Gold Reflection Town (黃金反射町) is a group exhibition of six artists who are currently or have been participants in the Koganecho Artists in Residence Program in Yokohama, Japan. Koganecho is a riverside town that was once known for drugs and prostitution; since 2008, the town has been revitalized into a cultural hub that features fashion shops, cafes, bookstores and an annual art festival that attracts art lovers from around the world. The works featured in the show are all created at Koganecho and serve as “mirrors” that “somehow reflect an aspect of the town,” writes the gallery in a press release. By showing these works in Taipei, the show sheds light on the works by placing them in a new cultural and physical context. The exhibition includes five Japanese artists and one South Korean artist, including Fukuoka-born Yuya Obata who has lived in Koganecho since 2008. Inspired by local neighborhood scenes and natural landscape, Obata creates oil paintings that involve abstractions of his surroundings. Keiso Yo is a Japanese ceramicist of Chinese descent, who is interested in understanding humans from a biological point of view. Her ceramic sculpture Heart is a pristine white representation of the human heart.
■ FreeS Art Space (福利社), B1, 82, Xinsheng N Rd Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市新生北路三段 82 號 B1), tel: (02) 2585-7600, Open Mondays to Fridays from 11am to 5pm, and Saturdays from 1:30pm to 9pm
■ Until Aug. 4
Photo Courtesy of Powen Gallery
Since 2015, Taiwanese artist Tai Hung-lin (戴宏霖) has been developing an ongoing art project that delves into the themes of sex and death. He adapts the idea of “private monogatari” from controversial Japanese photographer Araki Nobuyoshi, who used the term as title for his photographs based on his personal life. Monogatari is a traditional genre of Japanese literature that features a narrative style similar to the epic. Drawing on this storytelling tradition and Araki’s erotic interpretations, Tai’s photographs explore the realm of body consciousness, psychology and private photography. His solo show at Waley Art, Private Monogatari, features a selection of works from this project, including Intimate Monogatari, which depicts a cropped figure of a nude female half submerged in water with an octopus in her hand. Intimate Relationship is shot from a more distance angle; a topless Asian woman gazes at the camera, transfixed, as she lies in a pool of water grass and leaves. Fantasy Monogatari shows an office lady, half-dressed, leaning seductively to one side as she sits beside a water dispenser drinking machine filled with sea creatures.
■ Waley Art (水谷藝術), 6, Ln 322, Wanda Rd, Taipei City (萬大路322巷6號), tel: (02) 2301-1821. Open daily from 10am to 8pm
■ Until July 15
Photo Courtesy of Free Art Space
Powen Gallery presents Heterogeneous Orders, a group exhibition of paintings and sculpture that speak to ideas chaos and order in society. In a press release, the gallery quotes Japanese author Hiroshi Hara from his book 100 Ensenanzas: “If we define ‘lack of order’ as ‘chaos,’ then it is more difficult to present the chaos of things than to establish the order of things.” The challenge described here appears to be an impetus that drives the show, as according to the gallery, “the fascination of the world [lies in] its variability and unpredictability.” The exhibition features three young Taiwanese artists who share an interest in this theme through their disparate practices. Wu Chien-yi (吳芊頤) is a multimedia artist who often creates installations that draw from her reflection on social and cultural phenomena in daily life. Her painting, The Poem of Grilles in Dreamland 2, is a colorful composition of layered geometrical shapes and patterns that are held together by a gridded framework. Huang Fa-cheng (黃法誠) is a painter who creates pictorial narratives that speak to environmental issues and his personal reflections on society and politics in an urban setting. The artist prefers a working method that involves a bit of humor; through absurd and distorted visions, Huang hopes to encourages awareness and dialogue about the issues between humans and the world we live in.
