Sun, Aug 08, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Kinmen bunker museum ready for an art blast

In the place of artillery, 18 artists from Taiwan and China will install art in bunkers on the heavily fortified island

By susan kendzulak  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Some wistful bunker atmosphere is evoked in Tsai Ming-liang's piece.

PHOTO: SUSAN KENDZULAK

Taiwan's Kinmen Island, located within short swimming distance to Fujian Province, China, and under military rule until 1992, will become the site for a provocative contemporary international art exhibition opening in September. Yet, the innovative proposals for this exhibition are currently on view at the National Museum of History until Aug. 22 and as these exhibited works are basically framed drawings and writings, the finished installations and live performances in the Kinmen bunkers will be quite a different experience indeed -- so book your plane ticket now.

Curated by internationally renowned artist Cai Guo-Qiang (蔡國強), the Bunker Museum of Contemporary Art opens Sept. 11 to Jan. 10, 2005, in Kinmen. The 18 solo art exhibitions will be installed at the Nanshan Fortification, Tashan Battery, Guningtou Cihu Great Bunker, and the Changliao Rezoning District.

In addition to visual artists from Taiwan and China exhibiting in the bunkers, musicians, composers, architects, filmmakers, theorists and performers, etc. will help transform Kinmen from a relic of war and unresolved ideologies into a utopia of unlimited cultural activities.

Kinmen's most famous battle took place in 1958, but its bunkers and military equipment remained. For this show, planners seek to preserve one third of the military facilities as a historical reminder, and to use one third as concert halls and exhibition space, with the remaining third for invited artists to create site-specific works.

One of the most promising proposals and most hilarious is by the conceptual duo Da Lun Wei Art Squad (大崙尾藝術工作隊) composed of He Shi (何時) and Yan San (燕三). These two young Taiwanese artists (using pseudonyms) created a wall graph showing Chinese hijackers to Taiwan on the left side and the right contains documentation of Taiwanese hijackers to China. Both groups of defectors, even though ideologically opposed, were hailed as heroes in their new homelands and given great status and money. Using newspaper documentation to show the complete absurdity of politics and man-made constructs, the artists evoke the spirit of the Kinmen exhibition.

One of Taiwan's top film directors, Tsai Ming-Liang displayed a cinematic tableau that contained a wall text, a glossy erotic photograph and a pink sequined high heel to highlight his drama that will be performed live during the opening weekend.

Since this preview exhibition is only a display of proposals, there are many explanatory wall texts in Chinese making it a bit incomprehensible for the non-Chinese reader. However, the real on-site exhibition in Kinmen will transcend the written word as it encompasses the visual, the aural, the historical and the sensory.

Exhibition note:

What: Preview: Bunker Museum of Contemporary Art -- 18 Solo Exhibitions

When: through Aug. 22, 2004

Where: The National Museum of History, 49 Nanhai Rd, Taipei (台北市南海路49號)

What: Bunker Museum of Contemporary Art -- 18 Solo Exhibitions

When: Sept. 11, 2004 - Jan. 10, 2005

Where: Nanshan Fortification, Tashan Battery, Guningtou Cihu Great Bunker, Changliao Rezoning District (all located in Kinmen County)

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