Chrono-contemporary marks the overture of MoCA Taipei’s “Twenty-year Anniversary Exhibition Series.” Curated by Chen, Kuang-Yi, the exhibition title clearly indicates a retrospection of MoCA Taipei’s exhibitions since its inauguration in 2001. However, the exhibition in fact revolves around the “temporality” of contemporary art as well as the contradiction and paradox between “history” and “the contemporary” arising from historicizing contemporary art. In the 1980s, when people started to fully accept and embrace the flourishing and diverse artistic creation in the 60s and 70s, the number of the so-called “museum of contemporary art” or “museum of modern and contemporary art” has also grown exponentially worldwide. On the one hand, the complexity, diversity and obscurity of contemporary art compel audiences to look for its meaning from its origin; on the other hand, contemporary works of art understood and validated through such an approach consequently become a continuation of the past—this process forms the institutionalization and historicization of contemporary art. However, a “museum of contemporary art” is self-conflicting because the objective of such an art museum is to preserve changes in art. It shoulders the mission to consistently explain contemporary art and must strive to achieve a balance between past and present. When the contemporary becomes part of history and we are still living in it, the past and present time also become overlapped and interlaced, which is the core concept of this exhibition.
This exhibition first systematically chronologizes MoCA Taipei’s exhibitions presented in the past two decades and replaces “artworks” with “exhibitions” to unfurl a scope of exhibition history. The writing of exhibition history means to alter the perspective of writing art history: instead of fixating on judging the authenticity, relation, quality of a certain object and deciding whether it is to be considered art or not, the focus is shifted to the following questions: How are these objects used by people? When and where do people use what objects or artworks to deliver what meanings and contents to whom? What are the exhibition conditions and methods? This exhibition re-deploys the selected exhibitions and juxtaposes them with other exhibitions taken place in the past to facilitate new dialogues between curators and artists in the past and at present time while engendering interactions between past audiences and the audience today. This process of repeated dialogues is like a Möbius strip and aims to unravel and revitalize existing ideas about history.
Therefore, invited by the curator Chen, Kuang-Yi, various curators and artists have returned to MoCA Taipei with their previous exhibitions, including Lai, Ying-Ying and Lan Wen-Yu who co-curated MoCA Taipei’s inaugural exhibition in 2001, The Gravity of the Immaterial; Kao, Chien-Hui who curated Trading Place: Contemporary Art Exhibition in 2005 to question the nature of museums of contemporary art; Hu, Yung-Fen who curated the popular exhibition in 2009, The Simple Art of Parody; Ming Turner who curated Post—humanist Desire in 2013 that featured advanced technological issues; Sean C. S. Hu who curated Spectrosynthesis— Asian LGBTQ Issues and Art Now in 2017, the first LGBTQ art exhibition ever hosted by an official art museum in Asia; and artists of different generations, such as Chen, Chien-Pei, Jun-Jieh Wang, Kuang-Yu Tsui, Wei-Hui Hsu and Chiu, Chen-Hung, who presented solo exhibitions at the experimental space MoCA Studio in the 2010s. As the curators and artists re-engage in various topics, representing, replicating, remaking, renewing or supplementing new contents, these exhibitions are the past exhibitions but not quite; so are the curators, the artists and the artworks. Respectively, they have returned with different perspectives, attitudes, identities and positions, orchestrating a banquet of MoCA Taipei’s exhibition from past twenty years for the audience in 2021. In addition, curator Tsai Yin-Chin, who specializes in the study of artist books, is invited to curate an exhibition for R105, which features the exhibition catalogues of every one of MoCA Taipei’s exhibitions in the past two decades, transforming R105 into a survey site of exhibitions.