John Hee Taek Chae – good faith
January 28 – February 5
VCUarts Painting + Printmaking alumni John Hee Taek Chae (MFA, 2020) presents good faith, an exhibition that draws on Chae’s wide-ranging skill as a maker and thinker in mapping out a complex ecology of faith, identity, and ideology. In good faith Chae combines painting, drawing, sculpture, multi-media, and digital fabrication with intimate family documents in a thought-provoking installation as multivalent—and ultimately as elusive—as the histories it surveys.
good faith is on view January 28–February 5th at the Anderson, Gallery H.
Chae will be on site to welcome visitors to his exhibition 12–6pm on Thursday, January 28th and Friday, January 29th.
From the artist:
good faith is a project that explores the ways in which ideology determines reality. It is an installation that plots and connects the historical and personal narratives that have constructed my sense of identity – narratives in which desires collapse, mutate, or converge when confronted with power, opportunity, or illusion. Within the installation, recreated world maps are hung next to photographs of family homes. Portraits of influential American Presbyterian missionaries are placed next to my grandfather’s accounts of clergymen performing miracles. Mottos drawn from pyramid schemes are placed next to rebel slogans from peasant uprisings. All together these components form a spatial timeline – a composite of imaginaries, excerpts, declarations, and remembrances associated with the reciprocating effects of evangelism, colonialism, and capitalism. By oscillating between the historical and familial, I hope to present viewers with the contradictions that result when tools of persuasion barter in false promises but also act as genuine containers of faith. The language of mapping is used to express a desire for cohesion. “We make maps of the world in order to change it.” But, the conflation of imagery from a wide range of sources, disciplines, ideologies, and histories makes a cohesive mapping of the installation itself impossible. What is left is an opportunity to consider each image, narrative, or statement individually and speculate, even fabricate, the connections between them. For the project itself is a quest for interiority amidst a pervasive lack, a lack most keenly felt when one is confronted with the violence of subjectivity – a violence that requires one to define oneself within set terminologies in order to defend against it. By delving into these portals of human experience, I create an inheritance, a timeline, a map, with all the fears, aspirations, reasonings, and prayers that come with it. It just so happens that this map itself is a labyrinth, both lucid and dizzyingly incomprehensible. The project is a good faith effort to connect multiple histories, fragmented perceptions of self, and contradictions present within lived experiences all grounded in an emphasis towards ambivalence, uncertainty, and plurality. The project is guided by the sneaking suspicion that representation of subjectivity cannot authentically be established, yet this instinct cannot be dismissed because it is driven by an “irreducible resistance to complete dissolution that exists within all of us.”