The V-10 group, which was established in 1971, was made up of a number of media professionals influenced by modern trends in art and literature who wanted to break away from the stultifying cultural environment that existed in Taiwan under martial law. Although they virtually disbanded in 1986, many have continued to work in various photography-related fields.
The exhibition V-10 Revisited: 30 years of Group Visual-10, which has just opened at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, brings the group back together and displays a collection of their works.
What makes the exhibition interesting is the common aims of modernity that the group espoused from its inception. Under martial law, the government tolerated little other than news and salon photography. Photography as social record was definitely not mainstream and was often associated with the alternative avenues of artistic expression such as poetry societies, which sought to steer clear of political involvement.
This conscious distancing of artist and social context that it sought to record is evident in many of the works. This is replaced by a kind of photographic expressionism. Deep Down Inside, a photo from 1980 by Chou Tung-kuo (
Song of Love by Liu Chen-hsiang (
Images by the other photographers of the V-10 group show a penchant for experimentation which has produced some interesting images, but with the emphasis almost exclusively on style over content, it leaves the viewer feeling slightly empty inside.
Having said that, in bringing together this group of photographers -- many of whom have gone on to be major influences in Taiwan's graphic arts scene -- Chang Chao-tao (張照堂) is often regarded as the doyen of Taiwan photography and his Contemplating the Landscape Series VII is one of the most arresting in the show, V-10 Revisited is a historically important show and a must-see for anyone interested in the development of photography in Taiwan.