Fig.1 //Hsinchu, Taiwan (2013)
Andy Kuo (Chien Ting Guo) is an artist who states that his experience of living in London has influenced the way that he considers objects and their relationship to each other, spaces and people in the city.The pace of life in London is so fast and so different from place to place. This variety and beauty of the city Kuo feels is waiting to be revealed which is the inspiration for his artistic vision. Apart from the street and the vibrant reality of life in London, the availability of being close to amazing and classic art exhibitions of both painting or photography helps to develop and clarify the direction Kuo wants to move towards in his artistic creation.
This is evident in his work Hualien, Taiwan (2013) which is a piece the artist states captures the desire for fresh air after/during a long train journey in an old school train coach that has no air conditioning. The piece captures the confinement of the train carriage alongside the impending dark space of the tunnel ahead. This confinement is contrasted with the available wide open space of the sky and textured landscape which stretch out horizontally promising more, this both highlights and perfectly captures the simplicity of the artist’s statement. The simple longing for a breath of fresh air whilst also capturing the artists wish to document and encapsulate his feelings and experiences.
Fig.2 // Hualien, Taiwan (2013).
Andy Kuo has a marked interest in the relationship between social space and the individual which is the photographer. This theme is considered in many of his works which highlight and exaggerate landscapes often without individuals and juxtapose this with the presence of the individual photographer who captures them. Each shows a landscape silent and at peace without the movements of human inhabitants and yet each photograph is at the same time colorfully marked by their presence in a variety of ways.
In the work Chiayi, Taiwan (2010) bamboo floats atop the water and significant to the work seems to be their lightness which allows their clean horizontal lines to mirror that of the horizon. The bamboo platforms float without resistance or any strain put on them by humans, creating weaves and textures against the almost unmoving river. The bamboo shoots are aquaculture facilities for oysters. The artist was attracted to them for their colour, position and material but also their usability. The flat clean lines of the warm bamboo are contrasted with the horizon of trees and buildings thus allowing Kuo to capture a photograph that appears to be unmarked by human presence and yet at the same time, is completely dominated by it. The photography thus offers up a moment which is still in it’s silence and simplicity, a moment of respite and pause which offers no resistance. The captured moment once again, as it does in many of Kuo’s work juxtaposes the simplicity and seeming clarity of the lack of human presence against obvious the photographer’s presence.
Fig. 3 // Chiayi, Taiwan (2010)
This contrast which exists within Kuo’s work between the lack of human presence and yet his works are ever marked by both their absence and signs of their existence continues to be evident in the work Hualien, Taiwan (2011). The work captures, both literally and figuratively a swirl of the fish caught under a net. The artist states he was initially drawn to capture the moment as it encapsulated perfectly for him a balance between freedom and limitation. The unpredictability of nature under or alongside the practical rational of the net. The distinct swirl of the fish opposing and yet naturally balanced against the straight clean lines of the net, the fish however supposedly unaware of this imposed limitation on their existence continue to swim, highlighted perfectly against the green of the water. The balance between the sunlight, the fish and the net on the summer’s day is once again a stolen moment of Kuo’s. A moment which is both a perfect fusion of simplicity and depth, one which cannot be recreated due to its spontaneity, pleasing candor, innocence and ease.
Fig. 4 // Hualien, Taiwan (2011)
Kuo states that the very first reason he was drawn to photography as a medium was that he had always been the photographer for his family when they travelled. It was whilst Kuo was studying for his undergraduate degree in Taiwan that he joined a photography club and developed an interest in analog photography. After attending a speech given by a young photographer in Taiwan, Kuo began to explore more and more photography exhibitions and books which continued to inspire his love for photography. Each photograph Kuo believes can talk and expresses something, loudly but gently which is a statement that resounds subtly within his work.
Kuo is inspired by a range of artists, including Taiwanese photographs such as Chao-Liang Shen, Po-I Chen, Chien Chi Chang and Chao-Tang Chang. Their work for Kuo reveals a special viewpoint between the social space and the photographer. This is a viewpoint which can be seen within Kuo’s work in the contrast silently highlighted between the unpopulated scenes he captures and the photographer’s presence. The social space appears deserted and yet that statement is confounded by the presence of the photographer. The moments Kuo captures are eerily and calmingly still, beautifully considered and yet spontaneously captured.
Marking Andy Kuo’s work is a tranquility, a collection of stolen moments of silence in a fast paced society and world. This rare moment of respite which remains largely unconsidered or remembered by the individual is once again captured in the work Hualien, Taiwan (2013). The photograph captures the busiest part of the city from a contrasting perspective. Captured at night the work acts as evidence of the cities own tranquility whilst also existing alongside the knowledge of how busy this scene will become in only a matter of hours. The moment stands alone, documentation that it did happen in striking black and white, the numbers 2:51 stand on the roof of the building as a testament to the lateness of the hour and the proximity of the morning. The silence of the image is disrupted by one lone man standing outside a shop who appears to signal the presence of thousands more bodies to come in the morning, bringing a chaos to the silent space.
Fig 5. // Hualien, Taiwan (2013)
As a student at Goldsmiths, Kuo has found that his passion for art has been nurtured and inspired at the university. The artist states the people he has encountered at Goldsmiths have helped him to broaden his vision and knowledge of art, whilst auditing a variety of courses in the University has also helped Kuo develop the attitude to think more broadly and in depth when facing a simple scene in the city or landscape.
Kuo, as a self learner and part time art worker hopes to sort his current work and develop them into further into a meaningful collection or project. Kuo hopes to go on to pursue a career in the arts due to his dedicated interest in art and the enjoyment he gets from it.
written by Imogen Peroni
Andy Kuo (Chien Ting Guo) is an artist and student at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He has a BA in Information Management and has completed his first year of Msc Management of Innovation.
(All images featured in this article are the intellectual property of Andy Kuo)