Displaying modern art is straightforward for many museums as exhibitions generally only require white walls for framed paintings and pedestals for sculpture. Contemporary art, on the other hand, requires an entirely different treatment as the media, ideas and presentation drastically differ from traditional modes of art.
Taipei's Museum of Contemporary Art [MOCA] is solely designed to display new forms of art such as video projection, digital art, installation and performance work.
Currently on view is A Glimpse of Contemporary Art with work from seven local artists who have each been assigned a room to exhibit in.
The building was once a school, so the rooms still have an intimate, yet cramped atmosphere -- the separateness of the rooms also creates a sense of isolation.
The exhibition aims to give the uninitiated an overview of Taiwan's art scene.
Most of the art has been exhibited previously in other spaces and has now been assembled as a sampler of paintings, installations and video works that includes the work of prominent digital artists Wang Jun-jieh (
Wang's darkened room shows his double-screen projection of film-noir-like imagery which evokes a narrative. A dapper man turns a door knob; blood flows on the floor and a crate of oranges glows. Yuan's popular video Floating is shown in a passageway on a computer screen and in a separate pitch-black room a loud humming sound is heard while a rectangular-shape can be faintly discerned in a work titled The Moving Luminous Space.
Murky landscape paintings from locally acclaimed painter Su Wong-shen (
Lai Chiu-chen (賴九岑) disassembled toys into little pieces and then enlarged these unidentifiable parts into large painted imagery. The canvasses, arranged in a grid, then give the appearance of an archeological discovery or a creation of a new abstract form, when in fact Lai is just transforming an invisible object into a visible one.
While tackling notions of Taiwanese identity Shy Gong (施工) and Hou Chun-ming (侯俊明) defy categorization as they follow their own unique perceptions of the world. Gong debuts his IMO Design group creating innovative living solutions. Hou has gained notoriety for his raw woodblock prints of sexual and shamanistic imagery. Here, his in-your-face black and white graphic imagery is framed in a blood-red room.
Thematically there is nothing to tie these artists together other than they are all local male artists. The lack of insight from female artists could make it seem that Taiwan's contemporary art does not include female artists.
What: A Glimpse of Contemporary Art in Taiwan
Where: Museum of Contemporary Art (台北當代藝術館), 39 Changan W Rd (台北市長安西路39號)
Telephone: (02) 2552 3721
When: Tue to Sun; 10am to 6pm; until June 4
On the net: www.mocataipei.org.tw