Thu, Jan 03, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan Biennial takes wild turn

SOMETHING TO CONSIDER:Curator Gong Jow-jiun said that the exhibition aims to challenge the idea that contemporary Taiwanese art is Taipei-centric

By Ho Tsung-han and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A driftwood and bamboo structure that was originally created during protests against the construction of the Miramar Resort Hotel in Taitung County stands on the lawn of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts in Taichung on Nov. 9 last year.

Photo: Ho Tsung-han, Taipei Times

The sixth edition of the Taiwan Biennial is on view at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts in Taichung through Feb. 10.

Curated by Gong Jow-jiun (龔卓軍) and Chou Yu-ling (周郁齡), the theme of the show is “Wild Rhizome.” It is divided into five subthemes: “Wild Mountains and Seas,” “Wild Images and Alternative Histories,” “Wild Body,” “Wild Constellation” and “Wild Dwelling.”

As part of “Wild Mountains and Seas,” the artist collective Blessing East Coast has used driftwood and bamboo to build a traditional “Aboriginal meeting place,” on the lawn of the museum.

The installation recreates a structure created by artists during protests against the construction of the Miramar Resort Hotel in Taitung County, organizers said.

Hualien-born artist Rahic Talif used marine debris — including plastics, fishing lines and driftwood — to create a “marine art museum.” The abbreviated Chinese characters for “marine art museum” — haimei or meiguan (海美 or 沒館) — indicate that no one is taking care of the oceans.

In their piece titled +300m Wild Habitat (+300m野棲地), architect Eric Chen (陳宣誠) and artist Lin Yann-lyn (林彥伶) have used plant fiber to create a sculpture of Taiwan suspended in mid-air, allowing viewers to see the nation from a different perspective.

“Wild Images and Alternative Histories” and “Wild Body” feature pieces from the 1960s to the 1980s, including photographer Chuang Ling’s (莊靈) footage of events hosted by Theater magazine and director Chen Yao-chi’s (陳耀圻) documentary The Mountain (上山).

“Wild Dwelling,” on the other hand, portrays a change in people’s concept of home with a surge in real-estate prices in the 1990s.

Artist Chang Li-jen (張立人) created a model of a city based on his childhood memories called Battle City (戰鬥之城).

The exhibition challenges the view of contemporary Taiwanese art as being Taipei-centric and categorized by Western notions of contemporary art, Gong said, adding that it is only natural that the Taiwan Biennial should concern itself with the definition of Taiwanese contemporary art.

As the jewel beetle is the key visual of the biennial, Gong said he hopes that the natural colors of the insect, which has often been used for decoration since ancient times, would inspire a new system of color aesthetics.

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