German feminist artist Catrine Val has devoted her career to bringing female voices to the forefront, whether through painting, photography, installation or any other artistic medium. Many of her subjects are androgynous-looking and even if they are girly, they still have the appearance of standing their own ground. Her latest exhibition, Entropy: I Am Other (熵：我即她者), held at the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts in Taipei, explores life in the “post-Internet” era from a feminist perspective. Technology has undeniably changed our daily habits and routines, but other things have remained the same. From a philosophical standpoint, we’re still trying to define concepts such as happiness or reality, and we’re still on an unrelenting quest to accumulate more and more “knowledge.” All the so-called great philosophers throughout history have been men, so naturally, Val dedicates her exhibition to lesser-known female philosophers.
■ Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts (關渡美術館), 1 Xueyuan Rd, Taipei City (台北市學園路1號), tel: (02) 2896-1000 X 2432. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 5pm
■ Until July 12
Photo courtesy of MOCA Taipei
America is a melting pot, but one that is continuously marred by racial politics and the like. Celebrating diversity is great and merry, but it’s important to remember the struggles of past generations. Herstory (她 — 在歷史的背後) is an exhibition at the National Museum of History in Taipei about the lives of Chinese-American women and their contributions to American society. Told mostly through legal papers and other historical documents, the exhibition uncovers a largely unknown slice of Chinese-American history, one that is often overshadowed by men. In 1876 — a few years before the implementation of the Chinese Exclusion Act — a ship carrying 22 women from Hong Kong was denied entry at San Francisco as the immigration officer believed they were prostitutes. The women sued him and after some lengthy proceedings, won their case. In addition to legal papers, the exhibition also features a smattering of literature, film and photographs. Some of the works of Shanghai-born novelist Eileen Chang (張愛玲), who wrote prolifically about the entanglements of romantic love (and who was always very well dressed), 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), tel: (02) 2361-0270. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 6pm
■ Until Aug. 2
Photo courtesy of MOCA Taipei
Polit-Sheer-Form Office (政治純形式辦公室) is an art collective founded in 2005 by four Chinese artists, Hong Hao (洪浩), Xiao Yu (蕭昱), Song Dong (宋冬) and Liu Jian-hua (劉建華), plus a curator, Leng Lin (冷林). With all members of the group born in the mid-1960s, their artistic style is influenced by their experiences growing up as children in communes under the Cultural Revolution. Although some of their work may appear to resemble propaganda posters, democracy-loving artsy liberals can calm down because there is nothing political nor nostalgic about it. Rather, Polit-Sheer-Form Office aims to bring the collective element back to the profession. For instance, their piece Mr Zheng (政先生), is a compilation of the five members’ facial features merged and overlapped into a single portrait. Also evident in Polit-Sheer-Form Office’s artwork is a critique of China’s mass consumer society — sterile-looking boxes, bookshelves and buildings hint at how life today is simply packaged, processed and devoid of meaning. Their work is currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei in an aptly-named exhibition Individualized Together, Polit-Sheer-Form (政純辦).
■ 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
■ Until Aug. 2
Photo courtesy of VT Art Salon
Whoever told children that doodling in school is a waste of time is wrong. Ballpoint pen artist Tzeng Yong-ning (曾雍甯) has made a name for himself creating vibrant, hypnotic artwork. He uses the simplest medium to create the most intricate, multi-textured designs. Rainbow colors are his muse and his work is like peering into a kaleidoscope. But for whatever reason — maybe he ran out of colors or wants to show some versatility — Tzeng tones it down for his latest exhibition, Stars (星幻), held at Taipei’s VT Art Salon. This time, he uses deep blue canvases, on which he imprints sparkling silver stars and geometric shapes. The series is still vibrant but in a different way, mostly through the luster of the stars. The meaning is simple — there is a vast universe out there beyond our planet, and yet, the space between heaven and earth is still so near.
■ VT Art Salon (非常廟藝文空間), B1, 47 Yitong St, Taipei City (台北市伊通街47號B1), tel: (02) 2516-1060. Open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 1:30pm to 9pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from 1:30pm to 10pm
■ Opens tomorrow. Until Aug. 7
Photo courtesy of Taipei Fine Arts Museum
Those with children will be happy to know that the Taipei Fine Arts Museum is currently featuring I Want To Dream (我想要做一個夢), an exhibition aimed at the little ones (and those without children will know which exhibition to avoid). The work of 22 artists from Taiwan and around the world are on display in various media include painting, sculpture, video, installation and interactive sound art. Children can bounce on Wang Te-yu’s (王德瑜) colorful purple airbags which fill up entire rooms — although it’s unclear whether the exhibition will inform the children that Wang’s inspiration for the piece was the guts and innards of aliens from horror movies. Tsai Hai-ju (蔡海如), a mother herself who has created artwork with lots of mother-child imagery, sets up a wall of colorful balloons that viewers can sign (though honestly, I would be tempted to pop them, like I’m sure any five-year-old would). Also on display is the work of funny-man Wang Chien-hao (王建浩) who renders the humor he finds in everyday life in Taiwan into comical pieces of artwork. Viewers can enjoy his giant, multi-layered macaroon-cookie sandwich made out of found objects — but touching and eating it is prohibited.
■ Taipei Fine Arts Museum (台北市立美術館 TFAM), 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
■ Until Feb. 21
Until this summer, when the idea of hiking the length of the island first occurred to me, I didn’t even know that Cijin (旗津) had been a peninsula until 1967. That’s when diggers and dredgers severed Cijin from Taiwan’s “mainland,” because the authorities wished to create a southern entrance to Kaohsiung’s fast expanding port. The island is just under 9km long, but a bit of research quickly convinced me that a south-to-north trek wasn’t a good idea. The southern third of Cijin is dominated by container-lifting cranes, warehouses and other facilities off-limits to the public. Dunhe Street (敦和街) forms the boundary between
As if the climbs and views and snacks and companions of cycling in Taiwan aren’t sufficient, the GPS-generation of route-planners are now using apps such as Strava and Endomondo to create works of art as they ride. One such is nicknamed the Dove Road of Sijhih (汐鴿路), a 25km ride that follows the riverside bike path from the Nangang-Neihu Bridge (南湖橋) to New Taipei City’s Sijhih District (汐止), climbs around 400m up the Sijhih-Shiding Road (汐碇路), before dropping back down past Academia Sinica to generate a very dove-like pattern. Originally called Kippanas by indigenous Ketagalan people and transliterated into Hoklo (more commonly
Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a way urban households can obtain healthy produce, while helping to build a more sustainable farming sector in Taiwan. King Hsin-i’s (金欣儀) transformation from advertising copywriter to social entrepreneur began in 2008, when she visited a rice farmer who practiced pesticide-free agriculture. “He explained that we have to leave space for other species. At the same time, I realized that while big companies have budgets to spread their messages, farmers have few chances to tell the public about their beautiful concepts,” she recalls. Inspired, she quit her job and traveled throughout rural Taiwan for a year. King went
If ever there was a reason to be inside on Mid-Autumn Festival, even for just an hour or so, while still celebrating the natural world, Cheng Tsung-lung (鄭宗龍) has provided one with his first full-length work for Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (雲門舞集) as artistic director, Sounding Light (定光). Judging by the excerpt performed for the press last week, Cheng shows he can be just as minimalistic as his mentor, troupe founder Lin Hwai-min (林懷民), while still forging his own unique path. Just as he did with last year’s Lunar Halo (毛月亮), his final work as director of Cloud Gate 2 (雲門2), Cheng