Sun, Dec 30, 2007 - Page 19 News List

One brush in the past, one in the future


Kuo I-chen's work merges high-tech gadgetry with profound metaphysical concerns.


It's the end of the year and the Taipei Times looks back at some great art moments and peers into its crystal ball to predict five up-and-coming artists/trends to watch out for. In keeping with the festive season, we'll count down like it's New Year's Eve:

5. Tseng Yu-chin (曾御欽) had his video work displayed at Germany's prestigious Documenta exhibition this summer. What was noteworthy was that he was not filling any quotas or participating in a national presentation. Rather he was included because he's an exceptional artist ready to participate at an international level. He recently embarked on a six-month art residency in New York.

4. Sean Hu Chao-sheng (胡朝聖). Okay, he's not an artist. He's a curator. His first experience was with land art and he's curated some notable exhibitions this year such as Lin Chuan-Chu's (林銓居) rice field/painting studio in Dazhi, Fashion Accidentally at Taipei MOCA and Very Fun Park in Taipei's East District (東區). What is remarkable about Hu's curatorship is his inclusiveness. He does not only invite ethnic Taiwanese for his exhibitions, which most Taiwanese curators tend to do, he includes artists and designers from various ethnicities, gender identifications and art practices to participate. Other curators, should take note.

3. One of the best works created this year was by Yao Jui-chung (姚瑞中). Yao is no novice as he's already exhibited at the Venice Biennale, plus numerous other exhibitions. He's also known for curating shows and having authored several books. But the video he made where he's slowly goose-stepping about the CKS Statue Park in Tashi (大溪) Township, Taoyuan County, hits the bull's-eye. In this age of "desinicization," Yao's mockery of statues and idols is timely, comical and a tad visionary.

2. Number two is not an artist, nor a curator, but rather the notable status of the equality of women in Taiwan's art institutions: Lin Mun-lee (林曼麗) is director of the National Palace Museum; Lai Hsiang-ling (賴香伶) is coming to the end of her two-year contract with Taipei MOCA; Hsieh Hsiou-yun (謝小韞) is director of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and Ava Hsueh (薛保瑕) is director of the National Taiwan Museum in Taichung.

1. Hands down! Our big winner for the year, undoubtedly, is Kuo I-chen (郭奕臣). Kuo seamlessly merges high-tech gadgetry with profound metaphysical concerns making him stand apart in Taiwan's contemporary art scene. He got off to a running start by first exhibiting at 2004's Taipei Biennial, when he was just a student, well, a grad student. This summer his participation in Thermocline: New Asian Waves at ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany, brought him acclaim. The Centre Pompidou has bought his work for its collection. In October, he had four simultaneous exhibitions that featured work showing a destroyed earth but which demonstrated humanity's hope for survival. Meanwhile, international curators are flocking to his studio. The art world will have to wait, however, as Kuo just started his military service.

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