Tue, Jun 19, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Taiwan prevails at Prague show

QUADRENNIAL ARGUEMENT Beijing pulled its entrants out of the stage design and theater exhibition after failing to force the organizers to change Taiwan's name

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwanese artists' insistence on participating in an international exhibition in the Czech Republic resulted in China withdrawing from the event because it failed to force the sponsor to add "China" after Taiwan's title.

The 2007 Prague Quadrennial, which opened last thursday and runs through Sunday, is the world's largest scenograhic exhibition of contemporary stage designs and theater architecture.

Scenery designers from more than 60 countries are participating in the Quadrennial this year, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Taiwan is participating under the name "Taiwan."

The Czech Ministry of Culture and the International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians (OISTAT), a group affiliated with UNESCO, are the sponsors of the exhibition.

Taiwanese artist Chang Wei-wen (張維文) is the executive director and vice president of the OISTAT. The organization's secretariat moved from the Netherlands to Taiwan in January last year.

Chang said that during the preparations for this year's exhibition, China pressured the sponsors to merge the Taiwanese artists with the Chinese exhibition. He said it also asked that the word "China" be added to Taiwan's title. But the sponsors refused and China withdrew in protest, he said.

Chang said Beijing had made the same demand at the 2003 show. Without consulting Taiwan or the sponsors, Chinese representatives hung a plaque with the word "China" next to the Taiwan nameplate in the Taiwanese section.

Czech organizers removed the additional name plate, Chang said.

The Web site for the Prague Quadrennial originally listed Taiwan as "Taiwan, China," but the listing was changed to "Taiwan" after the Taiwanese protested.

Each country has an exposition day during the event and "Day of Taiwan: The Taste of Taiwan" was held yesterday.

Cultural Affairs Council Chairwoman Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) was in Prague last week for the Quadrennial. On Friday, Wong presented the show's top award to German designer Julia Wurst.

Wong said art and culture should not be politicized.

"We think China should have stayed in the event so that all the designers and students could have a chance to learn from one another," Wong said on Friday.

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