Chinese artist Hong Ling’s (洪凌) solo show marks the debut of his lesser known ink on paper works. After his tour in museums in Europe, the veteran artist will have a showcase in Beijing in the near future. The new series, Seclusion (冥然歸隱), at Taipei’s Soka Art Center skillfully connects contemporaneity with tradition from both the East and the West, combining the styles of literati painting with modern masters like Jackson Pollock. Hong’s delicate balance of reality and hyper-reality truthfully reflects the tradition of Chinese art, while experimenting with fusions of different media he has successfully transformed the poetics of nature into a unique vantage point of a hidden paradise with little human trace.
■ Soka Art Center (索卡藝術中心), 350 Tiding Blvd Sec 2, Taipei City (台北市堤頂大道二段350號), tel: (02) 2533-9658. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 am to 7pm
■ Until June 11
Photo courtesy of National Museum of History
There is a je ne sais quoi factor in Louis Wu’s (吳敏興) paintings, constantly filled with paradoxes of the beauty and ugliness of life. As a tormented protagonist in and out of hospitals, he is a warrior of life in his own narrative, bearing scars and melancholy on his face in his self-portraits. Wu’s still lifes, among other works, are mostly white and green, as he describes these two colors as tranquil and serene. To him, painting is a spiritual portal that directs him away from the darkness of death. Script (劇本), a survey of his works, serves as a kind of hope and peace that infects the viewer.
■ 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 10 am to 6pm
■ Until Sunday
Photo courtesy of Open Space
Bold eroticism and sensuality are key words to describe the work of Chen Hung-chi (陳泓圻), so visitors are reminded that viewer discretion is advised. His obsession with the male body falls within the tradition of portraiture and still life painting, the metaphorical floral structures evoking the flowers by Georgia O’Keeffe, though packing more punch with brightly contrasting colors. The subtle sexual tension in The Banality Beneath the Skin (他們的庸俗花絮) is filled with longing and desire. While the compositions may seem direct and in your face, Chen’s poetic symbolism and motifs are well composed, combining classicism with a contemporary twist. Taboo is no longer the pressing issue in these works. There seems to be an anxiety reflected in his works, suggesting future climaxes or rejection while redefining the male gaze, a refreshing rendition of exploring sexuality in the tradition of Egon Schiele, Robert Mapplethorpe and Allen Jones.
■ Open Space, Song Shan Cultural & Creative Park (松山文創園區), 113 Guangfu S Rd, Taipei City (台北市光復南路113號), tel: (02) 2766-6822. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 am to 6pm
■ Until June 20
Upon first inspection, Chen Shiau-peng’s (陳曉朋) mesmerizing geometric canvases in The Integral Map III: My Taipei · The Sequel (指鹿圖 III：我的台北 · 續篇) follow an enigmatic sequence, which turns out to be her abstract psycho-geographical memory of Taipei City. Mapping boarders and boundaries, her visual style is logical and sensible. While the implicit process of adventure and discovery of the unknown may seem understated, her clear analytical process serves as a pivotal cross-section in her delicate virtual cartographer’s manuscript. If maps are typically viewed as tools to determine boarders or reveal destinations and locations of hidden treasure, Chen’s paintings are epic poems, inviting viewers onto a virtual journey through the maps she has created in a world that is the Taipei she once knew.
■ Main Trend Gallery (大趨勢畫廊), 209-1, Chengde Road Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市承德路三段209-1號), tel: (02) 2587-3412. Open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 1pm to 6pm
■ Until June 24
Dancing with dinosaurs is perhaps the best way to sum up Lin Tzu-Huan’s (林子桓) A Survival Guide to Icebreaker (破冰指南), a solo show at Yiri Arts, which delves into the sheer awkwardness of socializing. Lin’s playful approach to this subject of existentialism and the human condition has an oddly psychedelic effect, with its neon lights and various installation parts; all of which surrounds the main projection video work titled A Survival Guide to Icebreaker. Humorous phrases like “dancing heats you up and beers cool you down,” and “the dinosaurs went extinct because they were cold blooded,” incite further investigation and interrogation of the ways people interact with each other. Risque imagery of dinosaurs copulating with empty beer bottles and death-like figures appear in his works on paper. In Molly, Lin riffs off of Dance, Henri Matisse’s classic composition from the early 20th century. This mixture of macabre comedy along with the implied fragility of human civilization and art appreciation all add up to a rewarding gallery experience.
■ Yiri Arts (伊日藝術), 4-1, 5, Ln 768, Bade Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市八德路四段768巷5號4樓之1), tel: (02) 2786-3866. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 1pm to 7pm
■ Show Until June 25
The surreal atmosphere emanating from the low saturation of Chou Ming-yi’s (周明誼) works on paper appear to float off the wall of Waley Art at his solo show titled SPACE Garbage (太空垃圾). As the title suggests, the artist draws a connection between technological detritus left in space and intangible cultural debris, hinting at mankind’s selfish ways and suggesting that the damage humans inflict on the environment goes beyond our planet. With no way of telling the appearance of the original structure, Chou has initiated a conceptual interaction with the viewer by inciting the curiosities of what kind of event that has led to the wreckage of such edifice in the first place.
■ Waley Art (水谷藝術), 6, Ln 322, Wanda Rd, Taipei City (台北市萬大路322巷6號), tel: (02) 2301-1821. Open daily from noon to 7:30pm
■ Until June 18
Afghan youth rights activist Wazhma Sayle says she was shocked to see a photograph online, apparently of women dressed in black all-enveloping niqabs and gowns, staging a demonstration in support of the country’s new Taliban rulers at Kabul University. The 36-year-old, who is based in Sweden, later posted a photograph of herself on Twitter dressed in a bright green and silver dress captioned: “This is Afghan culture & how we dress! Anything less then this does not represent Afghan women!” “It’s a fight for our identity,” Sayle said in a telephone interview. “I don’t want to be identified the way Taliban showed
The pandemic seems to be far from over, but the Post Pandemic Renaissance Theater (PPRT) is getting a head start by putting on its first event last Friday: the first round of the Taiwan Monologue Slam. Ten contestants delivered passionate and nuanced pieces on stage, and the audience voted with their phones for two winners who will advance to the local finals in November. There will be four finals in the next year, and each winner is automatically entered into the World Monologue Games regional finals, bypassing the preliminaries. The goal is to eventually get a Taiwan team to next summer’s games,
In an industrial unit on the outskirts of Taipei chefs are plating meals that will never be served in a restaurant: welcome to the world of “ghost kitchens.” Even before the pandemic sent an earthquake through the global restaurant trade, the “Amazonification” of commercial kitchens was well underway, but coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions have fueled explosive growth in Asia. The recent boom in food delivery apps meant customers were already used to having restaurant quality meals quickly delivered to their homes. To meet that demand a growing number of restaurants set up delivery only kitchens — also known as “cloud kitchens”
As we packed up our riverbed camp on a sunny Sunday morning, we looked upstream to the unknown terrain ahead, wondering what surprises lay there. Would we come out on the other side? Or would we be forced to turn around and return to the start, heads hanging low? We had come to the end of the road and were now about to blaze our own trail through over 40km of wilderness to the foot of Jade Mountain. The day before we had gotten a ride up Provincial Highway 29, which follows the Nanzihsian River (楠梓仙溪) through rural Kaohsiung all the