Hong Kong’s economy may be feeling the strain from months of frequent protests, but Taiwan should not think of replacing the financial hub’s role in Asia’s art market.
Instead, Taiwan should “positively determine” its own strengths and “identify the reasons why Taipei makes sense” as a destination for international art galleries and buyers.
That’s what Magnus Renfrew, founding director of Taipei Dangdai, wants to tell players in the local arts scene.
Photo: Davina Tham, Taipei Times
The Hong Kong-based Briton was in town last week to announce the gallery roster for the second edition of the contemporary art fair, which will take place from Jan. 17 to 19 next year. He previously served as founding director of Art Basel in Hong Kong, one of the region’s most prominent art events.
“The reasons for doing a fair in Taipei cannot be problems elsewhere,” Renfrew told the Taipei Times, referring to speculation that the unrest in Hong Kong could open a window of opportunity for Taiwan.
He said Taiwan would benefit more by concentrating on its own advantages, including the presence of important collectors and Taipei’s attractiveness as a travel destination.
With more than 28,000 visitors and sales of individual artworks that reached into the millions of US dollars, the organizers of the first Taipei Dangdai in January this year have hailed its debut as a success.
Renfrew and newly-appointed co-director Robin Peckham said it has been exciting to play a part in raising the profile of local artists, and to see the international art world galvanize around Asia.
“We’ve all known for a long time that Taiwan’s art infrastructure and content [are] virtually second to none,” said Peckham, a Taipei-based American curator and writer. “In terms of the balance between museums, private collections, commercial galleries, non-profit curatorial spaces and artists’ production, they’re all extremely strong.”
Renfrew said that Taipei Dangdai does not see itself as being “directly in competition” with art fairs in other major cities in the region. But when asked how Taiwan could help the art market along, he said that simplifying the tax structure for artwork transactions, or even doing away with such taxes altogether, would be the best way.
“The auction market has a happy home in Hong Kong” because its relaxed tax and export policies make it “a very beneficial place to transact,” he added.
The second edition of Taipei Dangdai in January next year will feature 97 galleries, up from 90 this year. The list includes leading international galleries like Scai the Bathhouse, Kaikai Kiki, Artinformal, Levy Gorvy, Eva Presenhuber and Kamel Mennour.
Taiwan’s art scene will be represented by 22 home-grown galleries and showcases of several local artists, including the late abstract artist Li Yuan-chia (李元佳) and digital art collective Luxury Logico.
Visitors can also look forward to more public programming, as Taipei Dangdai explores ways to get art “out of the halls and into the city,” Renfrew said.
“Primarily, collectors will be driven by the quality of the gallery list, but what makes them have the best time is when they have the opportunity to discover... the cultural offerings of the city,” he added.
It has been 26 years since Nicholas Gould hosted his last Issues and Opinions radio show for ICRT a recording studio on Roosevelt Road. He remembers the familiar ‘whoosh’ as the door to the soundproof room closes and recognizes the carpet, but the recording equipment is gone, with half of the space being used for storage. Gould is filled with nostalgia as he greets his guests, two financial writers who are here to discuss Taiwan’s post-COVID-19 economy for his new podcast, Taiwan Matters. Gould had been thinking of revisiting his old career for a while, but being allowed access to
The 22nd Taipei Arts Festival (臺北藝術節) opens tonight with three productions, a slightly scaled-down pandemic version that seeks to keep its tradition of big ideas, challenging programs and international connections alive and moving forward in an increasingly uncertain world. The theme of this year’s festival is “Super@#S%?” — as good a term as any when descriptives and superlatives seem not only inadequate, but somewhat irrelevant in a world where so many people cannot imagine being able to return to theaters, either as performers or audience members — they are too worried about having a job and their health. Technically, however, it is
Shuanglianpi (雙連埤) is both a Hakka outpost and a place of great ecological interest. The conjoined body of water from which it gets its name is the centerpiece of the 17.16-hectare Shuanglianpi Wildlife Refuge (雙連埤野生動物保護區). No waterways of significance fill or drain this scenic lake in Yilan County’s Yuanshan Township (員山鄉). During the 1895 to 1945 period of Japanese rule, the colonial authorities — struggling to secure Taiwan’s foothills — encouraged Han people to settle in areas adjacent to indigenous communities. Around 1910, a 49-year-old Hakka pioneer called Tsou Cheng-sheng (鄒成生) from what’s now Taoyuan decided to begin farming at
Wild Sparrow (野雀之詩) is simple and extremely slow paced, told through the eyes of Han (Kao Yu-hsia, 高於夏), an introspective, shy grade schooler who lives with his great-grandmother in the verdant countryside. Han has a fascination with sparrows, which are either flying high in the sky or trapped in cages and nets, providing a constant metaphor throughout the film. In the most ironic scene, a man catches the birds just to charge people to set them free again, taking advantage of Buddhists who engage in the ritual of “releasing” animals from captivity. Han takes a badly injured sparrow home and