John Monteith is a Canadian-born artist and curator who has temporarily transformed the Taipei Contemporary Art Center into an installation of originally designed flags. Kindred Spirits (志趣相投) interprets “the architecture of various relational sites of social exchange that make up the urban environment,” writes the art center in a press release. The artist abstracts skylines, towers, buildings, zones, paths, parks and other distinguishable city constructs into a system of geometric designs that speak to the politics of space. As part of the Tua-Tiu-Tiann International Festival of Arts, the space will serve as a performance stage for a program of local and international queer artists working in performance, film and video. The presentation explores themes of “gender fluidity, identity, intimacy, fiction, desire, race and self-representation through a relationship between the abstract and the corporeal.” The roster of performers include Mria Prosphora, a Taipei-based interdisciplinary artist working in experimental sound, poetry, installation and performance; Soa, a practitioner and performer of BDSM bondage; Vika Kirchenbauer, an artist, writer and music producer based in Berlin; and much more. For the full list of performances visit: www.tcac.tw.
■ Taipei Contemporary Art Center (台北當代藝術中心), 11, Ln 49, Baoan St, Taipei City (台北市保安街49巷11號), tel: (02) 8501-2138. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 1pm to 7pm
■ Until Nov. 3
Photo Courtesy of Michael Ku Gallery
Michael Ku Gallery presents Great Beauty on Earth (天地有大美), a solo exhibition by Chiang Hsun (蔣勳). Chiang is an artist, writer and educator who is considered Taiwan’s most important advocates for art appreciation, according to the gallery’s release. He was the founding chairperson of Tunghai University’s art department, former editor of monthly art magazine Lion Art and author of many popular books about art appreciation. Chiang’s artistic practice mostly involves painting and calligraphy and he works with both western and Chinese materials such as oil paint and ink washes. For this exhibition, Chiang presents a selection of new works, including paintings and calligraphy on canvas and paper. Chiang cites comic art, Hollywood culture, portrait drawing and traditional Chinese crafts as his influences. In his writings, he credits a handicapped portrait maker as “my first mentor [who] gave birth to my first artistic enlightenment.” Chiang’s later involvement with art history, literature, cinema, dance and theater has fueled his distinct style.
■ Michael Ku Gallery (谷公館), 4F-2, 21, Dunhua S Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市敦化南路一段21號4樓之2), tel: (02) 2577-5601. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11am to 7pm
■ Until Dec. 16
Photos Courtesy of Arki Galeria
Chan Chia-hua (詹嘉華) is a Taiwanese artist with a background in multimedia and animation. She works between visual and performing arts to explore the relationships between people, technology and media. Chan’s solo exhibition, The Y Generation: Artificial Corporeality (Y世代：人造知覺─詹嘉華個展), includes a selection of works that reflect upon digital technology and corporeality. She speaks of these themes from the perspective of the Y generation, which according to the exhibition preface, refers to the generation born between 1981 and 2000. “This generation grew up in an era when digital technology had yet to become popular; but as they entered adulthood, they have found themselves living in an environment characterized by digitization and information.” How have our senses evolved with the adaption of new electronic products? Are these abilities ephemeral, like virtual realities, which can cease to exist at the blink of an eye? In this exhibition Chan’s work seeks to “guide viewers to discover the boundaries between real bodily perception and... artificial perception.” Virtual Role: Artist Chan is an avatar on LINE that sends out exhibition information as well as responds to incoming messages generated by a back-end program. SomaMapping II is an interactive installation that records the audience’s movements and projects them into a virtual crowd, thereby creating a cluster of collective behavior.
■ Museum of Contemporary Art (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) 2559-6615. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 6pm
■ Until Dec. 2
Photo Courtesy of Taipei Contemporary Art Center
Currently on view at Arki Galeria is a solo exhibition by Japanese ceramicist Tetsuya Ishiyama. Tetsuya is an award-winning artist with a background in art conservation. As a conservationist, he has encountered countless works that embody religious faith, tribal spirituality and individual life stories. These experiences become great inspirations for the Tetsuya’s ceramic practice. ICON: Those Glorious Days (光輝時刻) includes 22 recent sculptures created during the artist’s residency at the Hualian Ceramic Art Center (花蓮台開洄瀾窯國際藝術村) last year. Tetsuya says creating art is a process of reviewing and creating history. By connecting past and present, the artist hopes pass on of human heritage. “The presented works evoke an impression of coral reefs that call towards the deep origins of civilization,” writes the gallery.
