Kuo Wei-kuo (郭維國) is one of a handful of contemporary Taiwanese artists who have been willing to reveal their darkest secrets in art — a theme that he continues in his solo exhibition at Lin & Lin Gallery (大未來林舍畫廊). Kuo’s fantastical self-portraits resemble halls of mirrors that reflect the artist’s psychologically complex world. They narrate the life of a middle-aged man who embellishes his fears and aspirations with mythological motifs. The paintings often feature the artist — sometimes nude, other times partially clothed — wandering through a desolate landscape surrounded by tempestuous storms that are created using a somber palette of browns, grays and purples.
■ Lin & Lin Gallery (大未來林舍畫廊), 13, Ln 252, Dunhua S Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市敦化南路一段252巷13號). For a viewing, call (02) 2721-8488
■ Begins Saturday, until Nov. 1
The National Museum of History is holding a retrospective exhibition of gifted musician, poet and calligrapher Lu Fo-ting’s (呂佛庭) work. The show, displayed on the museum’s fourth floor, consists of scrolls of Lu’s calligraphy, which expresses his deep reverence for and understanding of Zen Buddhism. Lu’s landscape paintings, inspired by ancient Chinese ideograms, are also on display.
■ National Museum of History (國立歷史博物館), 49 Nanhai Rd, Taipei City (台北市南海路49號). Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 6pm. Tel: (02) 2361-0270. Admission: NT$30
Crystal City (水晶城市) is a series of installations by Taiwanese artist and Taipei Art Award-winner Wu Chi-tsung (吳季璁). Using a projector, LED lighting and plastic, Wu creates an urban environment of geometrical transparency that questions the viewer’s place in
■ IT Park Gallery (伊通公園), 2F-3F, 41 Yitong St, Taipei City (台北市伊通街41號2-3樓). Open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 1pm to 10pm.
Tel: (02) 2507-7243
■ Until Oct. 31
In The Color — Ink Paintings of Pan Hsin-hua (彩墨—潘信華個展), the Taiwanese artist creates a surrealistic world using a style that is rooted in Chinese traditional ink painting. Pan juxtaposes past and present in his paintings, which examine the relevance of tradition in contemporary culture. His irreverent visual language incorporates unconventional pictorial elements that are often of an explicitly contemporary and playful nature.
■ VT Art Salon (非常廟藝文空間), B1, 47 Yitong St, Taipei City (台北市伊通街47號地B1). Open Tuesday to Thursday 2pm to 11pm, Friday and Saturday from 2pm to 1am
■ Until Oct. 31
Those who are enamored with Taiwan’s raucous party politics could do no worse than check out You Are a Horse That I Would Never Ride (你是匹我永不想騎的馬), a project by Taiwanese artist Jao Chia-en (饒加恩), who just completed a residency at Taipei Artist Village. The exhibit investigates the experience of being “infected by local political fever.” Jao will give a two-hour workshop on Sunday beginning at 10am titled Fever District. Participants are invited to create their own coat of arms based on their personality. To register for the workshop, call (02) 3393-7377 X220.
■ Barry Room, Taipei Artist Village (台北國際藝術村百里廳), 7 Beiping E Rd, Taipei City (台北市北平東路7號). Open Tuesdays to Fridays from 10am to 6pm. Tel: (02) 3393-7377
■ Begins Saturday, until Oct. 25
In his solo exhibition at Main Trend Gallery, Taiwanese painter Lee Ming-tse (李明則) employs multiple viewpoints to depict village life and religious practices. “I paint where I live, things that happened before and things that are happening now,” he says. His sources of inspiration include temple festivals, local theaters, newspaper stands and traditional markets.
■ Main Trend Gallery (大趨勢畫廊), 209-1, Chengde Rd Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市承德路三段209-1號). Open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11am to 7pm. Tel: (02) 2587-3412
■ Begins Saturday, until Nov. 7
The Taiwan of yesteryear was dominated in whole or in part by the Dutch, Spanish, Qing Empire and Japanese. But is the Taiwanese name for a popular edible fish derived from the Portuguese language? Cheng Wei-chung (鄭維中), an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Taiwan History, says yes. The fish in question is the narrow-barred Spanish mackerel, which was listed in early 18th century Qing local gazetteers as Taiwanese specialities alongside milk fish and mullet, according to Cheng’s paper, “Mullet, narrow-barred Spanish mackerel and milkfish: Multiple contextual developments of three certified seafood specilaities in Taiwan, from the
Aug. 10 to Aug. 16 They called him the “No Problem Doctor” (沒關係醫生) because that’s what he always told his patients when they couldn’t pay up. Operating the only clinic in Changhua County’s Pusin Township (埔心) during the 1950s, Hsu Tsai-chih (許再枝) knew that life was difficult in his remote hometown. “They barely had enough to survive, so it was pointless to chase after them for the money,” an 81-year-old Hsu told the United Daily News in 2002. “I just went with the flow, some offered to pay me back years later but I had already forgotten
I didn’t expect to spend more than three minutes out of my car, yet the sun was so brutal I put on my hat before approaching the seawall. Beimen (北門) is the flattest and most sun-baked part of Tainan. It lacks trees and people. In wintertime, the weather is often delightful. It wasn’t yet mid-morning in the hot season, however, and I felt like a leaf shriveling in the desert. Atop the seawall but facing inland, I could see dozens of the rectangular ponds which account for a significant percentage of Beimen’s “land” area. Some, no doubt, were dug to produce
In the regular drumbeat of arrests of alleged Chinese spies, one case last month stood out. It did not involve the US or another rival of China, but Russia, whose security services accused a prominent arctic scientist of selling classified data on technologies for detecting submarines. Meanwhile a court in Kazakhstan in October convicted the Central Asia nation’s preeminent China specialist of espionage, a move widely interpreted at the time as a warning against increased meddling by the superpower next door. Both men maintain their innocence and if China is spying on Russia, Moscow is surely doing the same. Even so, the fact