“Swimming Pool and Plastic World” by Maria Svarbova  & “Phantom of Society” by  Zeno Chen

1 – 10 November 2019

About the Artist: Maria Svarbova

Born in 1988, Slovakia artist Maria Svarbova is known for featuring vivid colors and fantastic styles in her photography. She has started a photography career and specialized in interesting images containing golden ratio and horizontal symmetrical composition since 2010. The genre of her series usually presents strong personal characteristics and experimental features, notably on the level of space, color, and atmosphere.

As a young photographer going rival in recent years, she has won Hasselblad Master in 2018, 30 under 30s Forbes in 2017, and the 1st place of IPA in 2016. She also draws numerous media attention and was reported by Leica, La Republica, Harper, BAZAAR, VOGUE. Besides, she has been collaborating with numerous famous brands
internationally such as Apple, Instagram, The Guardian, etc. for a long time.


Launched since 2014, “Swimming Pool” is a typical long-term photography project. Maria found the outdated pools leftover in the Socialism period for the start of the series. It is said the time of the pool is moving forward, but the feeling of the space still stays in the past. The decoration and utensils inside the pool still retain the look of the early period. They combine the smooth tile surface to create a certain tension in the silent space. Through the images, viewers can see a wide range of bans and instructions stating “no diving”, “forbidden diet”. Originally, swimming should be a healthy and energetic activity, but the behaviors and the emotions of people are regulated and limited.
On the other hand, the series “Plastic World” was inspired by several memories in childhood and happened events in the Socialism period. People do various activities in functional buildings. Apart from regulated activities, routine and ordinary life is recreation-leisure for people. Audiences might feel something unusual in the images.
The figures with a lack of emotions, plastic appearance, and robotic gesture not only allow the viewers to get rid of the reality but also experience the sense of non-freedom and overwhelming loneliness in the group.

About the Artist: Zeno Chen

Born in 1962, Taiwanese artist Zeno Chen used to be a modern poet in the early days of his artistic career. After winning the Literature Award in Taiwan, he starts to concentrate on the sectors of image creation. The genre of his works is mainly inspired by daily objects and pictures. Through the combination of the materials in life, he creates an iconic style of his own: an emotional, poetic, and abstract concept.

In recent years, he focuses on and numerously creating the images on the technological device. Because he regards, there is no limitation to make the creation on the daily tech-carriers such as phone, camera, or any other packable tools at anytime, anywhere.


Introduction: Phantom of Society

According to philosopher Sartre (1944), he said  (Hell, is other people), predicting the phenomenon of flourishing and diffusion in the media information nowadays. For photojournalism, sociologist Sontag (2003) criticized severely the cruelty and selfishness of it. Following with this such wave of concept, I attempt to combine the contemporary ideas and happened issue into my images by presenting on the technological phone.

The contemporary media with rapid information transmitting is becoming more specializing in fabricating the sensitive, controversial and ruthless news images. This causes the victims and assailants in the events are objectified, labeled broadly as the goods of consuming images. Inspired by this predicament, I remade the photos from news to create a series of ironic portraits, which may let those reports return to their original purpose: to deliver the unmodified information and remind the nature of human beings. By delivering the creative language of these remade portraits, I believe it can allow the audiences to deeply think about the original purpose of social media, the meanings behind the scene, and the possible hidden reason affecting the developing way of the events, rather than ignoring the things happening around.

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