The Taishin Art Awards (台新藝術獎) ceremony was held on Saturday at Taishin Bank’s slick new office tower on Renai circle. Tsui Kuang-yu’s (崔廣宇) video installation The Shortcut to the Systematic Life — Invisible City (系統生活捷徑 — 城市瞎摸) picked up the top prize in the visual art category.
The Taishin Bank Foundation for Arts and Culture (台新銀行文化藝術基金會) handed out NT$1 million in cash prizes in two categories. The prizes are only small brush strokes on a large canvas that seeks to show off some of Taiwan’s best contemporary art.
Becky Cho (曹鸞姿), the foundation’s director, said Tsui is representative of Taiwan’s contemporary artists because he is young, works in new media and is adept at networking.
“It takes a lot to be an artist now,” Cho said. “The art environment has become more than just point-to-point. It’s more like a web. You don’t just own a studio or show your work once a year and just talk to one guy that is your agent. You really have to go out and meet people and do a lot of networking.”
Cho said that networking determines, to a large extent, how the awards’ international jury is chosen.
The jury is made up of three groups. The judging process begins with a “nominating committee,” which is a group made up of local reporters, critics and academics that frequent galleries, museums and festivals across the island. This “frontline group,” as Cho calls it, reports back to a “review committee” every three months, which whittles down contenders and produces a shortlist that is passed on to the international jury.
Cho said international jurors are selected on their ability to promote Taiwanese art abroad. Cho networks with local foreign institutes in Taiwan and seeks their input in choosing the international jurors.
What: The 6th Taishin Arts Award Exhibition
Where: Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, (台北當代藝術館), 39 Changan W Rd, Taipei City (台北市長安西路39號). Call (02) 2552-3721 for more information
When: Until June 15; open daily 10am to 6pm, closed on Mondays
On the Net: www.mocataipei.org.tw
“We want [international jurors] to come to Taiwan to pick work that they think they could bring to their own country,” she said.
Two other rules determine the composition of the jury. The first is that the international jurors should have never been to Taiwan. This ensures that the awards introduces Taiwanese contemporary art to new audiences. The other is that the festival directors should not be attached to a mainstream institution, which is conducive to promoting more radical contemporary art.
“These works push the envelope and are not mainstream … . I have found there is a trend of encouraging edgy work and even underground work — work that would not necessarily be promoted otherwise,” Cho said.
The Taishin Art Awards includes a performance art category. Horse Dance Theater (驫舞劇場) took top honors with Velocity (速度), a work that investigates through movement the frenetic pace of contemporary urban life. Further information about short-listed nominees can be found at www.taishinart.org.tw.