Assignment 3: Research – Ed Pien (Part 1)

Reveal & Conceal – Researching the work of textile artists.

The brief is to research the work of textile artists and designers who investigate and use light or transparent and translucent materials to create and evoke particular qualities in their work.  We were given a range of artists to possibly consider and I researched the work of each of them, being especially impressed with Machiko Agano and a couple of the others listed.  However, I have one or two of my own favourites and today I’m concentrating on the stunning installations of …..

Ed Pien

Born in 1958 in Taipei, Taiwan, Ed Pien immigrated to Canada with his family at the age of eleven.  He has both a Master of Fine Arts degree and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and has exhibited nationally and internationally for many years, in many prestigious locations.  His website biography tells us that he currently teaches part-time at the University of Toronto and, obviously, still produces wonderful large installations

I first came across his work at the 2012 Sydney Biennale on Cockatoo Island where he exhibited Source.

Source AAbove photo from the front of the exhibit.

Source D Above photo shows a further section of the installation from the rear.

His artist statement read (in part) My installation alludes to water in its various states……The physical aspect of Source is a labyrinth of interconnected chambers with walls made of translucent paper.  Within this immersive environment, a unique play of material, colour spaces, shadows and illusions is offered.  His website continues in some depth regarding his exploration and focus for this piece.

Source BThe public were encouraged to enter the exhibit, to wander between the chambers, to watch the light-play, listen to the haunting sound element and discover what was within.  Above you can see small holes in the section to the right with darker, slightly blue areas behind.  We placed our eyes against these openings. Have a look yourself ………

Source CFully constructed winding tunnels, lit from behind giving them a stunning luminosity, and each one different.Source CC  It was extremely impressive.

Moving from this part of the exhibit to the back section was a lesson to me in how two quite different effects can work together to unify a piece so well.  The front part, shown above, was mainly opaque white Tyvek with cutouts creating the light and shadow effects.  The rear section was something altogether different.

Source EHere you can clearly see the translucent layers interacting together.  They also have many, many cutouts and with the cleverly placed lighting system this is creating the shimmer and reflections on the outer chamber wall.  I believe these inner parts are hand cut clear mylar film.Source GThis photo is a much more close up view of the lace like structure of the inner sections and you can see the sea creature sculptures within.

Source FHere is an excellent view of the patterning created on the outer chamber wall by the light reflecting through the central portion.  The sea creatures are projected wonderfully onto this moving somewhat ‘crazy-paved’ effect.  The human form floated and drifted across the backdrop produced by a video projection.

This was a large installation, very complex in its imagery and cleverly constructed in multilayers to keep the viewer interested whilst wandering through each section.  The haunting sound, produced by a recording by Tanya Tagaq, only added to the mystique and once inside the chambers everything else receded into nothing as one became absorbed by the water world surroundings.

I found this exhibit striking, inspiring and quite remarkable.

A review of some other installations by Ed Pien will be covered in my next post.


Some text and photographs used with kind permission from the artist.  All other photos by myself.


About Claire B

I'm a passionate printmaker, paper-maker and a poor sketcher (which I'm working to improve). I've stitched from early childhood and am a perpetual student, loving learning and participating in everything creative.
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One Response to Assignment 3: Research – Ed Pien (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: Assignment 5 – Stage 3: Inspirational Material | TactualTextiles

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