Fine arts museum sends works to Russia

‘ROSE OF MODERNITY’::The exhibition would allow Russian audiences to see the real Taiwan by showcasing more than half a century of photography and video art

By Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Sep 20, 2019 - Page 2

Works from the collection of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts in Taichung are to be exhibited in Russia’s Siberia region for the first time.

Ninety-five pieces by 35 Taiwanese artists examining the transformation of Taiwan’s society since the 1960s are in Behind the Mask: Rose of Modernity (透視假面:甜楚現代性), which was curated by Yunnia Yang (楊衍畇), Andrey Martynov and Sergey Kovalevsky. It opened on Wednesday and runs through Nov. 18 at the Ploshchad Mira center.

The concept for the theme originated with US psychologist Erving Goffman’s theory on the theater arts, Yang said on Wednesday last week.

Goffman believed the role of an artist is that of a mediator who takes the audience behind and in front of the stage and through everyday life and the rituals of the theater, Yang said.

Overseas communities have mostly learned about Taiwan through the media, like “looking at the psychology and lifestyle of Taiwanese society while wearing a mask,” she said.

The exhibition allows Russian audiences to see the real Taiwan by showcasing more than half a century of documentary, surrealist and conceptual photography among other forms, as well as video art, she said.

Rose of Modernity refers to the sacrifices Taiwanese society has made for economic and technological development over the past few decades, Yang said.

The exhibition focuses primarily on photography, which, along with video art, did not receive much attention in Siberia until the 21st century, she said, adding that she hopes it will foster dialogue between the art circles of Taiwan and Russia.

Taiwan’s international situation is difficult, so artistic and cultural exchanges are a rare opportunity, said participating photographer Shen Chao-liang (沈昭良), who is to visit Russia for the first time.

One of the pieces is Dwelling (棲居如詩), which was created by Yuan Goang-ming (袁廣鳴), one of the two video artists in the exhibition.

Dwelling, which shows the explosion of a living room inside an aquarium, reveals the instability of the middle-class family behind a facade of happiness, Shen said.

Chang Chao-tang (張照堂), Chen Chin-pao (陳敬寶), Chi Po-lin (齊柏林), Huang Ming-chuan (黃明川), Kao Chung-li (高重黎), Daniel Lee (李小鏡), Liu Chen-hsiang (劉振祥) and Yao Jui-chung (姚瑞中) are among the other artists involved.

Behind the Mask: Rose of Modernity is the Taiwan museum’s most important overseas exhibition this year, museum director Lin Chi-ming (林志明) said.

It was created for the 13th Krasnoyarsk Museum Biennale, the theme of which is “Negotiators,” Lin said, adding that over the past few years, Taiwan’s arts circles have encouraged the nation’s participation at biennales around the world.