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LOOK: Taipei Fine Arts Museum 2023 + 40th anniversary highlights

February 26, 2023

The Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) is delighted to announce the 2023 highlights, which include two flagship exhibitions, seven solo exhibitions by Taiwanese artists from various generations, and three exhibitions of international collaboration. In addition, the TFAM is launching several special programs to celebrate its 40th anniversary, for which the museum will share the TFAM literature and collection database with the public, initiate an online platform which facilitate novel arts creation, and organize a seminar to engage the public in an open discussion about the museum’s next step.

Key visual for TFAM’s 40th Anniversary

Flagship exhibitions: A One and A Two: Edward Yang Retrospective and the 13th Taipei Biennial

Co-organized by the TFAM and the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute (TFAI), A One and A Two: Edward Yang Retrospective is co-curated by the TFAM Director Wang Jun-Jieh and Professor Sing Song-Yong at the Taipei National University of the Arts. As one of the pioneers spearheading the Taiwan New Cinema movement, Yang’s oeuvre demonstrates insights and critical visions ahead of his time in terms of numerous topics, including urban representation, gender power, political reflection, historical violence, and social change, forming an irreplaceable legacy of the Taiwanese cinema. The exhibition will feature Yang’s manuscripts, documents and archives organized and well-researched during the past three years. Comprising five sections, the exhibition embodies the director’s unique aesthetics and spirit. Moreover, many important works aside from Yang’s feature films, including four plays and his posthumous animation The Wind, are planned to be included in the exhibition to fully map out the creative trajectories and thoughts of the director.

A One and A Two: Edward Yang Retrospective
Edward Yang’s comic draft (ca. 1960s).
Courtesy of Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute.

Co-curated by Taiwanese curator Freya Chou; author, editor and educator Brian Kuan Wood; and curator Reem Shadid, the 13th Taipei Biennial will be grounded by an exhibition, a public program of music, residencies, workshops and various discursive and experiential forms. This biennial takes a closer look at different worlds that are disentangling from larger industrial systems; explores how the pressures of daily life and survival flip the scales on many hyper-performative modern apparatuses, sending their weights and measures haywire, breaking open stubbornly intimate enclosures in a still-growing world. It is hoped that this edition will lead the audience to rediscover, reiterate, and be surprised by what could make a certain lyrical life and creation possible.

Solo exhibitions of artists from senior to new generation

With Ho Te-Lai: A Retrospective, Re-Present: Kao Chung-Li, the 2020 Taipei Biennial Grand Prize winner Chang Ting-Tong’s solo exhibition – BODO, and the solo exhibitions of four artists, the TFAM will showcase the works ranging from senior generation artists to new generation artists.

Ho Te-Lai (1904-1986) was one of the important artists from the period of Japanese rule, who created an individual path outside the system of official exhibitions. His work expresses his thoughts on life, observations and understanding of natural creation, deep affection for his beloved family, as well as his contemplation on and cares for human society. The retrospective teases out the artist’s oeuvre, including calligraphies, watercolors, sketch drawings, short poems, notes, and manuscripts, to present the artist’s creative journey in a multifaceted and comprehensive manner.

Featuring the artist’s brand new pieces and his art series published from 1983 onward, the exhibition Re-Present: Kao Chung-Li seeks to explore the interrelationship among perception, image, and history, respond to the modernization since the Second Industrial Revolution, and investigate how people create the conditions for memory and image production.

Chang Ting-Tong’s solo exhibition, BODO, is inspired by director Huang Mingchuan’s homonymous film, Bodo. Echoing the bizarre dreams and somewhat unreal sexual desires depicted in the film, the artist bases his work on his personal experience and portrays the experience of serving in the marine corps, along with the fantasies, desires, and violent behaviors of a masculine world in a tropical forest. Through the work, the artist further discusses the abstract construct of “man,” and how it gradually becomes a social reality aided by camouflage uniforms and instruments of killing.

For the TFAM Solo Exhibitions, Wang Yao-Yi, Shih Yi-Shan, Chang Yung-Ta, and Jao Chia-En will employ different media and creative thinking to unfold their respective explorations and dialectics of various topics, including the image and personal memory, the social order created by human-machine governance, the randomness of cosmic particles, as well as the narrative structures in exhibition mechanism and the right to speak.

