Parts of A Whole

Project Medium: Acrylic, fabric, threads, wood, lighting boxe

“Parts of a whole” is a performative installation, which explores the relationship between the individual and the collective.

Suspended from the ceiling, a large white light form glows as it occupies the center of a large rectangular installation. The floor to ceiling structure is made up of four walls containing twenty-three strips of fabric. Each strip further contains a series of transparent buttons, between which lie distinct passport images of individual faces downloaded from the internet. The entire structure is held together by attaching each button to its corresponding buttonhole. Individual faces are transformed into an array of sameness; the black threads of the buttonholes run across the eyes obliterating difference and suggesting conformity.

The performance aspect of this production is meant to mirror the building of a society. The process is steady, consistent and repetitive. Each button slides through its proper slit just as each individual takes his/her proper place in society. The strips of fabric and each button clinging on to one another lends stability but the weight created also produces a drag on the entire structure.

At its completion, in its entirety, the 9 feet tall monument-like structure is large and strong, reflective of a social structure. At the same time, it is flexible and fragile. The light piercing from the core, illuminating the faces represents the energy emitting from each individual’s core and their desire to stand out.

As individuals, we all try to find a place from which we can coexist within the environment. We differentiate ourselves by education, occupation and interests. Yet, what is the real difference between us? How can we link ourselves to the collective and still find the light from which we can shine?

Project Medium: Hand-made box, lighting device, vellum, paper

Parts of a Whole, artist book

This is a book version of the exhibition “Parts of a Whole”. A singular white box contains two separate books. The outer book holds within it, a insert which resembles the life size installation, the fabric strips, the buttons, with the portraits between them, on a significantly smaller scale relative to the original installation.

The inner book documents the installation itself, consisting of photographs of the performance aspect of the project along with the artist statement. The inner book fits nicely within the window of the outer book just as each button fits perfectly through its designated buttonhole.
Hsiang-Lu Meng
Artist Email: hsianglumeng@gmail.com

Hsiang-Lu Meng is a visual artist interested in the metaphors of familiar objects. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Meng received a BA in Drama and Theater from National Taiwan University in 2006 and a MFA in Imaging Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology, NY in 2014. Cultivated and influenced by the early study in chemical engineering and theater design, Meng has broad interests in materials and crafts. Meng works in diverse medium and format, including installation, photography, sculpture, video and performance.

Meng’s work explores the relationship between the individual and the collective, which is inspired by her Asian culture and the experience of living in different places. Suppression and encouragement of pursuing art she has experienced in Taiwan, U.S. and Europe further inspires her delving into the societal norms and rules that comply people’s understanding and behavior. Through labor-intensive process, repetitive elements and everyday objects, Meng embodies her observation of difference and similarity between people from diverse cultures and regions.