Wed, May 07, 2008 - Page 15 News List

Art for the television age

This year’s Taishin Art Awards focus on documentary and video media

By Noah Buchan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tsui Kuang-yu’s The Shortcut to the Systemactic Life – Invisible City.

PHOTO COURTESY OF MOCA, TAIPEI

In the violently graphic The Fabled Shoots (槍下非亡魂 ─ 蘇匯宇個展), video artist Su Hui-yu (蘇匯宇) is both the perp and the victim. A satire on brutality, the installation uses MTV-style techniques to poke fun at the global obsession with terrorism and shows how movies and television desensitize us to violence.

Su’s piece is one of five short-listed finalists for The 6th Taishin Arts Awards (第六屆台新藝術獎), an annual jury prize awarded to local artists, on display at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei (MOCA, Taipei, 台北當代藝術館). Aside from the NT$1 million cash prize, winners enjoy considerable international recognition for their work.

Tsui Kuang-yu’s (崔廣宇) The Shortcut to the Systematic Life — Invisible City (系統生活捷徑 — 城市瞎摸), is a series of video snippets of urban life. In one video, Tsui turns non-pedestrian areas of Liverpool into Chinese-style reflexology footpaths, while in Amsterdam he wears an outfit that spurts out water — a reference to the floods that affected Europe last year.

Kuo I-chen’s (郭奕臣) Mutation (突變) combines urban landscapes and lunar phenomena in a photographic pastiche that disorients viewers.

Images of natural and man-made disasters seamlessly merge together in a photograph, which demonstrates humanity’s frailty.

In the Name of Art (以藝術之名) by Public Television Service (公共電視) is an eight-episode documentary that examines Taiwan’s contemporary art over the past century. It’s not “art” per se, but the series introduces some of Taiwan’s best-known artists and their work. MOCA fitted a small room with four flat-screen televisions to air the documentary in its entirety.

Visitors can wander through a hanging garden of oyster shells before taking in the community-oriented mural The Sea of Hope: Oyster and Seashell Mural With Community Participants (台西─希望之海參與式蚵貝壁畫).

Hsu Hsiu-yun (�?�), the exhibition’s curator, organized a group of artists and other people who derive their livelihoods from the ocean to create a public art project that draws attention to the poverty of Taisi Township (台西), Yunlin County.

Using seashells gathered from Taisi’s beaches, the colossal mural draws attention to how mechanization is destroying the local fishing industry and traditional way of life.

The Taishin Awards also have a performing arts section, and one large room on MOCA’s second floor showcases 10 installations that introduce individual performing art groups, memorabilia from featured productions such as the witch masks from Tainaner Ensembles’ Shakespeare Unplugged 3 – Macbeth, and footage of performances and interviews.

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