Marshal Tie Jia - Turtle Island, 2012

Hong Kong 2015
Liang Gallery
Hsu Chia-Wei Marshal Tie Jia - Turtle Island, 2012 Hsu Chia-Wei's video installation engages with the history of a tiny island of the coast of Matsu, which is situated in the Taiwan Strait. During the Qing Dynasty, the island was the site of a tiny temple. When Chiang Kai-Shek retreated to Taiwan, the temple was dismantled and relocated to a larger neighboring island, and a bunker was constructed in its place.   At present, the bunker is a ruin and ownership of the island has been transferred again to the proprietors of the original temple. The island is also under the commandment of a local god called the “Marshal Tie Jia,” a frog deity. This deity originated from a temple located on Wu-Yi Mountain in China, which was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, at which point the deity migrated to Matsu.   In Hsu Chia-Wei's work, the island is used as a stage. Employing the cinematographic device of the “green screen” – a generic background that is replaced in the post-production process with any other background image – Hsu places a fictional version of the original tiny temple on the island. Slowly, the camera zooms out and reveals that green screen on the island. This scenography forms the backdrop of a performance in which a local senior citizen sings a form of folk opera found only in the south of Fujian Province, recounting the experience of WWII. He is the last person capable of performing the opera, which has a long tradition and was known to be Marshal Tie Jia's favorite pastime, but which has now fallen into oblivion.