「Becoming」Changes in Existence - From Transitive to Subjective Huang Shengming Photography Exhibition

Exhibition: 2024.05.04-2024.07.13

Opening Reception: 113.05.04(日)14:00


Photography Exhibition of Huang Sheng-Ming

By Chang Tsong-hsian

Existence precedes essence. What is the essential existence of photography? Is it a personal transcendental existence? Or is it a subjective existence? What this proposition may first need is to clarify the variability of real objects. In the process of viewing, selecting, cutting and then intervening in photography, and then giving new meaning to the world, what is the ultimate meaning that photography wants to present?

If we look at the essential characteristics of contemporary art, we must understand the invisible existence of images from a perspective which is divorced from reality. That is where the meaning lies, the visual language constructed by the photographer. The viewer must return to an exchangeable mind-set and realize that the image is not a single existence, but constantly generates meaning as the individual, time and perspective change.

What is the essence of photography? The traces presented by light are a form of being, a vision that translates the real world into a viewing perspective, cutting out reality and creating a new image language again. Whether the world really exists or not, for photographers Sheng-Ming, he was not concerned with immediate and visible meaning, but rather with the use of photography to express external imagination through personal imagination. In other words, it is a representational language. In a certain sense, it is the photographers profound internalized language from the external changes through the image. What is added to his photography is not just the moment of light and shadow, but the perspective of the spatial world, which gives the wholeness of what he sees through the writing of light. As Remi Hess said: ‘Space should be thought of as a whole’. Therefore, Sheng-Ming's works are more like a language of spatial transformation, a contemporary photographic sign and transformation, and a simplified and in-depth photographic practice.

Sheng-Ming's works create a ‘retention’ that can be remembered in the stream of consciousness of time. The display of such memorability along with his works allows us to awaken the consciousness of objects from viewing and to re-define the objects. In other words, the intensity of his images does not emphasize reality, but re-defines the essence of ‘being’ that once existed through the stream of consciousness experienced after seeing it. As to the technicality of photography, this is a kind of restoration – a return to the truth, a return to the forgotten self. In other words, photography restores the living world. The work only honestly grasps the artist's own description of reality and reinterprets his personal transcendental experience through images. Life and the world seem to be suspended. Just like Edmund Husserl's idea of the external view (Aussenhorizont), that he believed that the intuitive world cannot yet explain the world. But the inner horizon (Innenhorizont) can explain the essential world. Does this mean that the essence of photo is photography?

Sheng-Ming’s photography works have spatial characteristics and a shared present of time. The angle presented by his work transcends the obvious and becomes an imagination and extension of consciousness. If the camera were just a cold instrument, in this era of multi-digital imaging, the decisive moment is gradually banished to the edge of pretense. But Sheng-Ming still stays on the creative path of traditional photography. Perhaps we ask again, what else is needed for photography? If we look closely, we can see a kind of persistent affection in his work, and he uses his experience to give photography a warmth of light and shadow. In the field of imaging, ‘Huang Sheng-Ming’ this name marks the photographic vocabulary written with light. He became a real ‘being’ for himself in photography.




I am a traveler. I use an ultra-self-oriented way to wander the streets and have dialogue with the space. Over my thirty years doing this, time passes and space changes. What remains the same is that I use lenses to reach the world, and I look at everything through the camera. Very often, while the lens is focused externally, I reflected inwardly. When the shutter is flashed/pressed/on, it races with unending time for 1/125 second. It seems as if I try to a find lost part of myself from somewhere in the world.


For me, filming is like creating a painting. Geometrical pattern has to come prior to a narrative. It has been my belief that a piece of creation has to have both form and content.  I want to provide imagination and visual impact for things of this secular world through filming. So I transform the image through poetic-style observation. This approach enriches my mind. In the process therefore I produce a narrative to record my own experience through capture of images.


The pictures of this exhibition sit between the real and the non-representational. Some of images were captured at right time by chance, turning moments into eternity. Some were the result of long-waiting: for ideal or desired light, people, locations. Waiting is a mindful practice. No matter it is an instant, or a long wait, it is instinct which determines whether to take the shot or not. An instinct called forth by the setting.


The works capture unplanned moments and planned waiting in many corners of Taiwan; the interesting scenes of the lobby of the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore; a performance by the Golden Gate of the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco; the romantic atmosphere when strolling on the street in Paris; net-like electric lines hanging above the streets of Neizu in Tokyo; and … Every photo, every work is a trip, a past, a memory. When selecting those works, it felt as if I was putting together the jigsaw of memory. All the good parts of travels revealed themselves again vividly.


Images are floating on the ocean of meaning; they were ever frozen in one corner. Roland Barthes said captions for images or this kind of text are like throwing an anchor into the sea, it stops the waves and tide of thought/mind/imagination, but fix the idea in one corner. What did I capture through my camera? Let the works speak for themselves. So I won’t provide any individual captions. What do you see? We shall leave the observers to decide for themselves, freely; though I hope there will be some sparks. This could be an experiment, a game, or a test

Art Works