The Feeling Structure of Contemporary Image: Frame, Arrangement and Seriality


From Direct Photography to "Non-Image" Writing: In Light of Chang Chao-tang's Image Aesthetics and "Notes on Non-Image"







The exhibition "TIME: The Images of Chang Chao-Tang, 1959-2013" grandly held at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum in 2013 opened up new possibilities for reinterpreting Chang Chaotang's image aesthetics. The venue not only brought Chang's magnum opus into spotlight, but also presented a large number of his random notes and reflections on photography. This exhibition enabled us to review the creative constellation that consists of the practical results achieved by the documents originally defined as "peripherals" and the photographs always been regarded as the core. To wit, many mutual-mapping and resonating elements exist amidst Chang's written texts and photographic practice, and Chang successfully wove these elements into a virtual and invisible image plane. It implies that we can never gain a full picture of Chang's image aesthetics merely from his static photographs or experimental films. If his texts and images are essentially complementary to each other, the other critical component of Chang's image aesthetics lies consequentially in the "non-image" writing that has not yet been actualized into real images, since his texts are as highly contagious as his photographs.

This essay treats Chang's efforts in developing a formal language of photography as the point of departure, from which it investigates the spiritualized subject embedded in Chang's image aesthetics. By means of seeking to pioneer an analytic approach to Chang's reflections on photography, this essay extends the scope of discussion to the specific space created through the interplay and resonance between Chang's written texts and photographs. The genres of Chang's creation encompass static photograph, mixed media, installation, and experimental film. Therefore, we can make a holographic map of the interesting texture of Chang's image aesthetics only by exploring the blocs of sensation in his works of different genres.


actualize, virtual, non-image, reflections on photography, spiritualized subject