If the Taipei Biennial ever had a political goal, it was the amicable diplomacy of art.
But this year the brand of cross-strait bickering usually reserved for government officials has intruded on an exhibition that since 1998 has put the Taipei Fine Arts Museum on contemporary art's international map.
The 2002 Taipei Biennial, curated by Bartomeu Mari of Spain and Taiwan's Jason Wang (
PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES
The opening, held last night, attracted critics and curators from Lyons to Beijing, who had all come to see an exhibition conscientiously designed around artifice, spectacle and the spaces in which people live and act. Its theme is "Great Theater of the World."
The behind-the-scenes intrigue comes from the dark world of politics.
The drama began in March at Brazil's Sao Paulo Biennial, where the Chinese government put pressure on organizers to remove the word "Taiwan" from Taiwan's national pavilion, making it the only one of around 70 national pavilions not designated by a country. The pavilion's entrance merely read "Taipei Fine Arts Museum."
In response, Taiwan's representative artist, Chang Chien-chi (
Chang, a photographer devoted to social issues that are more or less borderless, is not part of this year's biennial, but Wang Gong-hsin (
Word of Wang's presence broke yesterday in a Chinese-language newspaper, which raised the question of his involvement in the Sao Paulo incident.
Museum officials, Wang and the art world in general, denounced the allegation as ridiculous.
Wang, in fact, called the article "amusing," but refused to enter into any debate, saying that as an artist it was more suitable to remain in the province of art.
Taiwanese sources also defended Wang.
The co-curator of the 2000 Taipei Biennial, Manray Hsu (許文瑞), who was also in Sao Paulo, said of the censorship incident, "It had more to do with the [Chinese] government. They were the source of the pressure."
Museum director Huang Tsai-lang (
Even the beleaguered Chang said, "There's no proof of Wang's involvement."
Though the buzz of controversy was still building at last night's opening ceremony, but visiting artists were not impressed.
"The reason we have these exhibitions is to move away from these stupid boundaries and limitations," said Edwin Zwakman, an artist from the Netherlands.
"This is not a propaganda game for governments," he said.
For more information on the art work in the 2002 Biennial, see tomorrow's features page.
UNCREWED CRAFT: A lack of domestic components and engine outsourcing show the need for Taiwan to develop a local drone supply chain, an analyst said The development of a fully domestic drone manufacturing supply chain is crucial to Taiwan’s ability to use the uncrewed aircraft effectively during wartime, a recent report from the Institute for National Defense and Security Research said. Ukraine’s experience in resisting Russia’s invasion demonstrated that civilian drones can provide valuable intelligence during wartime, but they must be manufactured domestically to ensure that foreign component makers cannot take control of the devices, the report said. In the report, institute researcher Chen Po-hung (陳柏宏) analyzed the security of Taiwan’s drone supply chain. Ukrainians have used civilian drones to locate Russian convoys and other targets, he said,
In the last few days before the local elections on Saturday, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said it is focusing on 10 regions it considers highly contested areas, while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said it is stepping up campaigns across the nation. The DPP considers Keelung, Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu City, and Maoli, Yilan, Nantou, Penghu, Changhua and Yunlin counties as areas where its candidates are facing fierce competition, a party source said. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Vice President William Lai (賴清德) and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) plan to visit those areas again this week, the source said. The night before the elections,
VOTERS’ CHOICE: The DPP’s Chen and independent candidate Huang conceded defeat before 7:20pm, with Chiang pledging to remain humble and do his best Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) yesterday won the Taipei mayoral election, with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate defeating the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) pick, former minister of health and welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), and former Taipei deputy mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), an independent. After polling stations closed at 4pm, the Taipei Election Commission issued a preliminary estimate that voter turnout in the city was about 64 percent, slightly lower than in 2018. Chiang, 43, is to be the youngest Taipei mayor ever, with the KMT regaining the capital after eight years. Chen had an exceptionally high national approval rating when he was head
A naval landing craft on Thursday sank near Kinmen County after wet weather and rough seas flooded its cabin, the Naval Fleet Command said. The vessel, called Landing Craft Mechanized 1326, had completed transport and replenishment missions in the county and was returning to Taiwan proper when surging waves flooded the cabin, the navy said in a statement. The craft’s five crew members tried to bail out the water to no avail, the Navy said. The landing craft eventually sank off Kinmen’s Liaoluo Bay (料羅灣) at 5:18pm, although all crew members rescued, it said, adding that the precise cause of the sinking