Lin & Lin Gallery presents Bubble Kabushiki Kaisha (泡泡株式會社), a solo exhibition by Taiwanese painter Lai Chiu-chen (賴九岑). Lai is known for incorporating and reconfiguring elements of popular culture, such as cartoons and comics, into original assemblages. His exhibition title refers to a fictional company that processes bubbles — which he describes as a metaphorical substance that reflects everything around it, including images, emotions and feelings. As the head of this company, Lai explains his methodology of working with bubbles: “When I face empty canvases, I look through the various online images I have stored and added over the years, as well as all kinds of ideas that pop up in my head, like bubbles that take form one after another and then quickly disappear,” commenting on the ephemeral nature of images in one’s memory. “Those tiny bubbles that fail to escape are scooped up by a spoon ... They find a small blank spot on the canvas where they can settle down in peace, allowing dreams and fantasies to become reality.”
■ Lin & Lin Gallery (大未來林舍畫廊), 16 Dongfeng St, Taipei City (台北市東豐街16號), tel: (02) 2700-6866. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11am to 7pm
■ Through Nov. 24
Photo Courtesy of Shauba Chang
An exhibition of renowned Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte is presently on view at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. Curated by the director of Charleroi Museum of Photography, Xavier Canonne, The Revealing Image: Photos and Films Rene Magritte (揭相：馬格利特影像展) is a selection of photographic prints and home videos shot between 1914 and 1967 that reveal “the true colors of Rene Magritte in his daily life and creative process” while shedding light on the development of surrealism in Belgium, writes the museum in a press release. This archive of images remained unknown for a decade after the artist’s death in 1967. They offer an intimate glimpse into Magritte’s daily life, including moments with his family. Magritte is known for creating paintings that evoke mystery, as he once said, “When one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, ‘What does that mean?’ It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing, it is unknowable.” The show provides some idea on how Magritte utilized photography as a supporting medium for his painting practice. In some of the photographs on view, the artist ”turns himself into a comedian improvising in these photos, an image so drastically different from the contemplative and philosophical nature in his paintings.” Other images show the artist at work, posing with a painting, or playfully experimenting with surrealist narratives through the lens.
■ 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
■ Through Nov. 25
Photo Courtesy of Brachot Gallery, Brussels
Nicolas Havette is a French-born artist who spent time in Taiwan last year as part of an artist residency program organized by Soulangh Artist Village. During his stay, Havette produced a number of projects with the Taipei Artist Village, The French Office in Taipei and VT Art Salon. This year, the artist returns to VT Art Salon with a solo exhibition inspired by Taiwan’s history and its contemporary challenges. The show, entitled Erasing Silences, is a culmination of Havette’s creations since 2017. The works are organized as four chapters that belong to a larger project, “Fortunes,” which involves collaborative efforts that combine photography, drawing, documentary and contemporary mythology. In this project, the artist works with “groups of people from different social backgrounds living around his workplace, studio and associated galleries,” states the gallery. Participants are asked to take pictures of their surroundings, which are then transferred into overlaid chalk drawings by the artist. Included in the show are photographs as well as drawings created during this process. Havette considers these resulting images “mysterious documentary mythology” that express “an inner identity of the places [people live in].”
■ 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 to Thursdays from 1:30pm to 9pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from 1:30pm to 10pm
■ Through Nov. 3
Photo Courtesy of National Museum of History
RUINS is an intimate photography show hosted by Washida Home Store in Taichung. The three artists, Tomoya Fujii, Kazuo Yoshida and Shauba Chang (章芷珩) together present a reflection on the passing of time and the traces of things, memories and emotions that are temporarily left behind. “We can say that every day we leave some sort of ‘trace’ and are blessed by them,” reads the curatorial preface. “However, for both physical traces left in a place or traces left in memories, they eventually fade over time, appear in front of us as a kind of ‘ruin,’ and again vanish away with memories.” In this exhibition, Yoshida utilizes both digital and analog methods to conduct an examination of light as an attempt to reflect upon the nature of photography. Fujii explores the relationship between time and imagery through overlapping, cutting and assembling images in a disciplined framework. Chang creates pictures that explore the process of history; by reflecting upon her own personal experience, she “examines how the desire of being, aging and dying defines time,” says the artist.
