Wed, Jan 10, 2018 - Page 13 News List

Past, present, future in an era of globalization

Seven Taiwanese artists explore reality and how we interpret it in New York City exhibit

By Chris Fuchs  /  Contributing reporter in new York

Contemporary ennui

Liao’s Distracted Life Journal No. 2 (不專心生活誌No. 2) speaks to anyone who has ever tried to multitask amid the frenetic pace of the 21st century.

The scene in this acrylic work is set in an ordinary bathroom, though the perspective of space inside appears distorted. A bath towel hangs on a rack. A yellow rubber duckie rests on a small ledge. A mop streaks across the floor. The accoutrements of daily life are all in plain view.

There’s also the work’s main subject, a purple-colored body whose head is covered with a water bucket. The figure’s unnatural posture is warped and twisted, limp and stiff, perhaps about to slip on the streak of water left in the mop’s wake.

Yet, with all that’s going on, the figure’s two hands remain fixated on one task: texting on a smartphone.

“This is probably a visual that can be understood across the world,” Chen quipped.

In an age where science, technology and the Internet all dominate, Distracted Life Journal No. 2 puts on full display the feelings of emptiness experienced in contemporary society.

What Do You See? Contemporary Art from Taiwan marks the first time that works from Art Bank Taiwan (藝術銀行) have been shown in New York. Begun in 2013, Art Bank is a program run by Taichung’s National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (國立台灣美術館) that rents out artwork to government agencies and private companies, among others.

To date, it has acquired close to 1,800 pieces of art and encourages rentals for display in public places, in an effort to increase artwork circulation and to invigorate Taiwan’s art market.

The exhibition, organized in part by the Taipei Cultural Center in New York, will next travel to Washington DC. It will go on display at the Twin Oaks Estate, a 26-room English Georgian Renaissance-style mansion on 18 acres of land owned by Taiwan’s government.

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