Becoming/Taiwanese (想像之所) is a solo exhibition by Taipei-based photographer Tsao Liang-pin (曹良賓), who uses the Chinese martyr shrines (忠烈祠) dotted across Taiwan as a departure point to examine the continuing process of re-writing history and national identity building that has shaped the context of what it means to be Taiwanese over the last 300 years. The martyr shrines, built upon previous Japanese Shinto shrines, are commemorative sites established by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) after their takeover in 1945. For Tsao, these memorials are more than simply places of remembrance: “they were a means to obliterate existing history…to redistribute economic resources…[to enforce] a new political system and nationalist identity into people’s everyday life,” the gallery writes in a press release. Over the past few years, the artist has researched and photographed 21 of Taiwan’s martyr shrines, many which are today viewed more as tourist attractions than political constructs of nationalism. In this de-politicized climate, Tsao presents his photographs as light-boxes alongside archival images of previously existing Shinto shrines in an attempt to visually trace the dynamics of “What is means to be Taiwanese” between the two periods of time.
■ TKG+ Projects, 2F, No. 15, Ln 548, Ruiguang Rd, Taipei City (台北市瑞光路548巷15號2F), (02) 2659-0798. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11am to 7pm
■ Until April 29
Photo Courtesy of Joseph Kosuth Studio
The group exhibition, Still Waters Run Deep, at the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts coincides with the museum’s inauguration of two newly renovated galleries after half of year of construction. The exhibition takes the city’s vital waterway, the Love River (愛河), as a metaphor to celebrate the cultural depth and rich history that Kaohsiung embodies. According to the curator, “the exhibition aims to demonstrate a calm and slow-paced cultural progress that reflects a tranquil sense of self-awareness, and, like a river, has traversed boundaries, connected different parties and encompassed all differences.” While the curatorial tone seems overly promotional, the exhibition includes 14 international and local artists whose works have garnered much attention. Renowned American artist Joseph Kosuth’s new neon light installation, Mappa Mundi (Taiwan), runs along a large white wall, sometimes forming words and other times loosening into abstract waves. Yoshihiro Suda’s delicate wood carved tulip is suspended in an unexpected corridor of the museum, creating a poetic pause in the exhibition flow. Legend Lin Dance Theatre (無垢舞蹈劇場), known for slow, spiritual dance performances, presents an installation, Poetry in Motion, which takes its title from one of the company’s celebrated dances.
■ Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts (高雄市立美術館), 80, Meishuguan Rd, Kaohsiung City (高雄市美術館路80號) tel: (07) 555-0331. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:30am to 5:30pm
■ Until June 10
Photo Courtesy of TKG+ Projects
When the Decisive Moment is No Longer Eternity (當決定的瞬間不再永恆) is an intimate retrospective of photographer Hsieh Kuei-chang (謝貴昌). The title is a re-interpretation of Henry Cartier-Bresson’s 1950’s concept “the decisive moment,” which refers to the instant a photographer captures the essence of an ephemeral event. While celebrating this classic concept of humanist photography as a constant influence in his work, Hsieh also questions its relevance in today’s increasingly digital age as our relationship with time and material reality is rapidly changing. In this exhibition Hsieh asks us to reconsider the value and legacy of modern photography today. The show presents a selection of 44 photographs that Hsieh has taken during his travels through Taiwan’s diverse landscape over the past 20 years. These images are made with various kinds of film and show consistent experimentation with the medium. Flake Yard (1998) is a black and white photograph manipulated with darkroom effects that depicts a pair of suspended dried fish in a small town setting on the outlying island of Penghu. Fallen Blossoms Flowing Stream (1996) is a close-up of flower petals floating down a river in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投). The dream-like colors rendered in this photograph owes to Hsieh’s experimentation with a cross-processing technique that increases the saturation of color.
