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Artist Blackens Bread for Unique Art Installation

5/13/2008
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Sioux Falls, SD (5.9.08)

– In the coming days the air surrounding the Washington Pavilion will be filled with the pungent aroma of what has to be one of the world’s most unusual art materials: burned baguette bread. The artist, Lishan Chang of Taiwan, along with Pavilion staffers and volunteers armed with pot holders and aprons will take thousands of loaves of bread and crank up the heat on a dozen or so donated stoves to produce what the artist has dubbed "blackery" which happens to be an anagram of his artist endeavor, LC Bakery (Lishan Chang Bakery). Following that Chang will install his blackery upon the south wall of the Everist Gallery in the Pavilion. What will rise from the charred bread is known only to Chang and his vision.

Born and raised in Taiwan, artist Lishan Chang moved to New York City in 1997. His works have been shown internationally in many solo as well as group exhibitions. In 2004, Chang received a grant for outstanding artists from the National Culture and Arts Foundation of Taiwan. His work, Storage Memory, garnered unanimous praise from the judging panel and was awarded the largest-ever grant of its category. More recently, Chang has won fellowships from the Council of Cultural Affairs in Taiwan (2007), the Franconia Sculpture Park/Jerome Fellowship (2007), as well as the Freeman Fellowship (2008). He has been an artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Center (2008), Sumu/Titanik Gallery in Finland (2007), the International Studio & Curatorial Program in New York City (2007), and the Workspace Program of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2006-2007). In addition to abandoned factories, parks, and many other public locations around the United States and Taiwan, Chang’s works have been seen at venues including the Gallery Korea in New York (2007), Walsh Library Gallery in New Jersey (2007), New Art Gallery in Connecticut (2006), and the Queens Museum of Art in New York (2004).

A driving force in Chang’s works is his interest in transforming everyday experiences into art. Chance encounters are often the inspiration for the materials he uses and the concepts he develops. By using unconventional media and exploring the aesthetic potentialities in the world around him, he seeks to transcend a narrow definition of art, return to the roots of creativity, and return art to life. Once freed from the established route in this way, he is in the position to engage himself as an artist in his newly discovered medium and develop a formal language within in it that speaks to his unique artistic vision.

The medium on exhibit here began as an investigation into bread dough as an alternative sculptural material. The artist experimented with many types of bread from bakeries near his home before finding the specific baguette that resulted in the sculptural medium he was looking for. In the end, the form of the baguette was as inspiring as the material itself and the baguettes became the sculptures.

"The vision and creative process will tantalize all artistic palettes. Lishan's work is a fine example of current contemporary art. Through this exhibit the Visual Arts Center is moving into a new direction," says Director of the Visual Arts Center, David Merhib. "I am pleased with the community support for this exhibition and want to express my gratitude to all those involved."

Weather permitting the burning of the baguettes will commence Sunday in the loading dock area of the Pavilion at the corner of Dakota and 11th.

The Washington Pavilion would like to thank all those who made this exhibition possible through their generous gifts of time, resources or financial support. A special thanks to The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Kansas City, the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, The Banquet, and Breadsmith of Sioux Falls.