In 2010, Spanish-trained artist Lu Fang (盧昉) gave voice to his culture shock in Taiwan with a solo show about Mr. Big Nose, a caricature of himself who wanders around Renaissance Europe like an eyesore and irritates the local population. At Time Traveler II: A Play on Classic Paintings (出古入今 II:玩轉古畫), Mr. Big Nose is back, though a little more well-adjusted. For this new exhibition, Lu transports the Europeans and Mr. Big Nose to Taiwan, where they break bread at a local wedding, mingle harmoniously in downtown Taipei and practice religious rites side by side.
■ MOT/Arts, 3F, 22, Fuxing S Rd Sec 1, Taipei (台北市復興南路一段22號3樓), tel: (02) 2778-2908. Open daily from 11am to 8pm
■ Until March 20
Master of Light: Vermeer (珍珠之光 — 透視維梅爾特展) brings together over 30 original works by Johannes Vermeer, the reclusive Dutch painter best known for the Girl with a Pearl Earring. Vermeer took no apprentices and left scant records; the exhibition draws mainly from art criticism and scholarship. One section out of six, titled “Secrets in the Paintings,” calls attention to hidden details in paintings such as The Music Room. A section titled “Master of Light” explains how Vermeer achieved a variety of unusual light effects like the glint of a chandelier. A simulated art studio also shows how Vermeer may have used a camera obscura, a primitive optical device, to bounce real-life images onto a surface as a rough template for his paintings — a theory proposed by inventor Tim Jenison. For more information, visit the official Web site at vermeer.ishow.udn.com (Chinese only).
■ Jie Shi, Rui Yuan exhibition halls (介石廳,瑞元廳) at the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (國立中正紀念堂), tel: (02) 8643-3966, open daily from 9am to 6pm, tours start Mondays to Fridays at 10:30am and 2:30pm, on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30am, 2:30pm and 3:30pm, general admission: NT$200
■ Opening reception today at 2pm. Until May 4
Taiwanese and Chinese artists trained in New York present super-realistic paintings at Telling Details: Photorealism in Taiwan (見微知萌→台灣超寫實繪畫). Super-realism is a painting aesthetic that sprung up in New York in the 1970s as a response against traditional realism and abstract art. Visually, it’s an American descendant of Vermeer. Like the Dutch Master of Light, these artists strive to paint light, shadow and other fine-grained detail exactly as they appear in real life.
■ Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 181, Zhongshan N Rd Sec 3, Taipei (台北市中山北路三段181號), tel: (02) 2595-7656. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:30am to 5:30pm and until 8:30pm on Saturdays. Admission: NT$30
■ Opens tomorrow. Until April 20
Greater Kaohsiung-based artist Chen Rui-hu (陳瑞瑚) applies paint not with a brush but a palette knife, a bladed tool typically used to mix colors. His impasto technique, honed through decades of training, results in bright and virginal scenes of southern Taiwan, currently on view at his solo show Palette Knife Painter (單刀傳奇).
■ Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (國立國父紀念館), 505, Renai Rd Sec 4, Taipei (臺北市信義區仁愛路4段505號), tel: (03) 360-2975, open daily from noon to 8 pm
■ Until Jan. 23
Chang Po-chieh (張博傑) presents Chang Shu-fen (張淑芬), a digital art project about a Taiwanese girl with a classic daughter-of-the-soil name, Chang Shu-fen. Narrated from her perspective and illustrated with faded photos from someone’s actual family album, the film is a nostalgic look at life before Taiwan’s industrial revolution.