Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei
10AM - 6PM
EXHIBITIONS & EVENTS
2019 / 07 / 20 Sat.
2019 / 10 / 13 Sun.
10:00 - 18:00
Curator｜Chien-Hui Kao Keep objects as a system. Keep production as a mirror. Keep death as an exchange. Keep the world as a simulacrum. Keep the evil transparent. Keep the majorities silent. Keep your seduction alive. Keep your memory cool. Keep yourself as an other. Keep perfection as a crime. Keep illusion for the end. Keep on line for the while. —Jean Baudrillard, Fragments: Cool Memories III Who am I? Who are we? How close or how far can the distance between our ideals and realities be? Moving away from the contemporary thinking of pursuing the new, Once Upon A Time－Unfinished Progressive Past revisits a humanistic topic－what exactly are the life stories, daily events, social milieu and attitude towards the world that have shaped today’s contemporary art and its spirit? From “cold societies” to “cold memories,” we have only been able to see the glistening event horizon of art without being able to penetrate the black holes of history. The development of Taiwan’s modern and contemporary art has been under the influences of various factors, such as the indigenous, immigration, colonialism and nationalism. Cultural perspectives have led us onto a process informed by definition, translation, mistranslation and transgression, trapping Taiwan’s contemporary art in an anchorless state of perpetual anxiety. Once Upon A Time－Unfinished Progressive Past employs the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei as a temporary site to re-examine the spiritual origin, historic scenes and conversion of artistic language that have contributed to the emergence of contemporary art at the early stage through the memories and imagination of contemporary artists. By doing so, the exhibition re-explores the unresolved issue loaded with the following questions: “Whose contemporary? Whose art? Whose history?” “Once upon a time” refers to the crucial germinating stage and the influential ecology before contemporary art really took shape. If the mythology of contemporary art still possesses the power of discovering the spiritual potential of the human life, artists’ primary family culture, unrestrained youthful days, the visible and intangible social systems, the infiltration of daily and communication culture have all become sites where the mythology manifests, and at the same time, served as clues to examine the development of the contemporary art today. These spiritual legacies from the early period have grown in an atmosphere charged by dreams, taboos, repression, emptiness and reality, and are converted into blueprints, readymades, paintings, videos, music, objects, films, buildings, popular culture, newspaper messages, etc., to display visual landscapes oscillating between imagination and reality and transform artworks into a bridge connecting art and society. Once Upon A Time encompasses the life and cultural memories of three post-war generations as well as the repressed and upheaval past they have shared, employing visual art to represent taming, confusion, imitation, resistance, self-adjustment that speak individual and collective search for an outlet. In addition to delineating the triangular zone with unclear boundaries, demarcated by the contemporary era, art and history, the exhibition also reveals the unfinished modern consciousness, colonial consciousness and the consciousness of mechanism in four decades. The sixteen artists and their collaborators featured in this exhibition respectively demonstrate the impact of collective memories and their aesthetic approaches. With connections formed through détourment (rerouting) and dérive (drifting), artists have shaped the relations between individuals and society while allowing the unfinished border of contemporary art and the unknown black holes of consciousness - those that are unescapable and outside of contemporary art - to resurface - the unfinished imagination of national territory, social constraints, influences of the West and all the wild dreams. According to the choreographic route, artists and their works on view in the exhibition include Leo LIU’s Resistance is Beautiful Series, Ruey-Shiann SHYU’s Nine Dreams －Hopscotch, a new version of The War That Never Was by Chien-Chi CHANG, Dean-E MEI’s Youthful Taiwan, Yu-Ping KUO’s The House She Wants to Build, I-Fan WANG’s 02-06, Kacey WONG’s Absolute Loneliness Installation, Chun-Yi CHANG’s This Is Very Simple So I Can Do It, Juin SHIEH’s Chora－Endless Interpretation, Jun-Honn KAO’s Smoke, Hung-Yi CHEN’s Rewriting Les règles de l'art, Ideal House created by Beautiful Construction (Yu-Ting LIN, Chien-Chih LIN, Jin-Ann LIN, Tzung-Kuei LIN, Chia-Hsuan YANG, Wen-Long XIAO). Jun-Yuan HONG’s Where Do You Come From?－1981, Che-Yu HSU’s Single Copy, Shake’s 1989, and Li-Ren CHANG’s Battle City－SNG Specials. The museum’s research team also produces a chronological timeline with rich literature about the debates and popular culture in Taiwan’s modern and contemporary art scenes.
