Thu, Oct 29, 2015 - Page 12 News List

Curating concepts, selling art

Art Taipei will feature an exciting display of local and foreign talent, including a new section on public art and seminars for collectors interested in digital art

By Dana Ter  /  Staff reporter

Toshiyuki Shibakawa, Appearance II.40140921 Fossil of the Beckoning Cat Excavated in the 41st Century (2008).

Photo courtesy of Art Taipei

Taiwan’s most coveted art fair, Art Taipei is back for its 22nd year with the theme “Rooted in Asia, Reaching to the World.”

“The first impression we want to give visitors is that they are entering a new, art-forward city,” says Emerson Wang (王焜生), Art Taipei’s executive director.

Having spent the last few months traveling around Europe, Wang tells the Taipei Times that the decision to hire architects to redesign the entire exhibition space at the Taipei World Trade Center was inspired by his visits to art fairs in Europe, where upon entering, visitors can mingle and take in the decor before wandering to the booths. This way, attendees can slowly immerse themselves into the environment instead of having the artwork shoved in their faces.

In the spirit of mingling, this year’s fair will feature a new section devoted to “public art.” The seven artists (three Taiwanese and four from overseas) chosen for this section have designed works that encourage viewer participation. One such example is Japanese artist Tomohiro Kato’s teahouse. Here, visitors will take their shoes off and sit down for a cup of tea as a tea master explains Japan’s rich history of tea-making. The idea is to show how modern art can be used to revive ancient traditions.

In another installation, Hualien-based Taiwanese Aboriginal artist Pa Hao Lan will display 101 totems to draw attention to a species of wild boars (sus scrofa taivanus) that is in danger of extinction in Taiwan. The artist will also be doing performance art in front of his installation. The number 101 is significant, as the fair’s venue is next to the Taipei 101.

“We’re always talk about selling, selling, selling, but we’re not an auction house,” Wang says. “It’s also about branding.”

Exhibition notes

What: Art Taipei 2015 (2015台北國際藝術博覽會)

When: Tomorrow to Monday, from 11am to 7pm; closes at 6pm on Monday

Where: Taipei World Trade Center, Exhibition Hall 1 (台北世界貿易中心展覽大樓一館), 5, Xinyi Rd Sec 5, Taipei City (台北市信義路五段5號)

Admission: Tickets are NT$350 and are available at the venue or online at

On the net:

Although interactive art cannot exactly be quantified and sold, Wang believes that these types of works have an intrinsic educational value.

“It’s about curating concepts,” he adds.

In other words, if art collectors come to the fair and enjoy the interactive art and performances, then they will be more interested in perusing the rest of the booths. But it’s not all conceptual — there will also be seminars for private collectors about how to buy video art, as this is becoming particularly popular amongst young buyers from Hong Kong.

Wang says that although the ultimate goal is for the fair to have a global appeal — he was shocked to discover that some European galleries knew very little about Art Taipei — they must first work on cultivating talent within Asia and Taiwan, hence the title of this year’s theme.

Art Taipei 2015 opens tomorrow and will feature a total of 168 galleries, including 32 new galleries.

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