BackBetween Light and Rhyme — Ruoxi Chen

Theme Description

In retrospect, the emergence of photography has not only rewritten humans’ perspectives but also influenced literary writing. Photos can be more than just a window that reflects reality but, at the same time, a space that houses creativity and imagination. Books, a symbol of humans’ thoughts and civilization, started showcasing a new relationship between images and texts, while perspectives of cameras also appeared in works of literature. A Gentle Breeze invites five contemporary writers to step into the viewing of images and the practice of exhibition from the perspective of literature. As texts and images complement each other, the abstract understanding of reading metamorphosizes into sensuous intuition. This process turns both viewing and reading into a unique experience and demonstrates possibilities of dialogue between the history of photography and its connection to memory. Texts, photography, and writing spark the existential meaning of symbiosis, guiding the reading of images towards changing aesthetics. This exhibition section can thus be interpreted as a resonance between photography and literature, revealing the subtlety of human nature and the true meaning of life through the act of writing.

Chen Ruo-Xi was originally called Chen Hsiu-Mei. In 1957, she enrolled in the Department of Foreign Languages of the National Taiwan University after graduating from the Taipei First High School for Girls. Chen Ruo-Xi established the Modern Literature Magazine with her classmates Pai Hisen-Yung, Ouyang Tzu, and Wang Wen-Hsing, among others. 

In 1966, Chen Ruo-Xi went to China with her husband, and in 1973 she and her family moved to Hong Kong. Chen Ruo-Xi began to write what she had experienced in China into short stories and got them printed in Ming Pao in Hong Kong. In 1974, she moved to Vancouver and completed her short story collection The Execution of Mayor Yin, which was published by Vista Read Publishing House in Taiwan. It was a huge event in Taiwan, which kicked off the category of “Scar Literature.” 

In addition to The Execution of Mayor Yin, Chen Ruo-Xi has published more than forty books. Her works of fiction include Lilies of Wisdom, Breakthrough, Secrets of A Perfect Husband. Her collections of essays include My Hometown and Her Hometown, and Notes of Everyday Life. The awards Chen Ruo-Xi had won include the special prize for fiction of the United Daily News Literature Award, Wu San-Lien Cultural Award, Wu Zhuoliu Literature Award, and the 15th National Award for Arts (2011). Chen Ruo-Xi’s works have been translated into English, German, Japanese, French and Norwegian, among other languages.