Leo Liu was born in 1962 in Pingtung, Taiwan. After attending the Fu-Hsin Trade and Arts School in Taipei, he served in the army, got a job, and then proceeded to pursue a higher education. He opened the Dogpig Art Café in southern Taiwan in 1999, which was in business for 15 years. He has always paid close attention to social practice that focuses on labor issues and civic awareness, with concepts of hybridism applied in his endeavors. He remains till this day an activist that continues to take part in marches and resistance movements. Liu’s art explores gestures of painting and contemplates on the meaning behind existence, examining political subjectivity examined and reflecting on the labor that takes place behind aestheticism, as seen with the labor that goes into framing paintings and other aspects related to the consumer society. He spends a great deal of his time contemplating on everyday details and also on the act of painting. Liu’s oeuvre is a culmination of his philosophy and art practice, which shows the relationship between him and resistance movements.
Ruey-Shiann Shyu was born in 1966 in Taipei, Taiwan. He studied at the Aix-en-Provence Art College in France from 1992 to 1997, majoring in plastic art, and graduated in 1997 as the first place recipient of the French National Senior Diploma in plastic expressions. Specializing in kinetic sculptures and mechanical installations, Shyu uses his art to explore life’s intrinsic qualities and inner elements and sees art making as a path for spiritual training in life. He incorporates feelings of lightness / heaviness. and coolness / warmth derived from scenarios in life into complex mechanical structures and creates artworks of poetic philosophical quality that transcend beyond the limitations of the media applied. Presenting mechanical aesthetics composed with minimal visual imageries and precision, Shyu proposes his thoughts and reflections on life and the environment through a worldview set in a “mechanical universe”.
Born in Taichung, Taiwan in 1961, Chien-Chi Chang received his MA from Indiana University in 1990. He started his professional career as a photojournalist in 1991, and later joined Magnum Photos. Chang’s work centers on people living in foreign lands and refers to his own experiences of living in the US and Austria. Through his work, Chang explores separation and connection that surface in issues of immigration, migration and the formless restraints on life in politics, economy and environment. Chang is the recipient of various prestigious awards, among which are “Picture of Year” awarded by the National Press Photographers Association (1998 & 1999, USA), World Press Photo (1998 & 1999, the Netherlands), Visa d'Or at Visa Pour L’image (1999, France) and the Humanistic Photography grant awarded by the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund (1999).
Born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1954, Dean-E Mei holds an MFA from Pratt Institute in New York. He studied fine art at Chinese Culture University, and after graduation, he felt the system under martial law was smothering his creative work about social issues and decided to pursue a higher education in the US. He returned to Taiwan in 1993 when Taiwan had entered a “post-martial law era,” during which traditional systems and values were rapidly collapsing and chaos prevailed in the social, political and cultural scenes. Mei draws inspiration from his observation of political issues and reflections upon the question of identity. His work is informed by symbols that are highly politically charged and represents his humorous responses to contemporary issues or events taking place at the time. His artistic vocabularies, which simplify the complicated and preserve the essential, dissolve the impact of contradictions with a sense of humor, and his seemingly paradoxical arrangement of graphic, linguistic and spatial elements allows an alternative logic for the interpretation of things. Through subversive approaches, the artist immerses his audience in incredible fun as they decipher his witty works.
Yu-Ping Kuo was born in 1986 in Nantou, Taiwan, and she received her master’s degree in trans-disciplinary arts from Taipei National University of Arts. Kuo’s art practice includes a diverse range of genres, including painting, video, installation, and performance. She uses art to express the missing elements or insufficiencies between her own experiences in life and what is considered Big History, including issues involving her personal memories, the Cold War, and the circumstances she encounters. Using the notion of “missing or lacking” to bring forth already determined historical predicaments, Kuo uses trauma and disappointments to support a medley of metaphors, which has become a notable feature in her artworks. She seeks to push or correct “existing” concepts, in order for them to be more aligned with reality and the local mentality. Through her endeavors, she searches for a subjective narrative. Kuo is a recipient of an honorable mention prize for the Taipei Art Awards.
Born in Taiwan in 1990, I-Fan Wang graduated from the Graduate Institute of Information Management, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology. After a period of self-exploration, his passion for films has led him to study directing in the MFA Program in Filmmaking of the Taipei National University of the Arts. Wang is known for his intensely paced nonsensical comedies that mix sarcasm and wit as well as creativity and black humor. Moreover, he has also worked as a cinematographer for films and was a member of the cinematography team of the feature film, Pigeon Tango. Wang has been consistently creating short films in recent years. His Wedding, Funeral, Birth and Celebration was nominated for the 2016 Youth Film Festival, and 02-06 won the Excellence Prize in the category of student films in Golden Harvest Awards in 2018.