Three exhibitions of international collaboration

In 2023, the TFAM will present three exhibitions of international collaboration, namely, the retrospective of Swiss photographer René Burri, the solo exhibition of Belgian video installation artist David Claerbout, and a thematic exhibition, titled Supernatural: Sculptural Visions of the Body.

René Burri · Explosions of Sight is a collaboration among the TFAM, the Photo Elysée, Lausanne and the Foundation René Burri, and will be the first retrospective of Burri in Asia after the passing of the artist. Burri has been named one of the most influential contemporary photographers. From the iconic image of Ernesto Guevara smoking a cigar to the documentation of the economically awakening Brasilia and Beijing, China in the 1960s, his black-and-white photography has served as a witness to significant 20th-century cultural events. The exhibition will feature more than 500 works, documents and archives, including original vintage photographs, contact sheets, notes, sketch drawings, books, letters and so on.

Video installation artist David Claerbout is known for his works mixing photography, video, sound and digital technologies. By manipulating and experimenting with motion and stillness, time and speed, and sound, the artist destabilizes conventional boundaries between visual media, imbuing his video images with multilayered temporalities. This solo exhibition will showcase a selection from his large-scale video works of 1996, which are to be accompanied by a series of sketch drawings, to construct a unique viewing experience in the high-ceiling gallery.

Supernatural: Sculptural Visions of the Body, a collaboration between the TFAM and Institut für Kulturaustausch, Tübingen, discusses the future of the human body in the Anthropocene era. As biotechnology continues to develop, mankind can modify the existence of all living things. What form will the body take in the future? “Who” or “what” will we become? What kind of environment will we live in? The artists amalgamate robots and synthetic biotechnology to create hyperrealistic sculptures, which prove the influences of digital evolution and genetic engineering on “post-humanity” and the environment, while speaking of the increasingly blurred boundaries between nature, science and culture.

Special projects for the TFAM’s 40th anniversary

To celebrate the 40th anniversary, the TFAM will launch an online database and thematic artist webpages born from several years of endeavor, to share the fruitful results with the public. At the same time, in order to respond to the museum’s expansion which is towards new types of cross-domain or hybrid art creation in the future, a networking project will be commenced. Last but not least, the TFAM is co-organizing an international conference with the Chinese Association of Museums (CAM) to brainstorm and envision the museum’s next stage.

Since its inauguration, the TFAM has accumulated an extensive array of valuable literature and archives. The museum has established the “TFAM Exhibition Archive 1983-1994”, and has digitized archives related to the exhibitions, research, and education outreach programs realized in the museum’s first decade, during which a total of 665 exhibitions were presented. The database will visualize the TFAM’s journey from the initial period of exploring its operation and management to gradually establishing itself as “a modern and contemporary art museum. The thematic webpages – “Special Collection: Ho Te-Lai” comprises a collection of more than a hundred artworks donated by the artist’s family, Ho Teng-Ching, together with calligraphies, sketch drawings, and prints that have rarely been shown in public, as well as the artist’s notes and letters, all of which have been digitized and interpreted. The dedicated webpages will enable the public to read deeply and comprehensively the resonance formed by the unique artist’s life journey, his standpoints on life and death, and artistic creation, offering more diversified perspectives in the research of Taiwanese art history.

“TFAM NET.OPEN” is an online exhibition platform for cross-type artworks, accompanied by irregular virtual and physical public events, to respond to contemporary technological society’s imagination beyond the physical space. With “Net and networking” as the core concept, this project not only covers various creative fields to cope with the ever-changing and evolving network ecology but also deepens the co-creation between the museum and other curators and art institutions around the world.

The “TFAM 40 Conference: New Vision and New Mission of Arts Museum” will take place from October 4 to 6, 2023. Regarding the challenges and opportunities faced by contemporary art museums, the conference will discuss three major topics, including “Art Museums and the Public: The Challenges of Low Birth Rates and Ageing Populations,” “Art Museums and Local Area Renewal,” and “Art Museums and City Images.” The call for papers of the conference has been launched, and the deadline for proposal submission is March 31, 2023. For more information and related documents, please see the TFAM event webpage at https://reurl.cc/X55R9j.

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