The Taipei Fine Arts Museum is gearing up for its huge international event, the Taipei Biennial that opens on Nov. 4. To prepare audiences for the prestigious showing of contemporary art from around the world, the Museum currently is highlighting the work of Taiwanese and Chinese artists in three diverse and complex exhibitions that range from painting and photographs to architectural installation.
Artist Yao Jui-chung (姚瑞中) is an important figure in Taiwan's contemporary art scene. Besides exhibiting his own art, he is known for his work as a curator and writer of several art books. In Everything Will Fall into Ruins, the artist displays black and white documentary style photographs of decrepit buildings, abandoned factories, desolate bunkers, and decaying statuary along with a couple of sculptural installations that include golden brains and x-rays of the body.
Yao makes the point that Taiwan's cities are not only about being shiny and brand new, but that the flip side of progress is its inevitable ruin. In the process of documenting these sites of disrepair, Yao realized that decay is an ongoing daily process and in alignment with Buddhist thinking, Yao's documentation of decay is more “real” than recording the newly built office towers. The photos also show the resilient spirit of Taiwan in how the old silently cohabitates with the new.
Where Yao's selection of works is quite visual, Kao Jun-honn's (高俊宏) work is more linear with numerous wall-texts, diagrams and architectural models in his exhibition titled The Home Project, Fond Memories Too Far.
Kao first advertised for volunteers to construct a home via interviews, documentation and reconstruction; then he selected three families and interviewed them, asking them to describe their dream home. He then built the frame of the discussed dream home in an open space such as the beach or a park. Not only does the work touch on personal meanings of “home” but also on memory and nostalgia.
What: Everything Will Fall into Ruins: Yao Jui-Chung -- Solo exhibition to Nov 19What: The Home Project, Fond Memories Too Far: Solo exhibition by Kao Jun-honn to Nov 19What: The Blossoming of Realism: Oil Painting of Mainland China Since 1978 to Nov 29Where: Taipei Fine Arts Museum,181 Zhongshan N Rd, Sec 3, Taipei (台北市中山北路3段181號)Telephone: (02) 2595 7656 http://www.tfam.gov.tw http://www.taipeibiennial.org
On the Museum's third floor, an exhibition devoted to painting from China organized by Beijing's National Art Museum of China titled The Blossoming of Realism: Oil Painting of Mainland China since 1978 shows that the genre of oil painting does not entirely belong to the Western domain. On view are some of the finest examples of oil painting techniques, and the exhibition also gives a history lesson on key events in China during the 20th century.
Included in the exhibition of over 100 canvases are some examples of Scar Art, a cultural movement that criticized the Cultural Revolution. Most of the works are figurative with not-so-subtle messages about modern day China. In Frozen Land, a young couple seem to slowly bleed to death on the vast frozen landscape, their dreams dying with them. However, by the end of the 1970s, painters sought to go back to the land and painted rural life. And as the decades passed, consumerist images began to emerge in the paintings.
And next weekend the 2006 Taipei Biennial: Dirty Yoga will open. Looking at material desire, the selected art of this thematic exhibition will comment on our consumerist society and our apathetic stance towards politics as humankind is heading towards solipsistic lifestyle choices at the expense of living altruistic lives for the greater good of society.
In addition to the Biennial, there will also be a weekend forum and a series of films titled Restricted Midnight Movies including works by cinematic greats Rainer Fassbinder and Stanley Kubrick.