Taiwanese, b. Taiwan 1961In his work, Chien-Chi Chang makes manifest the abstract concepts of alienation and connection. “The Chain,” a collection of portraits made in a mental asylum in Taiwan, caused a sensation when it was shown at La Biennale di Venezia (2001) and the Bienal de Sao Paolo (2002). The shocking, nearly life-sized photographs of pairs of patients literally chained together resonate with Chang’s jaundiced look at the less visible bonds of marriage. He has treated marital ties in two books—I do I do I do (2001), a collection of images depicting alienated grooms and brides in Taiwan, and in Double Happiness (2005), a brutal depiction of the business of selling brides in Vietnam. The ties of family and of culture are also the themes of an ambitious project begun in 1992. For 17 years, Chang has photographed the bifurcated lives of Chinese immigrants in New York’s Chinatown, along with those of their wives and families back home in Fujian. A work in progress, “China Town” was hung at the National Museum of Singapore in 2008 as part of a mid-career survey, “Doubleness.” Chang’s investigation of the ties that bind one person to another draws on his own deeply divided immigrant experience. Born in Taiwan in 1961, Chang studied at Soochow University (B.A. 1984) and at Indiana University (M.S. 1990).
Chang joined Magnum in 1995 and now lives in Taipei and in New York City.
All images © CHIEN-CHI CHANG