Meet the artists behind ‘蝕-nibble, erosion, eclipse’

While we’ve got a few things happening for the 2016 Melbourne Fringe Festival, the most exciting is perhaps 蝕-nibble, erosion, eclipsea contemporary art exhibition that explores the complex nature of the Chinese character ‘蝕’ (Shi). It’s a symbol connoting loss or disappearance, usually used in relation to a moon eclipse. But it begs the question, do things ever really totally disappear?

It’s something 蝕-nibble, erosion, eclipse seeks to answer, through a range of mediums including video, installation and painting – and in doing so, try to push the boundaries between illusion and reality, existence and absence, gain and loss. At the helm are three young Melbourne-based artists from China and Taiwan, who are (and perhaps befitting, in the context of the exhibition) situated in the nexus of their heritage and current residency.


Chen I-Yen_fringe2

Image courtesy of Chen I-Yen

Chen I-Yen

From Taiwan, Chen I-Yen uses a mixture of drawing, painting and ceramics in her practice, but it’s the latter that she feels most strongly about; for Chen, ceramics can give abstract feelings and concepts a tangible quality, but one that allows for ambiguity.

For Chen, growing up with a mixed bag of cultural experiences have shaped both her practice and who she is: born in downtown Taipei, Chen spent a year in the Czech Republic at 15, and spent summers volunteering with Taiwan’s Wulu aboriginal community in her early twenties. Currently completing her Master of Contemporary Art at VCA, she says she’s still “growing up” in Melbourne: “I’m…stretching out my ‘tentacles’ as much as I can to different aspects of this city.”



Image courtesy of Zheng Tian-Shu

Zheng Tian-Shu

From Guangdong, China, art has been a lifelong pursuit for Zheng Tian-Shu. Having began her academic life in Australia as a Landscape Architecture student, Zheng soon found herself drawn back to the field of fine arts. For her, art is not for art’s sake, but “for a personal perception”. Her preferred mediums are oil painting and installation, through which she explores one’s inner self and spiritual world.

Zheng’s heritage is deeply rooted in the arts. Her hometown Chaoshan is, as she describes, the linguistic and cultural region of Guangdong”, having developed its own traditional culture, such as the Chaozhou opera, Chouzhou music, Chaozu woodcarving and other folk arts.



Image courtesy of Yang Yan.

Yang Yan

From Anbu, China, Yang Yan is interested in sleep. Or rather, sleep paralysis – a condition she’s had since childhood. Recently, in her practice, she’s been researching body memory, which she will also explore in her video installation for 蝕-nibble, erosion, eclipse.

Yang has spent time living in both China and Scotland. ‘Mentally’, however, she’s considers herself having ‘grown up’ in a combination of China, Scotland, Hong Kong – and now Australia. “Ideally”, she says, “I am still growing”.

蝕-nibble, erosion, eclipse is on from Sep 15 to Oct 3 2016. The exhibition will be accompanied by a artist-led sensory tour for the vision impaired. Bookings available