Shintaro Miyake’s playfully exuberant and colorful, almost psychedelic pen and pencil artworks feature a wildly creative cast of creatures: clam-headed characters lined up in battle formation, or squid-like figures whose tentacles languidly reach out for enigmatic mottos — “anytime is calm” or “the hilltop of Mandarin fields.” A Commonplace Tale presents the Japanese artist’s latest apocalyptic creations, rendered in his neo-pop style.
■ Metaphysical Art Gallery (形而上畫廊), 7F, 219, Dunhua S Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市敦化南路一段219號7樓), tel: (02) 2711-0055. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11am to 6:30pm
■ Opening reception on Saturday at 3pm. Until May 20
I didn’t know whether to run screaming from Li Zhuo’s (李卓) paintings of landscapes in monochrome ultramarine or forest green, or accept them passively as one might a nightmare. Either way, the Chinese artist’s new series of large-scale paintings in Lonely Again (我們再次孤獨) will almost certainly elicit a strong reaction. There is a terrifying realism to these forests populated with mostly naked vagabonds, suggesting human estrangement from and fear of a natural environment that needs to be conquered. The artist will attend the opening reception.
■ Nou Gallery (新畫廊), 232, Renai Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市仁愛路四段232號), tel: (02) 2700-0239. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11am to 7pm
■ Opening reception on Saturday at 3:30pm. Until June 2
Arctic Diary: The Wrong Ice (極地日誌:錯誤的冰塊) is a video installation by Tsui Kuang-yu (崔廣宇), completed after he attended a residency program inside the Arctic Circle. Shot in Spitsbergen, Norway and Taipei City, Tsui’s work contemplates the far north’s extreme environment, which he calls “an exercise in self-exhaustion against the face of rugged nature,” and the densely populated urban space of Taipei.
■ MOCA Studio, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei (台北當代藝術館, MOCA, Taipei), 39 Changan W Rd, Taipei City (台北市長安西路39號), tel: (02) 2552-3720. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 6pm. Admission to Arctic Diary is free. General admission: NT$50
■ Until May 20
There have been several retrospectives over the past few years that have examined Taiwan’s modern history through the lens of a camera. To Gaze and to Look Beyond: Eyes of Formosa (凝視．對望－福爾摩莎之眼攝影展) falls within this category and presents the work of 28 contemporary photographers — who the National History Museum dubs “Eyes of Formosa” (對望－福爾摩莎之眼). Respected photographers Chang Chao-tang (張照堂) and Tseng Miin-shyong (曾敏雄) chose the works based on photographic aesthetics and the recording of social life and contemporary objects.
■ National Museum of History (國立歷史博物館), 49 Nanhai Rd, Taipei City (台北市南海路49號), tel: (02) 2361-0270. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 6pm. General admission is NT$30
■ Begins Saturday. Until May 31
The term jinhuidui (錦灰堆 — literally a heap of refuse from ash) refers to a kind of literati montage painting originating in China’s Yuan Dynasty that takes used objects as its primary medium of creation. Contemporary Chinese artist Zhang Huan (張洹) has adopted the term to describe his new series of paintings, sculpture and installation in Jinhuidui (錦灰堆). It may seem strange that Zhang, an enfant terrible of China’s performance art scene in the 1990s, would draw upon a scholarly sub-genre, but the figurative and metaphorical motifs of detritus that underlie it seem eminently suited to his sensibility.