In Invisibility, Ting-Ting Cheng’s photographs of found objects celebrate the banality of everyday life. She collected a number of insignificant objects that were discarded on the streets and placed them on sculpture plinths.
Cheng is working in a long artistic tradition that stretches back to Surrealism. She is more directly inspired by contemporary artists such as Martin Creed and Fischli and Weiss, whose absurdist treatment of the everyday raises fundamental questions as to the nature and materiality of art.
These photographs are engaging and humorous. At the same time they raise environmental issues concerning the huge amounts of waste generated by our society much of which appears to be invisible to consumers. The clinical whiteness of the photographs encourages the viewer to inspect the image closely and to scrutinise the subject-matter in a new way hopefully rendering the invisible visible.
Continuing her interest in abandoned objects in Invisibility; in Objects 1-4, Cheng painted the found objects on the street to project the loss and death of the once-functional and once-owned objects.
Cheng found everyday life objects discarded on the street, and painted them into a particular chosen colour which matches the painted background. For the artist, these orphaned objects represent ‘ghosts of the past’, that they were once owned, and probably loved and used, and for various reasons, they have failed their purpose and function with the owner, and were ‘abandoned’ on the street. The objects themselves have carried the story and the memory of the previous owners. By painting them over, Cheng erase the memory, and taken over the failed functionality, that the objects became ‘hollow’ and ‘fake’, like ‘statues’, ‘non-functional objects’, for merely display, without meaning attached.
Cheng used the colour cannot be found in the standard spectrum to paint the objects and their background, which signifies the ambiguous situation of them between past and present, life and death, creating uncanny scenes showing familiarity and unfamiliarity and the same time. The object itself can be seen in our everyday life, but appearing in an uncanny, unreal tone of colours that cannot even be named. As Freud said, uncanny is disturbing, because it represented the unveiling of something that needed to be repressed. The images project the repressed failure and the loss of memory and function, which also can be seen as an epitome of our everyday society.
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Textos: Ting Ting Cheng