The Red thread –Dream of 49 days is a solo exhibition by South Korean installation artist Hyewon Park. Park drapes red string over black umbrellas to serve as a metaphor for life and death. Specifically it examines the folk belief that the soul wanders the world for 49 days before moving on to its next incarnation. Each of the 49 umbrellas contain a book meant to serve as a kind of ghostly diary, divulging how the ties that “entangle” people in life — between humans and objects, animals and dreams — are gradually cut as the new life approaches. The idea of the red string plays off a number of cultural symbols — in the Asia, red string binds couples together — dating back to antiquity.
■ Barry Room, Taipei Artist Village (台北國際藝術村百里廳), 7 Beiping E Rd, Taipei City (台北市北平東路7號), tel: (02) 3393-7377. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11am to 9pm
■ Until April 14
Seeing Through Shadows brings together the work of three Japanese photographers: Araki Nobuyoshi, Moriyama Daido and Suda Issei. The exhibition serves to illustrate how photographic art repositioned itself and faced new challenges in Japan from the end of World War II to the 1970s. These artists made a definitive break with the pre-war photographic tradition, which mainly sought to mimic the aesthetic language of painting. In contrast, the three photographers on display use photography to express their response to dramatic social change. As a result, they and others gradually developed what American photography critic John Szarkowski called “Neo-Japanese photography,” which focused more on the individual style of “snapshots.”
■ Gallery 100 (百藝畫廊), 6, Ln 30, Changan E Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市長安東路一段30巷6號), tel: (02) 2536-2120. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11am to 7pm
■ Until April 21
Chinese artist Zhu Chunlin’s (朱春林) solo exhibition, Quietness and Peace (靜謐之在), reveals a realist painter of growing power and sophistication. His portraits and figurative works of women and children suggest in pastoral scenes and mannerist rooms suggest a life of leisure. But the sad expressions on their face reveal that something isn’t right in these scenes of apparent domestic bliss.
■ Elsa Art Gallery (雲清藝術中心), 3F, 1-1 Tianmu E Rd, Taipei City (台北市天母東路1-1號3樓), tel: (02) 2876-0386 Open Wednesdays to Sundays from 1pm to 7pm
■ Until April 21
Distilling the Soul’s Fragrance : Traditional Chinese Incense Culture (靈臺湛空明 －傳統香文化展) is an exhibit that provides a whirlwind tour of the uses of incense holders and the fragrant sticks themselves over the past thousand years. Whether as a status symbol of class or used in religious ceremonies as a means to achieving immortality, or as a sign of literary refinement, to its common use in folk culture, incense has always been an important part of Chinese culture.
■ National Museum of History (國立歷史博物館), 49 Nanhai Rd, Taipei City (台北市南海路49號), tel: (02) 2361-0270. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 6pm. General admission: NT$30
■ Until May 5