Born in Hong Kong in 1970, Kacey Wong holds a BA in Architecture from Cornell University, an MFA in Sculpture from Chelsea College of Art in the UK and a Doctorate in Fine Arts from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia. Wong’s practice mainly involves sculpture, installation and performance. With a sense of absurdity and black humor, his art represents his active participation in social movements, reflects the awareness of “space” in politics and life, and explores social issues of globalization and modernization, displaying an artist’s consistent engagement in social and political issues. He has been featured in the Hong Kong Pavilion in the 11st Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2008 and a recipient of the Award of Hong Kong Sculpture Biennale. His works are included in the collection of Hong Kong’s M+ Museum.
Chun-Yi CHANG was born in Taipei in 1975. Ph. D in Plastic Art and Science of Art, Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and master in Plastic Expression, École Régionale des Beaux-Arts de Rouen. Awarded scholarships from Gerda Henkel Stiftung (Germany) and la Fondation Prospective et Innovation (France), CHANG conducted a postdoctoral research at the School of World Studies (FMSH) under the tutelage of the French thinker François Jullien. During the stay in France, her creation focuses on how to represent between “game/event” the forever lost objects and on how to foreground the persistent eternity of infinite ephemerality. After returning to Taiwan, Chang works as both curator and artist, adopting a dual perspective to reflect upon the possibilities of a mutual symbiosis between creative conception and curatorial practice while exploring ways to prompt creative thought in common and potential, multi-directional connections in various disciplines. The artist’s works have been exhibited in France, New York and Taiwan, and the recent curatorial works include the large-scale exhibitions Daily+—The Second Greater Taipei Biennial of Contemporary Art and Air Plant : Performance Ability within Contemporary Arts.
Born 1961 in Miaoli, Taiwan, Juin Shieh holds a BFA from National Taiwan Normal University, an MFA from Pratt Institute in New York, and a DA from New York University. She is currently a professor at the Department of Arts and Design, National Tsing Hua University. Shieh is known for her visual style and aesthetic vocabulary featuring a female body image constructed with muscular structure and distinctively pronounced linear expression. Intermixing wiping and shading of charcoal drawing with expressive and elusive oil painting, Shieh’s work surfaces as painterly drawings or drawing-like paintings mixed with distinctively personal symbols and metaphors. Her work voices her visual language of the “chora,” which carries her life and memory stemming from the context of representation, derivation and différance.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1973, Jun-Honn Kao holds a PhD in Art Creation and Theory from Tainan National University of the Arts. His art practice mainly focuses on issues about history, the multitude, space and life politics through video art, project-based physical practice, and writing. Using body as an “interface” to convey the conceptual, his art stems from his thinking about artistic subjectivity and creative expression before gradually converting it into physical practice, in which he outlines a political map of the self with physical actions that embody the connections between body and land. His works resemble topographical writings inscribed with his travels, investigating fields and ruins and forming an alternative approach of art-making.
Hung-Yi Chen was born in 1963 in Taiwan. He holds a doctoral degree in sociology from Université de Paris V, and currently teaches at the Doctoral Program in Art Creation and Theory of Tainan National University of the Arts. Chen’s area of research interest is in the sociology of art and also the works by Charles Pierre Baudelaire. Artistically, he focuses his creative practice on using art to engage in spaces and also on dialogue-based artworks. As an art critic and independent curator, Chen was one of the co-curators for the Culture Action of Tropic of Cancer, and other curatorial works he has done include the Kaohsiung international Container Arts Festival and the Post Ecolonialism Project.
Yu-Ting Lin is a visual artist who creates artworks that focus on the subject of house and home. She started her House and Cake Series in 2010, using the visual delight and imaginative gastronomic appeal of cakes to convey the imagery of “home” associated with common residential houses in Taiwan. Lin presented a solo exhibition, Nameless Path, Housewarming, at the Howl Space in Tainan, with works showcasing early hand-drawn architectural renderings. Her artwork, Future Vision, was featured in Wild Rhizome: 2018 Taiwan Biennial.
Architect Jin-Ann Lin holds a doctoral degree from the Graduate Institute of Building and Planning, National Taiwan University. His area of research interest is in the architectural history of congregate housing, and he is the author of the book, Taipei Walkups.disscussing how Taipei walkup apartments become the major type and were massively produced in Taipei.