■ Taipei Cultural Center (台北市藝文推廣處), 25, Bade Rd Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市八德路3段25號) tel: (02) 2577 5931. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 8:30am to 5:30pm
■ Until March 8
Photo Courtesy of the artist
The Renewal (川游不息) is a site-specific art exhibition that features artworks inspired by the sound, sight, smell, touch and taste of Green River (綠川), one of Taichung’s main water canals that traverses through the city’s old district. The 6.1km canal, once a healthy water stream, began degrading in the 1980s with the city’s industrial development. Under the supervision of Taichung’s Water Resource Bureau, the canal has been undergoing renewal since 2014. In this exhibition, 12 artists work with varying sensory capacities to interpret the canal from different angles. Lim Giong (林強), ALLO WILL and BARKHER collectively present a soundtrack that poetically encapsulates the rhythm of city life that surrounds the canal with field recordings and electronic compositions. Plant artist Liao Hao-jhe’s (廖浩哲) organic installation is built with local plant species such as different types of fern, moss, and herbal ingredients typically found in the herbal tea sold in Taichung’s old city district. These elements are infused with the odors of moist earth, herbal flavors and other materials the artist collected along the canal.
■ Taichung Shiyakusho (臺中市役所藝術中心), 97, Mincyuan Rd, Taichung City (台中市民權路97號), tel: (04) 307-7357. Open Mondays to Fridays from 11:30am to 7pm, and weekends from 11am to 7pm.
■ Until March 11
Photo Courtesy of Lyu Chuan
Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, for ’S WANDERFUL | MAKING PICTURES, the first solo show of veteran American photographer Steve McCurry in a Chinese-speaking country. McCurry is celebrated internationally for his work in photojournalism and editorial photography. He is best known for his iconic Afghan Girl image, originally published in National Geographic in 1984 and later named the most recognized photograph in the history of the magazine. The image is a portrait of a young Pashtun orphan at a refugee camp near the border with Pakistan. McCurry and his team later reconnected with the young girl 17 years later. ‘“Her skin is weathered; there are wrinkles now, but she is as striking as she was all those years ago,” McCurry says. In this exhibition, Afghan Girl is presented as a collage installation in which different parts of the photograph are reconfigured in varying scale and coherence. The show also includes eleven other installations based on McCurry’s photographs, among which are a selection of images shot in Taiwan, including Taipei Grand Hotel Lobby, Readers at Huashan and a portrait of iconic Taiwanese photographer Ko Si-chi (柯錫杰). According to curator Leo Chang-jen Chen (陳昌仁), the exhibition seeks to reconsider McCurry’s work in the context of contemporary art.
■ 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) 2552-3721. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 6pm
■ Until May 6
The Taiwan of yesteryear was dominated in whole or in part by the Dutch, Spanish, Qing Empire and Japanese. But is the Taiwanese name for a popular edible fish derived from the Portuguese language? Cheng Wei-chung (鄭維中), an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Taiwan History, says yes. The fish in question is the narrow-barred Spanish mackerel, which was listed in early 18th century Qing local gazetteers as Taiwanese specialities alongside milk fish and mullet, according to Cheng’s paper, “Mullet, narrow-barred Spanish mackerel and milkfish: Multiple contextual developments of three certified seafood specilaities in Taiwan, from the
Aug. 10 to Aug. 16 They called him the “No Problem Doctor” (沒關係醫生) because that’s what he always told his patients when they couldn’t pay up. Operating the only clinic in Changhua County’s Pusin Township (埔心) during the 1950s, Hsu Tsai-chih (許再枝) knew that life was difficult in his remote hometown. “They barely had enough to survive, so it was pointless to chase after them for the money,” an 81-year-old Hsu told the United Daily News in 2002. “I just went with the flow, some offered to pay me back years later but I had already forgotten
I didn’t expect to spend more than three minutes out of my car, yet the sun was so brutal I put on my hat before approaching the seawall. Beimen (北門) is the flattest and most sun-baked part of Tainan. It lacks trees and people. In wintertime, the weather is often delightful. It wasn’t yet mid-morning in the hot season, however, and I felt like a leaf shriveling in the desert. Atop the seawall but facing inland, I could see dozens of the rectangular ponds which account for a significant percentage of Beimen’s “land” area. Some, no doubt, were dug to produce
A widely criticized peer-reviewed study that measured the attractiveness of women with endometriosis has been retracted from the medical journal Fertility and Sterility. The study, “Attractiveness of women with rectovaginal endometriosis: a case-control study,” was first published in 2013 and has been defended by the authors and the journal in the intervening years despite heavy criticism from doctors, other researchers and people with endometriosis for its ethical concerns and dubious justifications, with one advocate calling the study “heartbreaking” and “disgusting.” The study’s conclusion was: “Women with rectovaginal endometriosis were judged to be more attractive than those in the two control groups.