Sight Unseen – Forking Paths in the CHAT Collection
Over the past few years, from the planning stage to the opening of the art centre, CHAT has engaged various artists in commissions, residencies and exhibitions, and eventually many of their works were added to the CHAT collection. These works, whether figurative or abstract, literal or allegorical, all reflect the core of CHAT – its connection with textile and the textile industry. Cleverly realised and interpreted through artworks, this seemingly inconspicuous material and theme is able to be infinitely expanded with myriad possibilities, spreading like dye on a piece of fabric.
A former factory floor turned art centre, CHAT does not only collect art but also preserves the vestiges of the textile industrial past in the form of machines, equipment, technical drawings, documents and even former workers’ personal effects. The years have turned these residual objects into orphans of time and stripped them of their functions and commercial values, and yet they provide us with a glimpse into people’s problem-solving thought processes in the past. Most of these utilitarian objects were not designed with aesthetic value in mind, yet beneath the dusts of time are their core essence and material beauty – a demonstration of the collective intellectual brilliance achieved by human societies as a testament to their era.
In this exhibition, artworks from CHAT’s collection are displayed side by side with the old factory objects, with selected texts interwoven between them in the gallery space, forming linkages in abstract or concrete ways as ever-changing as the moves in a chess game, and they not only encounter and stimulate each other through metaphor and imagination, but also reference each other and become entangled in various ways.
About the Curator