Collector Wayne Cheng is the chairman of Auspic Paper, a Taipei-based paper company dedicated to fostering connections with local artists. With a family history in paper-making spanning three generations, Cheng has long felt connected to the collective desire to express and communicate with one another.
The graphic side of the paper industry saw considerable decline since giving way to digitisation, leading the Taiwanese arts patron to turn his attention to the different ways that paper feeds into various cultural aspects of life, particularly contemporary art.
Cheng's deep interest in the arts led him to support creative talents within Taipei's creative community. Auspic Paper began to focus on sponsoring local talents, collaborating and funding various projects with visual artists, graphic designers, editors, and publishers. Consequently, Cheng's business has become a cultural platform that provides a space for Taiwanese artists to develop their thinking and practice.
Cheng's fascination with art began from a young age. One of his most treasured childhood memories was when his father took him to Hilo Chen's studio in New York. Cheng recalls, 'I can still remember the smell of those paintings today. That memory has stayed and nurtured my attachment to art ever since.'
After working in Hong Kong from 2007 to 2015, Cheng returned to Taiwan where he became absorbed in the 2014 Sunflower Student Movement, a student-led protest that capsized the country's political landscape and momentarily took hold of the national legislature. Cheng mentions several millennial generation of artists—Chen Ching-Yuan, Lin Guan-Ming, Hsieh Mu-Chi, and Cheng Po-Tsung—who are making compelling and contemplative works in the wake of the movement.
In 2020, Cheng began collaborating with artist Lin Guan-Ming to create an art installation to be displayed concurrently with the 2021 Taipei International Book Exhibition.
After months of preparation, the exhibit was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Refusing defeat, Cheng and his team recreated the installation in the Auspic Paper office and warehouse in New Taipei City in April 2021.
On the resulting exhibition Memento (12 April–28 May 2021), Cheng explained, 'Instead of focusing on the book as a product, we wanted the installation to encourage visitors to appreciate the often neglected differences between perceiving an image on a printed medium versus digitally displayed.'
Memento brought together an array of creatives from Taiwan's art and literary circles, highlighting the importance of differing perspectives across the Taiwanese arts community.
Below is a selection of Cheng's favourite artworks on view on Ocula.
Main image: Wayne Cheng. Photo: Chih Hsien Chen.