A young artist-run group named 'Very Temple' formed back about 20 years ago in Taipei Taiwan. At its initial stage, this group has allied with various parties, holding exhibitions on an irregular basis with no fixed exhibition venue, achieving their artistic ideals with guerrilla-like practices. The members of this group might not have imagined that 'Very Temple' could stick to this course for 20 years. It can be said that this group has carved out an evolutionary path of art. In 2006, this guerrilla force with united talents resulted in the establishment of VT Artsalon (hereafter referred to as VT). This first complex gallery in Taiwan is founded by a team of curators and artists, including Wen-Chi Chen, Jui-Chong Yao, Wei-Cheng Tu, Chun-Hao Chen, Sean C. S. Hu, Dar-Kuen Wu, Hui-Yu Su, and Isa Ho. They orientate VT towards transdisciplinary performance, exhibition and exchange, and devote their energies to promoting arts outside the mainstream. Having the spirit of local touch and innovation, VT has made several adjustments to its space in the following years. It made a new start after moving to its new home on Xin-Sheng North Road in 2012, since then it has re-orientated itself towards holding professional exhibitions and developing various interlinking art projects.
In recent years, VT has also invested its efforts on publications. The launch of Very View, an academically independent journal which invites young art critics to write the columns, has provided a platform for new critics to make their voices heard and expanded the spectrum of contemporary art critics. In addition, the members of VT have published several books, such as Mirage and Creating Spaces: Post Alternative Spaces in Asia. The former is a five-volume set (plus an English version of this collection), using huge numbers of images and texts to conduct a field survey of disused public facilities in Taiwan. The later collates various experimental platforms for performances and exhibitions (i.e. alternative spaces) organised by Asian artists since the 1990s, and reports their developments and survival strategies after the Asian financial crisis, thereby investigating their ongoing influence on the art community. As for international exchange, VT has collaborated with Apartment der Kunst (Munich) in a three-year exhibition/residential exchange project, organised exchange exhibitions with am art space (Hong Kong), and has been invited to several art fairs in Busan, Seoul, Gwangju (Korea) and Beijing (China), in addition, we have forged close bonds with many institutions in China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Mexico, Czech Republic, United States of America, Germany, Malaysia and France.
Today, VT places its focus on promoting contemporary art’s diversified development in Taiwan and its sustainable growth on the international scene. In the twenty-year history of VT, it started as an art alliance among several curators and artists born in the late 1960s and the 1970s; then it metamorphosed from an art guerrilla force into an alternative space; and now it has become a strategic partner of international art alliances. Whatever one thinks of the final results, the journey here is definitely worth the ride, for it reflects the strength of contemporary art in Taiwan and its high visibility in the international art scene.