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Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible Ocula Report Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible 17 Apr 2019 : Federica Bueti for Ocula

I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...

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Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui Ocula Conversation Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui

The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...

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The National 2019: New Australian Art Ocula Report The National 2019: New Australian Art 13 Apr 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...

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Ocula Magazine

Taipei Dangdai: Art Fair as Ecosystem Ocula Report Taipei Dangdai: Art Fair as Ecosystem 25 Jan 2019 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

There was a great connection between the first edition of Taipei Dangdai (18–20 January 2019), staged on the 4th floor of the Nangang Exhibition Center, and the 11th Taipei Biennial, Post Nature—A Museum as an Ecosystem (17 November 2018–10 March 2019). Installed at the fair's entrance was John Yuyi's live tree, I Tree to Call You (2018),...

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Magnus Renfrew Ocula Conversation Magnus Renfrew

Magnus Renfrew has twice been named by ArtReview as one of the 100 most influential figures in the international art world. In 2008, he came to prominence in Asia's art world and within the wider global scene when he was appointed founding director of Art HK. The fair was subsequently acquired by MCH Group and re-branded in 2013 under Renfrew's...

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Taipei Dangdai Lowdown: Shows to See Ocula Report Taipei Dangdai Lowdown: Shows to See 11 Jan 2019 : Tessa Moldan for Ocula

Founded by the same team behind Art HK—Magnus Renfrew, Tim Etchells, Angus Montgomery, and Will Ramsay—Taipei Dangdai, opens to the public after much anticipation on 18 January 2019 at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center. Running until 20 January, the fair will feature 90 galleries from around the world, including David Zwirner, Esther...

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Victoria Sin Ocula Conversation Victoria Sin

If a multiplicity of being can be truly embodied, Victoria Sin comes close. Sin's practice spans performance, moving image and writing, with the artist adopting personas in their work that are multiple, and thematics that are intersectional. With a master's in Print from the Royal College of Art, a programme that examines the digital circulation of...

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11th Taipei Biennial: ‘creativity and crises’ Ocula Report 11th Taipei Biennial: ‘creativity and crises’ 21 Dec 2018 : Natalie King for Ocula

Stealthily installed in the basement of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum as part of Post Nature—A Museum as an Ecosystem, the 11th Taipei Biennial co-curated by Mali Wu and Francesco Manacorda (17 November 2018–10 March 2019), are Pteridophilia 1, 2, and 3 (2016–2018), an erotically charged series of videos by Beijing-born and Hong Kong-based...

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Charwei Tsai Ocula Conversation Charwei Tsai Artist

Taiwanese artist Charwei Tsai's memorising and compulsive writing of the Heart Sutra—a Buddhist scripture that distills the wisdom of impermanence—is at the heart of her practice. Over the past ten years, Tsai has moved from writing to drawing, photography, and film—a selection of which is being presented at the Centre for Chinese...

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Art Taipei 2018: In Flux Ocula Report Art Taipei 2018: In Flux 10 Nov 2018 : Diana d’Arenberg for Ocula

'There is nothing more boring than the story of decline,' a journalist remarked at an art criticism panel I attended the evening before making the trip to see Art Taipei (26–29 October 2018). As I attended the opening night of Asia's oldest art fair, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, those words rang in my head. Wandering up and down...

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Shows to See in Taipei: The Lowdown Ocula Report Shows to See in Taipei: The Lowdown 25 Oct 2018 : Tessa Moldan for Ocula

With the 11th Taipei Biennial (17 November 2018–10 March 2019) and Art Taipei (26–29 October 2018) taking place this autumn, Tessa Moldan gives a rundown of what exhibitions to see at galleries, art spaces and museums across the island nation's capital.Ma Paisui: Trips of LifeAsia Art Center Taipei II, 93 Lequn 2nd Rd, Zhongshan District25...

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Sanyu: An Introduction to a Modern Master Ocula Report Sanyu: An Introduction to a Modern Master 11 May 2018 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

Sanyu's Still Life of Flowering and Fruit Plant with a Green Ground, an oil on masonite panel dated between 1950 and 1965, presents a plant brimming with aspirations of wealth, or in the artist's case, memories of it. Painted against a rich olive backdrop, Chinese symbols of good fortune, from peaches to pomegranates, grow from branches amid green...

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Kit Hammonds and Ingrid Chu Ocula Conversation Kit Hammonds and Ingrid Chu Initiators of 'The Editorial' at the Taipei Biennial 2016

Organised in conjunction with the Taipei Biennial 2016, Gestures and Archives of the Present, Genealogies of the Future: A New Lexicon for the Biennial, curated by Corinne Diserens, The Editorial was a series of events, exhibitions, and discussions focused on independent arts publishing in Asia. Held over two days (10 to 11 December, 2016) at the...

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The 2016 Taipei Biennial: 'Gestures and Archives of the Present, Genealogies of the Future: A New Lexicon for the Biennial' Ocula Report The 2016 Taipei Biennial: 'Gestures and Archives of the Present, Genealogies of the Future: A New Lexicon for the Biennial' 20 Oct 2016 : Reema Salha Fadda for Ocula

Curated by Corinne Diserens—renowned French curator and former director of the École de Recherche Graphique in Brussels—and housed at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the tenth Taipei Biennial Gestures and Archives of the Present, Genealogies of the Future: A New Lexicon for the Biennial (10 September 2016 - 5 February 2017) casts a...

