Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Taiwan's Top 5 Art Moments for 2007

My article of Taiwan's top 5 art moments was published in the local newspaper.
The photo is Kuo I-chen's installation Wilson. The video in the back shows Tom Hank's Castaway character franctically searching in the sea for the Wilson volleyball. Kuo too is metaphorically searching for his Wilson. Here, Wilson is Kuo's Rosebud.
It’s the end of the year and the Taipei Times fondly looks back at some great art moments and holds its crystal ball to predict 5 up-and-coming artists/trends for the future. In keeping with the festive occasion, we’ll count down just like it’s New Year’s Eve:

5. Tseng Yu-chin曾御欽recently had his video work displayed at Germany’s prestigious Documenta exhibition this summer. What was noteworthy was that he was not filling any quotas or participating in a national presentation. Rather he was included because he’s an exceptional artist ready to participate at an international level. Recently, he went to New York for a 6 month art residency.

4. Sean Hu Chao-sheng胡朝聖. Okay, he’s not an artist. He’s a curator. His first experience was with land art and he’s curated some notable exhibitions this year such as Lin Chuan-Chu’s林銓居rice field/painting studio in Dazhi, Fashion Accidentally at Taipei MOCA and Very Fun Park in Taipei’s eastern district. What is remarkable about Hu’s curatorship is his inclusiveness. He does not only invite ethnic Taiwanese for his exhibitions which most Taiwanese curators tend to do. He includes artists and designers of various ethnicities, gender identification and art practices to participate. Other curators, please take note.

3. One of the best works created this year was by Yao Jui-chung 姚瑞中. Now Yao is no novice as he’s already exhibited in the Venice Biennale, plus numerous other exhibitions. He’s also known for curating shows and authoring several books. But the video he made where he’s slowly goosestepping about the CKS statuary park in Taoyuan hits the zeitgeist right between the eyes. In this age of ‘de-sinicization’, Yao’s mockery of idol statuary is timely, comical and a tad visionary.

2. Number two is not an artist, nor a curator, but rather the notable status of equality of women in Taiwan’s art institutions. Lin Munlee is director to the National Palace Museum, Lai Hsiang-ling finishes her 2 year contract with Taipei MOCA, Hsieh Hsiou-yun is director of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and Ava Hsueh is director of the National Taiwan Museum in Taichung.

1. Hands down ! Our big winner for the year undoubtedly is Kuo I-chen郭奕臣. Kuo seamlessly merges high-tech gadgetry with profound metaphysical concerns making him stand apart in Taiwan’s contemporary art field. He was off to a running start when he first exhibited in a Taipei Biennial in 2004 when he was just a student, well, a grad student. This summer his participation in Thermocline : New Asian Waves at ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany brought him acclaim, plus the Centre Pompidou bought his work for their collection. In October, he had four simultaneous exhibitions that featured work showing a destroyed earth but which provided humanity’s hope for survival. Meanwhile, international curators are flocking to his studio, but the art world will have to wait as Kuo just started his obligatory one-year military duty.

No comments: