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Student Showcase Archive

Aki Pao-Chen Chiu

MPhil work

MPhil work

  • Play
  • Pull/Push CPH

    Pull/Push CPH, 2017
    Moving image

An Investigation into Poetic Absences

I have been developing the idea of ‘absence’, something that repetitively appears in different forms in my work, whether it is the absence of human beings, everyday objects or the absence of distance within a space. I am discovering how we experience absence in everyday life and how it shapes our memories with others, present moments and expectations to the future. 

By erasing the outlines or appearances of the expected present things and people in my works, I attempt to depict the sense of loss. With the intention, something is erased emphasises its absence contrarily strongly and presents itself even more vividly in the viewer’s minds. The void under the surface, the living spaces without human appearances and the content without the container; the ghostly objects; the quietness and the aggressiveness in my works. Each absence accentuates its presence and generates the viewers’ immediate reactions of filling the void, just like the way we experience and understand the loss of someone with the different portion of memory and imagination.

My work explores this process — losing, sensing and recreating —  through the study of absence, illustrating this intimate relationship between the deceased/absence — the relics/presence — the bereaved/the one who interweaves absence and presence. Rather than gazing at death as the finale life event of an individual, I am focusing on how we interpret others’ death, which fundamentally it is never about the death of someone else but all about the people around the deceased, about us: how we feel and how we create or even design the memory of such events. In this sense, we are a part of death.

MA work

MA work

  • A Glass of Wine

    A Glass of Wine, Aki PaoChen Chiu 2017
    Moving image
    00'40" | Photographer: Aki PaoChen Chiu

  • Play

A Glass of Water

Partly inspired by Heidegger’s The Thing, my serial work A Glass of Water intends to discover the synthetic phenomenon between human beings and objects. The moving image works are composed of more than 10 thousand photographs with the outlines of the glasses erased in every single frame, showing the movements of different liquids inside various invisible glasses. The flow of liquids and the reflecting shadows on the tables are emphasised in the scene while the glasses and a person are absent.

My practice has developed around my interests in investigating how modern societies, which consist of diverse powers (governments, cultures, religions, educations, etc), construct and enhance personal identities and ideologies through our habitual interactions with daily utilitarian artefacts.

In our everyday lives, habitually-embedded rules direct our decisions and actions without our awareness. We fulfil the expectations of the social systems, in order to demonstrate the value as a person. The proper ways of using certain utilitarian objects such as utensils manifest a person’s education level, family background or social status, incarnating the obedience to civilisation and to others. Artefacts are human productions, they serve as the substitutes for certain human actions, and then they instruct us how to use them to achieve certain purposes. Such interaction between human and the artefact has become fascinating to me as it is the way we perceive the world.

As Antony Hudek puts it in The Object, “Artists have much to teach us in tracking the object’s detours. […] This role is far from one of mastered or ‘subjectivity’; rather it hints at a capacity to inhibit the object world, to engage with and translate it for the benefit of other objects and subjects alike.” 

My practice has guided me to understand our beings by looking into the connections between the inner-self and the external worlds, revealing different viewpoints toward the environments we engage in.  



  • MPhil


    School of Arts & Humanities


    Arts & Humanities Research, 2017–

  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA Sculpture, 2017

  • Aki Pao-Chen Chiu’s practice has developed around interests in investigating the relationships between human and environments, presenting her works in photography, moving image, document and installation. By focusing on the habitual interactions between human and daily utilitarian artefacts (tangible objects), which manifest the process of intangible objects (cultures, belief systems, classes, politics, education) embody our behaviour, thoughts, and values, Chiu’s work discovers how the social systems, ideologies, habits and artefacts construct and determine human identities in order to provide ways of knowing/understanding ourselves from the aspect of either an individual or a part of the society.

    Aki Pao-Chen Chiu’s practice has developed around interests in investigating the relationships between humans and their environments. Her work encompasses photography, moving-image and installation. Chiu was born in Taiwan, 1987. She is currently pursuing a MPhil/PhD in Fine Art at the Royal College of Art, London. Chiu completed an MA Sculpture at the Royal College of Art in 2017 and a BFA at the National Taiwan University of Fine Arts in 2009. Her series of installation works have been selected in the Newly Emerging Artists in Taiwan 3D Creation Series. She has also participated in public art projects such as Play on Street by JFAA in 2010. Chiu is among artists selected for Becoming, a group exhibition at RCA’s Dyson Gallery presented by Sedition and Subject Matter in 2017. She is also shortlisted for ARTAGON.III with her serial moving-image work A Glass of Water presented in RCA degree show 2017.

  • Degrees

  • MA Sculpture, Royal College of Art, 2017; BA Fine Arts, National Taiwan University of Arts, 2009
  • Experience

  • Residency, FABRIKKEN, Copenhagen, 2017
  • Exhibitions

  • “CICA Experimental Film and Video 2018”, CICA Museum, Gimpo, South Korea, 2018; “FLIGHT MODE”, Assembly Point Gallery, London, UK, 2018; “Open Exhibition”, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2018; “Show 2017”, Royal College of Art, London, UK, 2017; “Dimensions of Time”, Crypt Gallery, London, 2017; “Becoming”, Dyson Gallery, London, 2017; “Fine Art WIP Show”, Royal College of Art, London, 2016; “Play on Street 2010 by JFAA”, Taipei, 2010; “Luohong”, Huashan 1914 Creative Park, Taipei, 2009; “Exhibition of the Newly Emerging Artists in Taiwan 3D Creation Series”, Taichung City Seaport Art Center, Taichung, 2008
  • Awards

  • Shortlisted, ARTAGON.III; Excellent Work in Mixed Media, Department of Fine Arts NTUA Teacher-Student Art Exhibition, 2009; Shortlisted, Newly Emerging Artists in Taiwan 3D Creation Series, 2008