Chien-Chih Lin is a visual artist that specializes in using wood as his main creative medium. He began by creating artworks that examine the associations between stylistic rhetoric and consumer culture, and in recent years, he has shifted his focus to explore different possibilities with materials left over from production processes. Lin took part in the group exhibition, Artificial Series, presented in 2016 at the Crane Gallery in Kaohsiung, and presented solo exhibitions I Love You Nice to Meet You in 2015 at the Howl Space in Tainan and Izumo VS Shen Yuan in 2012 at the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts in Taipei.
Chia-Hsuan Yang is a curator, art critic, and freelance writer. She managed the Howl Space in Tainan from 2012 to 2018, where she curated exhibitions that explored and focused on the relations of production between art and local knowledge. Some of Yang’s curatorial work includes the exhibition series, Elsewhere and Resistance (2016); Next Art Tainan 2015─14 Artists in 14 Art Spaces; Twilight: The Prospects of Asian Industry, Korea, Japan, Taiwan Collaborative Art Project (2013); and The Province Boys (2013).
Tzung-Kuei Lin currently works in a museum, and he holds a bachelor’s degree from the Department of Architecture, Chung Yuan Christian University, and a master’s degree from the Graduate Institute of Building and Planning, National Taiwan University. Lin is the author of the following books published: Meiji Village on Paper: Disappearing Iconic Architecture in Taiwan; Towards the Ideal of Generalist Professionals and the Failure: Interviews with Members of the Graduate Institute of Building and Planning, NTU (I); Iconic Public Buildings in Modern Taiwan Illustrated; and Brick Taiwan.
Wen-Long Xiao worked for over four decades making hand-painted architectural billboards for real-estate companies. He worked at Wenshan Advertising Agency in his earlier years, which was the largest firm of its kind in southern Taiwan. In the 90s, the advent of computer graphics replaced hand-painted billboards, which prompted Xiao to transition into making temple architectural renderings. He founded the Wen-Long Painting Studio in 1993, and has since painted over a thousand temple billboards, which could be seen throughout Taiwan.
Jun-Yuan Hong was born in 1981 in Taiwan, and is currently a candidate in the Doctoral Program in Art Creation and Theory of Tainan National University of the Arts. Hong’s art practice reflects on his own experiences in life and focuses on the interdepended relations between primal human emotions and social structure. He explores inadequacies resulting from broken family of origin and financial distress, and uses art to examine the restoration of inner spirits and the questioning of life under both conditions of material deficiencies and psychological emptiness.
Che-Yu Hsu was born in 1985 in Taipei, Taiwan, and graduated from the Graduate Institute of Plastic Arts, Tainan National University of the Arts. Hsu predominately works with animation, video, and installation art, and specializes in exploring issues on social ethics and problems encountered as people go through life. He places special emphasis on the relations between media and memories, and also examines private and communal memories. He believes in addition to retracing events that had occurred in history through mediation, what is more important is the process of how memories are constructed and perceived. Hsu has been presented with several awards, including the 14th Taishin Arts Award, the Kaohsiung Award, Gold Prize for the New Media Art Category in the National Art Exhibition, ROC, and also the Taoyuan Contemporary Art Award.
Born in Taipei in 1977, Shake’s practice mainly engages in cinematic writing and involves research into Asian geopolitics and archives of personal history, literature, popular culture. The artist also focuses on the experimentation of narratives in systems of cinematic language, symbol and representation as well as relations and construction of collective/individual memory. The various directions in her multifaceted research are represented in an interconnected and mutually referencing way in her video work, which spans the virtual and the real while reflecting the construction of personal history propelled by the influential currents of state apparatus, educational culture and global order. Shake has done multiple international residencies, and her works have been shown in France, Korea, Japan, the US, etc.
Li-Ren Chang was born in 1983 in Taichung, Taiwan, and he holds a master’s degree from the Graduate Institute of Plastic Arts at the Tainan National University of the Arts. Chang predominately works with video installation, conceptual project, and animation, and specializes in using narrative-based approach to formulate virtual worlds that sit at the crossroads of imagination and reality, which reflects on the different occurrences and phenomena observed in the real world. Chang has exhibited in Tokyo, Osaka, Hong Kong, St. Petersburg, Paris, and other cities. He was presented with the Young Art Award at the 2013 Young Art Taipei, shortlisted for the 8th Taishin Arts Award in 2010, and also won rhe first prize for the Kaohsiung Award, Taipei Arts Award, and Taoyuan Contemporary Art Award in 2009.
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