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Kaohsiung CityGovernment



    Barber Shop:Serving Others Makes us Happier People Print
    • Publishing Date:2024-05-17~2024-06-23
    • Update Time:2024-05-16 15:57
    • Clickthrough Rate:30
    • Publishing Unit:高雄市立美術館

    Barber Shop

    Tien Fu Touristic Barbershop: Service Brings Happiness
    “So-called professionals, I think, only make sense by delivering the right emotions and skills.”  –-Jia-Jhen SYU
    In 2019, I made acquaintance with Chen Hong-Jieh, a barber from Kangshan, Kaohsiung.  Her shop was located in a narrow marketplace, crowded with coming and going customers who mostly were regulars.  The men were attached to her services.
    Chen finished the apprenticeship at the age of seventeen.  She left Kaohsiung for job hunting in Taipei where she later on met people of the same occupation and became business partners the next year.  Tien Fu Touristic Barbershop, named after her father, was established with target customers of men and focused on facial-doing and hairdressing.  According to Chen, it was during the martial law period when oversea tourism was banned and exotic longing prevailed.  Foreigners were common visitors to her shop.  Those days, one-stop services dominated the tourism industry in Taiwan.  In other words, a single company took charge of traveling guidance and itinerary from arrival to departure, namely the package tour.  Tourists simply made a choice of the preferred agency and flew to Taiwan with no trouble.  Based on such industrial mechanisms, good relationships with the tour guides from travel agencies played stepping stones for barbershops to have busful of customers. Hence, barbers started their men-face-reading through devotional services.
    Here is the reading of one man.  In 1987, the same year of the lifting of martial law, my father quitted the army and set out exploring life in society.  He built up his reputation in the service industry.  Soon after, he was a self-made entrepreneur.  Like all the men Chen read in her barbershop, my father had a constantly firm face looking.  Cheers for the future shined through his eyes.  Nevertheless, the unsparing wheel of time turned along with the pulses of the world.  Rapid changes altered the outside surroundings while some people remained changeless inside.  The fallen men in the fading of prosperous times kept their old habits. For instance, episodes of barbering stood for the frozen moments of immersion in early morality and discipline for them.
    Before my father took his last breath, I had obtained the techniques of face trimming with a razor and ear scooping with a pick.  I injected emotions for my father into the skills. To extend my artistic project, I invited Chen Hong-Jieh back to Kaohsiung for collaboration.  Since what I learn bit by bit from my family and society generates my practice of art, the first thing is observation of a customer's skull; then cutting down a certain amount of hair by crossing the comb and scissors;  the finish being precise removal of fine hair on the face with a sharp razor.  In parallel with the blade in my hands, my words infused with the right emotions and skills are delivered at the right time.
    ‧ Interactive performance: Friday 10 May, Saturday 25 May