Chen Jhen

Amsterdam Lunch

The Instruction of Being The Other

Edition: 2019
Release date: March 2019
Language: English / Chinese
Picture editor: Chen Jhen
Photographer: Chen Jhen
Artist: Chen Jhen
Publisher / commissioner: Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht
Available through:
Designer: Chen Jhen (Maastricht)
Lithographer: Chen Jhen / Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht
Printer: Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht
Binder: Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht
DTP / typesetting: Chen Jhen, Maastricht
Dimensions: 120 x 190 x 8
Amount of pages: 188
Number of copies: 100
Retail price in euros: € 38
ISBN: 9789072076984
Font and foundry: Lyon (Commercial Type), Ceremony (Optimo), Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk (Berthold Type Foundry)
Binding style: Unsewn soft cover, cold glue
Paper interior: 60gsm IBO One, Igepa
Cover material: 200gsm Fuego Matt, Papyrus
Concept book and design: This book is the documentation of a series’ actions. I am very interested in how memory de-forms the state of reality. The project started when I worked at a studio in Amsterdam in early 2017, I felt like an outsider of European culture as I often couldn’t identify the food on the table during lunchtime. Due to my desperate desire to become part of the group I’d imitated what the other people would do. I secretly memorized and took notes on the actions of the colleagues sitting in front of me, including how many fingers to use to pick up one slice of bread, how to spread sauce on the surface of bread, etc. A few months later I discussed the project with Chang Che Shen, a performer who had also emigrated from Taiwan and worked in the Netherlands, and we discussed how to represent the scenes. We shaped the notes into a performance script. In the process, many details that cannot be recalled must instead be substituted with fantasy. Later, I invited Che Shen to perform this script; I watched it and gave immediate guidance and correction. Here, my memory merged with the performer’s interpretation, and it evolved through different forms of translation during the process. The former “facts” of the lunch scene, after many adaptations and qualitative changes, turned into a fiction story.