the letters



Yu Cheng-Ta creates video and moving image that examines the imagined relationship between a subject and an other. His works involve realistic situations which are acted out in live performance to communicate his notion of ‘living theatre’. Play, sarcasm and humour are employed through the improvisation and acting of a script, producing accidents and mistakes that work to challenge our perception. By focusing on the verbal and body language of the performers and interviewees, Yu investigates differences between culture, language and identity.


“All of the emails for this work were selected from my email spam folder. I then invited participants that matched the physical description (such as ethnicity and gender) of those letter senders to read the letters aloud sitting at a desk in front of a green backdrop with an image of the Earth. Reading aloud transforms the letters into oral accounts, and simulates a mutually imagined scam with the reading participants playing the roles of the imaginary letter writers, such as a dying Kuwaiti widow, one of Libyan prime minister’s sons who is in need of help, an Asian woman affecting a British accent, an Irish salesman under an assumed name, and an African international banker inviting the reader to join an international financial crime. From these letters, viewers are inspired to imagine the other parts of the world and think further about the connections among people’s appearances, linguistic accents and political reality.” – Yu Cheng-Ta


Yu Cheng-Ta (b.1983, Tainan, Taiwan) holds a BA and an MFA from the Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan. In 2008, he received the 1st place of Taipei Arts Award (TFAM, Taipei) and was awarded the Beacon Prize at Art Fair Tokyo in 2012. Yu has participated in international exhibitions including: the 6th Taipei Biennial (2008); the 53rd Venice Biennale Taiwan Pavilion (2009); Biennial Cuvée 08, Linz (2009); the 5th International Biennial of Media Art, Melbourne (2012); Asian Art Biennial, Taichung (2013); Queens International, New York (2013); the 10th Shanghai Biennale (2014) and Berlin International Film Festival (2015). He currently works and lives in Taipei, Taiwan.
Yu Cheng-Ta is represented by Chi-Wen Gallery, Taiwan