■ Washida Home Store, B1 Space, 4, Zhongxing 4th Ln, Taichung City (台中市中興四巷4號), tel: (04) 2301-6981. Open daily from 2pm to 10pm
■ Through Nov. 4
Photo Courtesy of Lin & Lin Gallery
Mirror Image / World Image (鏡像‧境象—史博館館藏名家攝影展) is an exhibition about the early developments of Taiwanese documentary photography. Hosted by National Hsinchu Living Arts Center (國立新竹生活美學館), the show is a selection of works from the permanent collection of the National Museum of History (國立歷史博物館). According to the museum, photography was first introduced to Taiwan in the 19th century, when foreign researchers began to visit the island. The art of photography was formally taught during the Japanese colonial period, when the government trained a group of Taiwanese apprentices. Other Taiwanese elites studied the art form in Japan and returned to Taiwan to open photo studios. As local knowledge of photography grew, amateur photographers also began to emerge, capturing moments of colonial Taiwan and local ways of living. Show highlights include works by Lin Cao (林草), an alumnus of the apprentice program, and Deng Nan-guang (鄧南光), a Hsinchu native who was very much influenced by Japan’s New Photography movement. Deng captured images of his surroundings, including festive occasions as well the ordinary daily life of his hometown of Beipu.
■ National Hsinchu Living Arts Center (國立新竹生活美學館), 110, Wuchang St, Hsinchu City (新竹市武昌街110號), tel: (03) 526-3176. Open daily 9am to 5pm
■ Until Nov. 20
Photo Courtesy of VT Art Salon
With most of his village preferring to converse in Mandarin, opportunities are scant for 81-year-old Kacaw to use his mother language of Amis. But things are changing in his household — one day the family was having an animated discussion when his plucky four-year-old granddaughter Nikal bursts into the room: “You should talk in the mother tongue,” she tells them loudly in Amis. Another time, Nikal’s uncle Yosifu, a well-known artist, overheard her arguing with her grandmother over rights to the television remote — “in our mother tongue,” he tells me excitedly. “With such visible change, I can see hope
Deaths, economic meltdown and a planet on lockdown: the coronavirus pandemic has brought us waves of bad news, but squint and you might just see a few bright spots. From better hygiene that has reduced other infectious diseases to people reaching out as they self-isolate, here are some slivers of silver linings during a bleak moment. WASH YOUR HANDS! The message from health professionals has been clear from the start of the outbreak: wash your hands. Everyone from celebrities to politicians has had a go at demonstrating correct technique — including singing Happy Birthday twice through to make sure you scrub long enough, and
Over a million people flooded Kenting National Park over two weeks in 1986 to see Halley’s Comet, massively boosting the area’s tourism industry March 30 to April 5 About 30,000 disappointed visitors lingered on the streets of Kenting National Park on the evening of March 28, 1986. Established just two years earlier, Taiwan’s first national park had never seen so many visitors — all hotels were full, hundreds of tents cramped the campgrounds and the latecomers slept in their cars. Most had traveled here just to catch a glimpse of Halley’s Comet, which only passes by the Earth every 76 years or so. That year, the comet was more visible the further to the south, and Kenting’s location at Taiwan’s southernmost tip made
Within 10 minutes of the train pulling into Chaojhou (潮州) in Pingtung County, I’d retrieved my bike from a paid-parking compound and initiated the fitness tracking app on my phone. Just one thing bothered me: The color of the sky. I cycled southeast, passing the shuttered Dashun General Hospital (大順醫院). Given everything that’s going on in the world, I couldn’t help but think: If the government needs extra facilities to handle the COVID-19 epidemic, this sizable building could perhaps be brought back into service. After crossing Highway 1 (台1線), I skirted a settlement established after 2009’s Typhoon Morakot disaster, during which