■ Arki Galeria (築空間), B1, 2, Chongqing S Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (臺北市重慶南路一段2號B1), tel: (02) 2382-1000. Open daily from 10am to 10pm
■ Until Nov. 11
Photo Courtesy of Whitestone Gallery
Florentijn Hofman is a Dutch artist known for creating public sculptures with a universal aesthetic and instant appeal. He is the creator of the giant Rubber Duck that has made headlines while traveling around the world since 2007. Five years ago, the Rubber Duck made stops in Hong Kong, Keelung, Kaohsiung and Taoyuan, prompting a surge of media craze and public attention. This year the artist returns to Asia with a solo exhibition of his work at Whitestone Gallery. In Play Around the World, Hofman has re-scaled his public sculptures for the gallery display, including a small ceramic version of Rubber Duck and Flip Flop Monkey. The show also includes two new sculptural series Line and Glass Eyes. Line is literally wall-hung contours of animals that “explore the essence of beauty of form and shape,” writes the gallery. The artist has intentionally chosen endangered animals in this project to “emphasize the humbling force of nature.” Glass Eyes is a series of big, beady, stuff animal eyes displayed as minimal, abstract sculptures. By isolating a single element of the animal body, Hofman’s attempts “to create a simplified and purified aesthetic experience.”
■ White Stone Gallery (白石畫廊), 1 Jihu Rd, Taipei City (台北市基湖路1號), tel: (02) 8751-1185. Opens Tuesdays to Sundays from 11am to 9pm.
■ Until Nov. 11
Photo Courtesy of Arki Galeria
Taipei is almost flat. At least the parts in which most people live, work and play. Furthermore, many major thoroughfares have designated bicycle lanes separating them from motorized vehicles, while minor roads offer quiet, sometimes leafy alternatives. There are also over 200km of riverside bike paths connecting the downtown with places as distant as Tamsui, Keelung, Muzha, Xindian, Yingge and Bali. Less than five percent of all journeys in the capital are undertaken by bicycle, however. “And this proportion is falling,” says Chan Kai-sheng (詹凱盛), founder of the non-profit Taiwan Urban Bicycle Alliance (台灣城市單車聯盟; TUBA). Chan thinks this may be due
Warren Hsu (許華仁) sees chocolate making as creating art and performing magic. Zeng Zhi-yuan (曾志元) “talks” to his cacao beans and compares the fermenting process to devotedly caring for a child. Despite their different products and business models, the two helped put Taiwanese chocolate on the map in 2018 at the prestigious International Chocolate Awards’ (ICA) World Finals when Hsu’s Fu Wan Chocolate (福灣) claimed two golds, five silvers and two bronzes, while Zeng took home four golds. That year, Taiwanese chocolatiers burst through the gates with a total of 26 medals, an impressive feat given that many locals don’t
SEPT. 14 to SEPT. 20 When then-county commissioner Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) announced that movie theaters in Yilan County no longer needed to play the national anthem before each showing, the authorities were displeased. It was Sept. 13, 1988, over a year after the lifting of martial law, but the decades-old tradition where moviegoers had to stand and sing the anthem still endured. Of course, Chen sugarcoated his decision: “Considering the environment of the theater, the contents of the movies and the reactions of the audience, we believe that it’s actually disrespectful to play the anthem before each showing. We
Chen Zhiwu (陳志武) says that the COVID-19 crisis puts into sharp focus that we are in a new cold war, with China and the US being the two protagonists. “It’s almost literally in front of us,” says Chen, Director of Asia Global Institute and Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Hong Kong. Political observers were hesitant, Chen says, even up to the beginning of this year, to confirm a new cold war was underway. “But ... the coronavirus has made clear the clash in values and way of life between what China would like to pursue, and what