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Taipei exhibition round-up: June 2016 Ocula Report Taipei exhibition round-up: June 2016 7 Jul 2016 : Cristina Sanchez-Kozyreva for Ocula

TKG+Wang Yahui, A Slant of Light23 April to 5 June 2016When TKG+ presented A Slant of Light (23 April to 5 June 2016), an exhibition of works by Wang Yahui, it was initially difficult to discern if the black and white surfaces, interrupted only by a spot of light, were paintings or photographs. These grey tonal compositions focus...

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Rachel Lehmann Ocula Conversation Rachel Lehmann Founding Partner of Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong

Rachel Lehmann is not only one half of the gallery powerhouse that is Lehmann Maupin, but she is also an international citizen of the world. Lehmann was born in Asmara, Ethiopia, and studied at the University of Fribourg in France. She worked at the legendary Sonnabend Gallery in New York, and was the proprietor of two contemporary galleries in...

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Stephen Mccoubrey Ocula Conversation Stephen Mccoubrey Co-curator, UBS Art Collection, London

With an extraordinary collection of paintings, photographs, drawings, sculptures and video by some of the world’s major artists from 1960 onwards, UBS is recognized as having one of the most important corporate collections of contemporary art in the world.  Stephen McCoubrey has been co-curator of that collection since 1999 and is...

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Alan Lau Ocula Conversation Alan Lau Collector, Hong Kong

Alan Lau, based in Hong Kong, is a member of the Tate's Asia-Pacific Acquisition Committee, sits on the board of Para/Site, has served as the 'Mayor' of Cao Fei’s RMB City and helped bring Xu Bing’s Forest Project to Hong Kong.  Earlier this year, Lau became one of the first Hong Kong collectors to donate a major...

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The New Art Basel Hong Kong Ocula Report The New Art Basel Hong Kong 9 May 2013 : Diana d'Arenberg for Ocula

Only two weeks to go before the inaugural Art Basel HK kicks off and it feels like the circus is coming to town. Inboxes are flooded with invites to art-related and art-themed bars, restaurants, new art clubs, pop-ups, collaborations and art retail and luxury events, ready to capitalize on the anticipated flood of international art visitors to...

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The Hong Kong Art Market: Part Ii - Organisations, Artists And Institutions Ocula Report The Hong Kong Art Market: Part Ii - Organisations, Artists And Institutions 5 Apr 2013 : Diana d'Arenberg for Ocula

The nature of the Hong Kong art landscape has by and large been commercial with the focus on transaction rather than development of art and culture. Progress and development has been defined by economic success, and the pursuit of commerce, and consumption as a leisure activity are arguably what has defined the city’s character until quite...

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About Taipei

The bustling city of Taipei has an equally lively art scene, made up of tremendous museums, galleries and non-profit spaces. The National Palace Museum sits at the helm with over 600,000 artefacts spanning 5,000 years of history. Originally founded in Beijing in 1925, the Museum was relocated to Taipei during the Chinese Civil War in 1948 to safeguard its collection, which includes the famous jade cabbage—a detailed reproduction of a Chinese cabbage head reputed to have been part of the dowry of the Guangxu Emperor's consort Jin Fei in the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911)—along with ancient objects that include Song dynasty paintings and calligraphy, ritual bronzes, ceramics, early printed books and more.

Founded in 1983, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum showcases artwork by Taiwanese and international artists from the 19th century to today, and acts as the host for one of the region's best-loved biennials: the Taipei Biennial. The Biennial was borne from two exhibition projects conceived by the Museum to celebrate contemporary art: Contemporary Art trends in the ROC and An Exhibition of Contemporary Chinese Sculpture in the Republic of China, held on alternating years between 1984 and 1991 until they were merged in 1992 to form the Biennial.

With a solid institutional backbone, the city is also home to over 30 galleries. These spaces move between supporting contemporary artists and showcasing modern masters, such as Asia Art Center, which represents Li Chen, Chu Weibor and Yang Chihung, among others. The artful balance between modern and contemporary is a defining characteristic of many of the city's galleries, including Tina Keng Gallery, which has been instrumental in forging the careers of many Asian masters, including Zao Wou-Ki, Sanyu, Lin Fengmian and Yun Gee. TKG+—the gallery's experimental sister space—continues this legacy by working with emerging artists and providing a platform for experimentation across different media.

Taipei's galleries and art spaces are spread across the city. Those looking to avoid travel can spend time in Huashan 1914 Creative Park, which possesses a similar structure to Beijing's 798 Art Zone. The complex originated in 1914 as a wine factory and camphor refinery. It was vacated in 1987 and artists advocated for it to be used as an art space in 1997. The red brick buildings now host a number of exhibitions throughout the year, interspersed with cafés and knick-knack shops.

The city's more experimental spaces include TheCube Project Space, located in an alleyway in the southern part of the city. Founded by independent curator Amy Cheng and music critic Jeph Lo, TheCube takes pride in being one of few art spaces in the city that has the capacity to organise 'quality international exhibitions on a non-profit basis'. As such, TheCube has become a site of lively cultural exchange—a position that has been harnessed by the city as a whole.

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