Paul Emmaunel and Dr. Richard Maggs are chewing paint again, this time at ffotogallery in Penarth, along with Taiwan artist Chang Chien-chi and his photos of Taiwanese mental asylum inmates in chains. The exhibition is opening today.
Physically linked by a small chain around their waists, day in day out, only unlocked for sleeping, the more stable of the two is supposed to assist the less lucid in their daily chores. Usually they are matched to each other by what is deemed to be complementary, eg. the violent with the mild-mannered, the shy with the outspoken. Often, the old timer has the upper hand over the newcomer, although sometimes the sicker one dominates. With their ties to society severed, but bound by the ‘chain of compassion’ to one another, the interactions between the paired outcasts can only be fraught. As Chien-Chi Chang comments: “The most pathetic part is that once the two are chained together, they are forever incapable of fighting against it. Their only alternative is to become submissive, to give in, or they will never walk out of that place.”