Audio guides, documents, fabrics,
counterfeit money, knife and trolley.
“___’s Autobiography” is the first piece of Chang Wen Hsuan’s serial project “The Compendium of Autobiographies”. With the other two pieces “___’s Diary” and “The Compendium of Autobiographies”, Chang manipulates diverse narratives to reflect on the life story of a controversial female figure in the history of Taiwan, Siā Soat-hông. Born in 1901 in Taiwan and died in 1970 in China, she was one of the founding members of the Taiwanese Communist Party (1928-1931) under Japanese colonial rule. From Taiwan to Japan, Soviet Union and China—with the tracks she left, each decision she made in her lifetime also implied the power tension within class struggle, women’s liberation and decolonization movement. In view of the current political situation between Taiwan and China, her biography becomes the battlefield of historical narratives even today. And Siā Soat-hông’s sex and gender thus play an important role for those narrators determined to interpret her either as heroin or betrayor.
Intrigued by the historical fact embedded in the relationship of autobiography and biography, Chang builds up an exhibition space inside an exhibition in order to signify the power structure of (re)reading and (re)writing. Taking reference from the autobiography of Siā Soat-hông but can hardly be regarded as replica, those objects in display are categorized into two sections, the section piled on a trolley refers to the life of Siā Soat-hông before 1925 and another after 1925. Each showpiece serves as physical evidence of key term --Name, Commodity, Suicide and Betrayal—in her life. The labyrinth of the narrative starts to conduct only when the audience picks up the audio guide. The juxtaposition of two ways of narrating in sections before and after 1925-- first person perspective versus third person perspective; Taiwanese versus English; self-confessionalized versus institutionalized—reveals the power relation of inner and outer conflicts among the writing of history. The deployment thus serves not only as the autobiography of a specific person, but as the epitome of all autobiographies.