■ Powen Gallery (紅野畫廊), 11, Ln 164, Songjiang Rd, Taipei (臺北市松江路164巷11號), tel: (02) 2523-6009. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 7pm
■ Until Aug. 12
Photo Courtesy of The General Association of Chinese Culture
Sappho Loh (駱麗真) is a Taiwanese artist and educator who teaches at Shi Hsin University and National Taiwan University. She was the curator for last year’s Digital Art Festival and now heads the newly reopened Digital Art Center in Taipei. Loh’s artistic practice is mainly based in video art, installation and new media art. Her current solo exhibition, I never tell the truth, I don’t like this place at all, at VT Art Salon takes its name from the award-winning indie film Long Time No Sea, which tells a heartfelt story about youth, courage and identity on Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼). Loh’s emotional connection to a line in the film largely determined the direction of her exhibition. It reflects “a status that is always in my mind,” writes the artist. “It contains the process of time and the buildup of anger.” The artist refers to a state of limited agency in which complex layers of pressure develop to add further pressure on the individual. The show features new works that will be unveiled at tomorrow’s opening. Here Loh offers an inviting clue, “When you enter, you can start a conversation with an unknown person, which is also my way of leaving this place.”
■ VT Art Salon (非常廟藝文空間), B1, 17, Ln 56, Sec 3, Xinsheng N Rd, Taipei City (台北市新生北路三段56巷17號B1), tel: (02) 2597-2525. Open Tuesdays to Fridays from 11:30am to 7pm, and Saturdays from 1:30pm to 9pm
■ Until Aug. 4
Photo Courtesy of Waley Art
The General Association of Chinese Culture is currently hosting Local Hero, a group show of Taiwanese comic artists who share an interest in history. Many of the authors combine elements of culture, science fiction and faith in their development of fictional heroes that are grounded in the locality of Taiwan. “The works we have chosen are specifically Taiwanese and feature iconic heroic figures,” says the association in a statement. Chiu Row-long (邱若龍) is known for his realist drawing style and his long-term devotion to Taiwanese Aboriginal history. In 1990, Chiu created Taiwan’s first Aboriginal history comic, Musha Incident. His works later inspired the celebrated film Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale by Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖). Au Tui is a legendary science fiction comic artist whose detailed, fine drawings often pushing aesthetic boundaries. Since the 80’s, Au Tui has been a pioneer of the Taiwanese cartoon scene, creating award-winning books that have become collectable classics.
■ The General Association of Chinese Culture (中華文化總會), 15 Chongqing S Rd, Taipei City (台北市重慶南路二段15號), tel: (02) 2396-4256. Open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10am to 5pm
■ Until Aug. 19
Photo Courtesy of Powen Gallery
With listicles of local attractions including Costco and numerous children’s playgrounds, I was not expecting much. Opened on Jan. 31, the Taipei MRT’s Circular Line, or Yellow Line, made life in the nation’s capital even more convenient. But judging from Internet search results, it hasn’t opened up many new tourism opportunities, unsurprising as the route mostly crosses densely populated areas and industrial parks. Places like a sports stadium with rainbow colored bleachers perfect for Instagram selfies wouldn’t do it for me either, and it’s pointless to list attractions at the connecting stops that have existed for years. As a history nerd, there
June 1 to June 7 In February 1988, Robert Wu (吳清友) set aside NT$17.5 million to purchase two Henry Moore sculptures from London’s Marlborough Gallery. He never bought the pieces. Feeling slighted that the gallery manager initially looked down on him as a Taiwanese, he decided that night to use the money to open his own art space back home. “Without selling any art, that money could support the gallery for four years. If I feature one artist per month, that provides a stage for at least 100 artists,” Wu said in the book Eslite Time (誠品時光) by Lin Ching-yi (林靜宜).
The Lunar New Year vacation had just ended when Alice Wu began to worry about COVID-19. Not long after, on Feb. 10, Wu — who didn’t give her Chinese name to speak freely for this story — received the first of several coronavirus-related sales messages through her smartphone. The pitch came from an acquaintance who represents Amway, an American multi-level marketing (MLM) company that’s been active in Taiwan since 1982. “I’ve only met her once, and I’ve never bought from her. If her sister wasn’t one of my daughter’s teachers, I’d probably block her,” says Wu, who lives in Taichung. MLM, sometimes
It’s difficult to watch Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, a four-hour Netflix series on the now-deceased convicted sex offender without a choking sense of outrage. How many girls had to suffer to get attention? How perversely twisted is the American justice system that a Gatsby-esque billionaire, friends with such powerful figures as Bill Clinton , Prince Andrew and Donald Trump, a longstanding donor to Harvard and MIT, could buy his way out of an almost certain life sentence for child sex abuse and trafficking? Filthy Rich arrives, of course, less than a year after Epstein, 66, died, officially by suicide, in a New