The fourth international Taipei Biennial, held at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM), closes Jan. 23 and has already become noteworthy for provocative work by well-known and emerging artists, as well as for the conflict that emerged between its curators.
\nAdditionally, discussions arose about other problematic issues inherent in the exhibition's structure, such as not commissioning new works, its mediocre budget and its tight time schedule.
\nWhy does the Taipei Biennial hold such global importance and carry such prestige? Isn't it just about pictures hanging on a wall in a museum? Why does it receive so much press locally and internationally? Why do people in the field get so impassioned over it?
\nThis type of major art exhibition, held every two years, comes from the tradition of the 19th-century's fairs, which were aimed at promoting the advancement of the host country's technologies and achievements. The Venice Biennale is the granddaddy of them all, having started in 1895. Art biennials raise a city's profile, thus explaining the mushrooming of biennials around the world: Shanghai, Havana and Istanbul to name a few. Next year one begins in Luanda, Angola.
\nNon-Western countries are catching on to this strategy of bringing in big-name curators and famous artists to mingle with the local ones because it gives cachet to the local scene. International press coverage links the famous artists with the local artists, thus giving a huge jumpstart to the local artists' careers.
\nBiennials also help to strengthen the infrastructure of the local cultural situation by creating more chances for publications and press coverage and reinforcing the various professions of artists, curators, critics and arts administrators.
\nIn Taiwan, the profession of contemporary art is fairly new. When the TFAM opened at the end of 1983, it was the first contemporary art museum in Taiwan and one of the pioneers of contemporary art in Asia.
\nLin Mun-lee (
PHOTOS COURTESY OF SUSAN KENDZULAK
Vaccines are the latest flashpoint inflaming cross-strait tensions between China and Taiwan, as the latter tries to fend off its worst coronavirus outbreak since the pandemic began with a mostly unvaccinated population and the former rails against outside assistance from Taipei’s allies. Global vaccination drives are widely seen as the only way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in Taiwan, just 3 percent of the population has received at least one dose. Now it is battling hundreds of cases a day and does not have enough vaccines for its 23.5 million people. Affected by global shortages, low initial orders and accusations of
Returning to Ciliwa (唭哩瓦) a couple of weeks ago, it took me a few minutes to get my bearings. This time, I’d approached by a different route. It bypassed the village’s so-called “new community” (新社) and brought me direct to the “old community” (舊社). Outsiders won’t notice many differences between these two settlements in an inland and ruggedly hilly corner of Tainan. Both are a mix of traditional single-story homes and more recent reinforced concrete structures. In the “newer” part of the village as in the “older,” several houses are empty, and it’s obvious nobody is trying to maintain them. The “old
With no way to make money during the outbreak and a developmentally delayed third-grader to raise alone, the only thing Mr Lin (林) can do is pray for vaccines. “I just hope that people can get vaccinated and life can go back to usual soon,” Lin says during a Line interview. “It’s unfortunate that Taiwan’s awkward international status prevents us from getting vaccines.” A foot masseuse catering to tourists in Taipei, Lin’s income already took a hit when the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year. With the latest outbreak shuttering massage parlors across the nation, he is now out of a
Harboring an unrequited love for someone is one thing; following them, secretly taking pictures of them and visiting them at work every day is stalking. Chasing down and confronting their new boyfriend (even though he is a horrible person) in the name of justice, is stalking. There’s not really an excuse, no matter how well-intentioned one is. Such behavior features heavily in My Missing Valentine (消失的情人節), which is available on Netflix after bagging five trophies during last year’s Golden Horse awards, including best feature and best director. It’s a skillfully edited and philosophical tale with a sweet and endearing protagonist