In September ended the residency period of Wu Chuan Lun, artist from Taiwan, at LABVERDE in the Amazon Forest. The collaboration between this art center and Arte Laguna Prize took place during the 15th Edition of the Award, but due to covid-19 the Residency took place after two years.
The awarded artist’s background was formed by the ever-going changes, compromises and contradictions informing the relations between nature and civilization, ecology and politics as well as materials. Here his perspective and thoughts about the art residency at LABVERDE.
1) From Taiwan to Berlin and then to Amazon! How does it feel to be the winner of a Residency with LabVerde in the Amazon Forest?
Last May, I was on another residency in Taitung, Taiwan, it’s a countryside known for its natural beauty of mountains and the sea. I got the notice that I won the prize there, and I felt like it was destiny to get to know my next journey to nature while I was in another one.
From Taiwan to Berlin, my life has always been on the urban area. Even though we have plenty of nature in both, I didn’t go there a lot because I was busy and lazy.
I’m aware that I’m an urban aborigine, city is my nature. Maybe one of the differences between me and most of the artists who talk about nature is that I’m not an unconditional fan of it, thus I don’t see nature romantically, but I’m always valuing my place in between. Nonetheless I’m very curious about nature and still try to learn from it, that’s why it still takes a part in my works.
2) Can you tell us about your project? What did you develop during the residency?
Since I had never been to Brazil or the Amazon River area, I was naturally anxious about what I could do in these 10 days. I brought my best camera, a 3D scanner, an omnidirectional camera, a sound recorder, and a telescope with me, to get as many of the materials, always a good idea. At first, I wanted to focus on the weathering and degradation of artificial objects in the rainforest, but there was actually (thankfully) no human waste in the reserve we entered.
While we were in the rainforest, the intense schedule and the weather make me a little dizzy, I was lost in the new knowledge and the green. I rethought about my relationship with nature. As an accustomed city dweller, I am not willing to simply divide the two and see nature as a better, innocent utopia. What I have been thinking about is how to diplomatically deal with nature under the premise of co-existence because going back is not possible anymore.
I try to rise questions, and these become a sketch of text-based works. Furthermore, I was particularly inspired by the geometric shapes that appear in nature. I collected many natural objects with photogrammetry skill, I will make them into digital drawing works that I have been practicing for a long time. Although I took nature into digital realm, I do not intend to use digital to imitate the nature, but rather I am looking for the intersection between both.
3) You won the Residency thanks to your application to Arte Laguna Prize 15th edition. What do you think it means for an artist to enter in the world of Arte Laguna?
Arte Laguna is a wonderful platform that helps emergency artist being seen by the bigger world of art. I believed there’s no other award that can offer so many prizes to the artists every year.
I’m super thrilled to be the LABVERDE winner. I first heard about LABVERDE in Taiwan because Eco-art also was also widely discussed in my home country in recent years. LABVERDE has been a significant case that many people are curious about, but Brazil is half a world away, and we know so little about it. Thanks to Arte Laguna’s opportunity and generous support, it made the experience more accessible.
4) To conclude, a little bird told us your trip in Brazil didn’t end with the residency! You found a place to stay, work and explore with Alyson Carvalho, another one of the finalists of Arte Laguna Prize! How did it happen?
When the staff of Arte Laguna Prize heard of my plan to stay in Brazil for a few more weeks after LABVERDE, they introduced me to Alyson. Alyson is based in Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais. He welcomed me in his house, with his beautiful family of wife and two children.
Alyson took me to CCBB, the Mineiro Museum, and the Inima de Paula Museum, all of them had good exhibitions. I enjoyed the exhibition “Brasilidade pós Modernismo” at CCBB the most, it’s a great introduction of classical works of Brazilian art.
The next day we took a little trip to UNESCO heritage Ouro Preto. The town rise because of gold mining and has a charming historical vibe and very well-preserved. If the Amazon is the Jewelry of natural heritage of Brazil, I will say that Ouro Preto is the comparable one on culture heritage.
Well we could say for sure that with Arte Laguna Prize you can find family and friends indeed! Thanks Wu Chuan-Lun for your time. Good luck for your future projects!
Photo courtesy of @LABVERDE and the artist @Wu Chuan-Lun