Wed, Dec 16, 2009 - Page 15 News List

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The inaugural Photo Taipei is already the largest art fair of its kind in Asia



A new type of art fair has been popping up all over Asia. Photo Beijing and Seoul Photo started last year. Tokyo Photo followed this September. And now there’s Photo Taipei 2009, an international art fair that, like its counterparts, focuses on photo-based, video and new media art.

The three-day event starts on Friday at the Westin Taipei (台北六福皇宮) with 33 participating galleries from Taiwan, China, Japan, Australia, France and the US. Event organizer Taiwan Contemporary Art Link (台灣當代藝術連線), a group consisting of four local galleries including Dynasty Art Gallery (朝代藝術) and Aki Gallery (也趣畫廊), is also the brains behind Young Art Taipei, a contemporary art fair that held its first show in May.

With 33 participating galleries showing photographs and video works by some 120 artists, Photo Taipei 2009 is already the biggest of its kind in Asia.

Photographic and video works usually play minor roles in larger art fairs, but they dominate Photo Taipei 2009.

“Few galleries want to bring photo-based and new media art works to big fairs. Galleries want to sell mainstream works, which in Asia means oil paintings,” says Galerie Grand Siecle (新苑藝術) owner and Photo Taipei chairman Richard Chang (張學孔).

Though photography has long history in Taiwan, the local market for it is too small to have been affected by the recent global financial crisis, says Chang.

And video art has only recently begun attracting the attention of collectors.

“Four years ago when we started to promote video art, collectors were virtually nonexistent. Now there are around 10 galleries that showcase video art in Taiwan, and together we have cultivated some 50 collectors,” says Chang.


WHAT: Photo Taipei 2009

WHEN: Friday to Sunday from noon to 8pm

WHERE: The Westin Taipei (台北六福皇宮), 133, Nanjing E Rd Sec 3, Taipei City

(台北市南京東路三段133號). The art fair is on the 4th and 5th floors of the hotel



According to Chang, photographic and video art account for roughly one to two percent of the local art market, compared to the 20 to 30 percent internationally. Photo Taipei’s aim is to cultivate the market and foster exchanges between artists and collectors and, ultimately, become one of the world’s biggest photo-based and new media art fairs.

Photo Taipei 2009 will be of particular interest to novice collectors.

“While oil paintings often fetch millions and millions of NT dollars, Long Ching-shan’s (郎靜山) photographs are priced between NT$300,000 to NT$400,000, says Chang. “Large contemporary photographs can go a little higher, but they are unlikely to surpass NT$700,000.”

Most pieces at Photo Taipei are priced at less than NT$100,000, with the average photo-based piece likely to set collectors back only a few thousand NT dollars.

In addition to the works on sale, there will be three curated exhibitions, one of them on younger Taiwanese artists including Long Ching-shan, Chang Tsai (張才), Wu Shao-tung (吳紹同), Lee Ming-tiao (李鳴鵰), Yu Cheng-ta (余政達) and Lin Guan-Ming (林冠名).

A special exhibition in collaboration with Japanese gallery Zeit-Foto Salon features works by renowned artists such as May Ray, Nobuyoshi Araki and Daido Moriyama.

Two forums on contemporary photography and digital art will be held at the hotel on Saturday. Participating speakers include Shigeo Goto from Tokyo Photo, artist Wang Jun-jieh (王俊傑) and scholar Kuo Li-xi (郭力昕).


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