AUSTRALIA is a country of extremes. It is the only nation to govern an entire continent yet its population is less than that of the island of Taiwan. It is the driest inhabited landmass on Earth even though it is surrounded by vast reservoirs of water. It is home to the oldest continuing cultural traditions in human history—the Australian Aborigines Dreamtime—dating 40000 to 60,000 years, but it is also one of the most multicultural and advanced societies made of Indigenous peoples and migrants from all over the world.
Over the past twenty years Australia has been developing strong relations with Asia, including Taiwan, primarily through trade, investment, and research and development cooperation. Its resilient economy and highly respected judicial system have made it a sought after business partner in the region. According to the United Nations Human Development Index it is one of the best places in the world to live, and increasingly young Taiwanese choose to study in Australia obtaining world-class education while enjoying the good atmosphere. Even so, for most Taiwanese the country remains a mystery and many still hold stereotypes about it, notions of which should have long expired.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei is proud to present “WONDERLAND: New Contemporary Art from Australia” as the first survey exhibition of Australian art in Taiwan in the new millennium. The exhibition aims to express the dynamic processes of rethinking Australia’s identity and its place in the Asia-Pacific region. It promotes the values of respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, openness and tolerance, creative innovation and excellence, and a growing sense of environmental responsibility.
Further, in surveying contemporary art the exhibition brings an unusual cross-section of media, art forms and processes: found objects sit next to hand-made sculpture; documentary video next to abstract moving images; paintings next to interactive installations. Explored in their own right the 45 artworks created by 27 artists and several production teams, offer diverse pathways leading to another kind of wonderland: one found in inspiration, curiosity, and unexpected encounters.
A great work of art can take us to places in our heart, soul and mind impossible to reach by other means. It is how culture is shared between one place and another, we experience it in our own unique individual way but the exchange and sharing benefits us all as a community. We all hope the exhibition expresses not only a fresh proposition of Australia but also new ways of thinking about and exploring art.