition of being covered or hidden. Photographers deliberately present the traces of light and the textures of shadows in their images; whether or not the images match the interpretations of the viewers is the question this exhibition asks. 

     Simile and Metaphor: Chasing Light, Shadows, and Alternative Meanings showcases works that early Taiwanese photographers have been creating using traditional photographic equipment and analog cameras since the 1950s, as well as double refraction images, time-lapse videos, and meticulously-created works using modern aluminum wet plate collodion techniques, rayograph, polarizers, digital cameras, and editing software. Through the composition of light and shadow, these works feature incidents and people with symbols hidden within. The works capture the light of different people and their humanity, cities and spaces, objects, as well as the extended meanings and many metaphors of lines and artificial lighting. The works also depict the shadows of people, culture, the mind, geometry, and a sense of eeriness, as well as subconscious-like, metaphoric shadows. Even in similar lighting arrangements, the atmospheres, photographic approaches, and composition differ between the artists, and every viewer will interpret the symbols and extended meanings within the photographs according to their own life experiences, intellectual foundations, and social and cultural upbringings. The subtle differences in the viewers’ focus and interpretation enrich the narrative and rhetoric of the photographic images.

The Shadow of Metaphor
In rhetoric, metaphor is aimed at paralleling two unrelated things to create transformation in meaning. Usually, the two has different attributes that are difficult to be described. The attributes are paralleled to imply transferring of meanings between things. Photographers capture or plot for lights and shadows to represent figures, humanity, mentality, geometry and oddity, show dreamlike imagery of subconsciousness, and build infectious symbols as shadows of metaphor.
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