Publisher: Taipei Fine Arts Museum
Publication Date: 2020/12/01
Editor: Mao-kang Chen
Translator: Brent Heinrich
In Relational Aesthetics, Nicolas Bourriaud offered a critique of the exhibitions of the 1990s, writing: 'It behooves us to understand the changes nowadays occurring in the social arena, and grasp what has already changed and what is still changing. How are we to understand the types of artistic behaviour shown in exhibitions held in the 1990s, and the lines of thinking behind them, if we do not start out from the same situation as the artists?' In this context, artists view the exhibition site as a miniature social arena. They concern themselves with the condition of humanity and the environment in the modern world, or reflect on the true state of life, or express intense interest in social or public issues. Bourriaud alludes to a form of art that produces a specific social arena, or creates a social circumstance. Ultimately, how can such art promote the modern project of liberation?
This was exactly the original intention of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum when I took office in 2015, to promote 'live exhibitions': Contemporary art aims to establish a new order in the context of art, and at the same time it constantly strives to shatter that order and explore the possibilities of piecing art back together in new ways. Live exhibitions are built on this core, standing on the foundation of live works. They break the linear time structure of static works, and they midwife close relationships among people. As Bourriaud put it, 'Art is the place that produces a specific sociability.' Here, an open, flexible milieu emerges. Here, people can discuss what they see as it takes place. This freedom may be where meaning resides.
From Alice's Rabbit Hole (2015) and Arena (2017) to Between Earth and the Sky: The Spiritual State of Our Times (2020), this is a series of exhibitions with no specifications as to how the artworks must take shape. It is the appearance of contemporary art as it moves toward the realisation of freedom. A diverse world of art is the true practice of art. It is the path to a future in which new culture and new politics continue to develop. At this time the world is shrouded in the shadow of the novel coronavirus. With art centered on this theme, in the form of a live exhibition, will we be able to see art engage in a conversation with the world?