WU Po-Han


Intervening Variables

The impacts of external events and situations depend crucially on our core values which help justify and make sense of these occurrences that take place inside and around us. Facing these impacts directly or adopting a stance of indifference are two attitudes that we may consciously or unconsciously adopt as a survival mechanism. These impacts, meanings and emotions have been something that I have observed both personally and in people around me, and have influenced my creative ideas. My use of the combination of partial abstraction and surrealism reflects the different levels of consciousness that events impact. The creation process for this series upended my usual stages of creating a photograph, in which the subject determines the subject matter. In contrast, the present work is a type of collage, where visual elements are sought for only after the concept is prepared. After the creation process, the photographed objects' everyday meaning is disintegrated and new meanings are created. This transformation process involves visualizing an idea that's intuitively evocative, making the creation process emotional and personal.

It is especially at highly fraught, impactful moments which challenge our core values that human autonomy is threatened with reduction to simply that of an intervening variable, frail, sensitive and short-lived, which often makes the mental states manifested during such times intense and long lived. "Intervening Variables" is a series that uses these "mental environments" as a vehicle to examine individuals' role as intervening variables and their transitory, temporary or permanent reactions to this environment. Here the subjects’ mental environment is visualized as a tangible place, and then the individuals, which represent human core values, are placed in the picture to express their interactions within it. In this project, people are observed in macro perspective, often not distinguished from each other, and as a result, represented by the same silhouette in most cases. The series comes from the creator's everyday observations and understandings of human nature, and it also serves as a homage to those subject individuals whose actions might have somewhat resembled that of a Greek hero. The artwork itself is an imprint or a record of such observation and explanation of human nature; however any attempt to explain human nature are inevitably incomplete, as the concept of "human nature" itself is in a sense, egoistic, which makes the attempt to explain it paradoxically fall into the trap of our own ego.

Universal emotions, moods, states of mind, and ways to explore them have long been my most important sources of creative inspirations. The theme "Critical Point" presented an entirely new perspective on observing and understanding human emotions, helping to condense elusive and ill-defined intuitions into a coherent set of artistic ideas. The result was the series "Intervening Variables", which is a continuation of a 2014 work, "The Time Has Come to Lose a Son" that is included in this exhibition. In addition to searching for inspirations from within and from people around me, I also try to find them in others’ artistic creations, and in collective memory and as well as collective consciousness in hopes of creating for the spectators cathartic and psychologically resonant experiences.

WU Po–Han   CV




2015  Conceptual Photography, OCAD University

2014  Live Photography, Art Gallery of Ontario



Solo Exhibition

2015 Music as Muse, Schloss Laudon, Vienna, Austria


Group Exhibition (Selected)

2015  Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, OCAD Gallery, Toronto, Canada

2015  International Salon Singidunum Award Exhibition, Belgrade, Serbia

2015  Black Box Gallery, Portland, USA

2014  Art Taipei, Taipei

2014  Art Kaohsiung, Kaohsiung

2014  Nuit Blanche Toronto, Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts, Toronto, Canada

2014  1650 Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

2014  Art Taipei, Taipei

2013  Mob Club Theatre, Toronto, Canada



2015  Green Light, Gold UPI Medal, International Salon Singidunum

2014  As the Rez Turns, Award of Excellence, Abstract Photography, Exhibition Without Walls

2014  Portfolio from "A Lucid Dream", Merit Award, Portfolio Contest, Black & White Magazine

2014  Short List, The Toronto Star Photography Award



2014  Until Kingdom Come, Art Bank/National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts


Critical Point