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Taipei Lowdown: Shows to See

By Tessa Moldan  |  Taipei, 10 January 2020

Yahon Chang, Performa 19, Performa Hub (7 November 2019). Courtesy Scott Rudd Events.

As Taipei Dangdai returns for its second edition between 17 and 19 January 2020 at the Nangang Exhibition Center, a selection of exhibitions across the city confirm Taipei as one of the region's most exciting art hubs.

Yahon Chang: Cursive
OUR Museum, National Taiwan University of Arts (NTUA), No. 59, Section 1, Daguan Road, Banqiao District
18 January–15 March 2020

Following his participation in Performa 19, NTUA alumnus Yahon Chang returns to Taipei for a solo exhibition of new works, titled Cursive. In response to Performa 19's thematic of the Bauhaus and its legacy, Chang has combined fluid, expressive strokes with the geometric formalism of eight hanging silk drapes. This combination references the theories of Tai Chi, as 'overcoming' and 'combining hardness with softness', and will be supplemented at OUR Museum with new works created in Taipei, including a performance taking place on 18 January between 15:30 and 16:30.

Yu Peng, Waking Up in the Morning (1990). Ink and colour on paper. 70.4 x 68.6 cm. Courtesy Liang Gallery.

House in the Shade of Osmanthus Trees · Bustling Spring Scenery – Yu Peng
Liang Gallery, No. 366, Ruiguang Road, Neihu District
4 January–29 February 2020

Dense strokes of ink contour naked figures and natural landscapes in the paintings of late Taiwanese artist Yu Peng. Born in 1955, Yu grew up in Taiwan after the re-establishment of the Nationalist government in 1949. Two formative trips abroad defined the artist's use of ink with both classical Chinese and Western inflections—in 1980, when Yu travelled across the U.S. and Europe, and later in 1986 to China. Yu worked across watercolour, woodcut, ceramics, and printing, but it is his ink paintings that launched his career when his first major exhibitions took place at Hanart TZ Gallery in Hong Kong and Taipei in 1989.

Exhibition view: Danh Vō, Garden with Pigeons in Flight, Casa Luis Barragan, Mexico City (5 November 2018–13 January 2019). Courtesy Estancia FEMSA and kurimanzutto.

Danh Vō: See Through History and Look into the Future
Winsing Art Place, No. 6, Alley 10, Lane 108, Section 6, Minquan East Road, Neihu District
16 January–5 April 2020

This is the first exhibition in Taiwan of Vietnamese-born, Denmark-based artist, Danh Vō, and comprises works drawn from the personal collection of Jenny Yeh, founder of Winsing Arts Foundation. Included is a portion of Vō's celebrated sculpture, We the people—a 30-tonne copper replica of the Statue of Liberty that was created piece by piece in 2011, before being dispatched to various sites around the globe. In the more recent Garden with Pigeons in Flight (2018), Vō worked with artisans in Oaxaca, Mexico, to bleach the wax of candles in the sun before dying them in carmine, alluding the Catholic faith as well as the pre-Hispanic extraction of the dye from the cochineal insect, and one of the primary exports of the New World.

Zhao Zhao, Peach (2019). Oil on canvas. 70 x 60 cm. Courtesy the artist and Lin & Lin Gallery.

Zhao Zhao: Poetry and the Villain
Lin & Lin Gallery, 1F, No. 16, Dongfeng Street
15 January–29 February 2020

Zhao Zhao's latest series of paintings take a new turn with his life as a father, questioning the process of ageing through five themes in the exhibition: 'Father and Son', 'Villain', 'Bamboo Shoot', and 'Grandpa Tells a Story'. Moody strokes of paint unveil simple forms from dark backgrounds, such as a cluster of orange-red peaches in Peach (2019) and tufty, pink Bamboo Shoots (2019) that resemble blades of wheat. The Xinjiang-born multidisciplinary artist, who was an assistant to Ai Weiwei for seven years, returns to his formative medium in this exhibition, having received a BFA from the Xinjiang Institute of Arts from the department of Oil Painting in 2003 and since becoming an important figure in the generation of post-1980s contemporary Chinese conceptual artists.

Hilo Chen, Beach 126 (1996). Oil on canvas. 81.6 x 122 cm. Courtesy Each Modern.

Hilo Chen: The Bather of Valpinçon
Each Modern, No. 156, Section 4, Xinyi Road, Da'an District
15 January–29 February 2020

New York-based Taiwanese artist Hilo Chen's closely cropped photorealist paintings of female bodies lying on the beach are intense vistas of human desire. In 1968, the artist encountered Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres' painting The Valpinçon Bather in Paris, which led to his change in direction from abstraction to photorealism, developing the latter in the U.S., where he migrated that same year. This exhibition at Each Modern includes paintings by Chen that, since his immigration to the U.S., have never been exhibited, along with his well-known photorealist works from the 1970s.

Shōji Ueda, Four Girls Posing (2019). Courtesy © Shoji Ueda Office.

Shōji Ueda: Retrospective
Huashan 1914 Creative Park, No. 1, Section 1, Bade Road, Zhongzheng District
18 January–1 March 2020

Co-organised with Each Modern, this exhibition at the winery-turned-cultural complex, Huashan 1914 Creative Park, presents the first exhibition of work by Japanese photographer Shōji Ueda since his death in 2000. Ueda was born in Japan's least populous prefecture of Tottori, known for its extensive sand dunes, which are the backdrop to surrealistic photographs that capture members from Ueda's family and community posing against the stark, undulating landscape. The exhibition will feature 140 hand-printed works from the family collection, along with rare 8mm footage and photo books.

Su Xiaobai, Pond of Pellucid Green (2018). Oil, lacquer, linen, and wood. 111 x 111 x 13 cm. Courtesy Tina Keng Gallery.

Beneath a descending moon, breathing: The Paintings of Su Xiaobai
Tina Keng Gallery, 1F, No. 15, Lane 548, Ruiguang Road, Neihu District
7 December 2019–22 January 2020

Tina Keng Gallery presents a selection of Su Xiaobai's pillowy lacquer works, created through build-ups of colour and texture. The exhibition focuses on the formal conditions of the works and their production, including the natural overhead light of the artist's studio that he depends on to create these timeless pieces. A graduate from the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Arts, the artist began experimenting with lacquer upon his return to China in 2002, using varying supports such as linen, wood, clay, and brick, turning his initial interest in European avantgarde into a new harnessing of traditional Chinese aesthetics.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Phantoms of Nabua (2009) (still). Courtesy Kick the Machine Films.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Serenity of Madness
Taipei Fine Arts Museum, No. 181, Section 3, Zhongshan North Road, Zhongshan District
30 November 2019–15 March 2020

Organised by Thai curator and artistic director of Jim Thompson Art Center in Bangkok, Gridthiya Gaweewong, The Serenity of Madness is a travelling exhibition showcasing short films and video installations by Thai artist Apichatpong Weerasthakul who explores issues surrounding class, labour, sexuality, science, and spirituality. Existing in the space between fact and fiction, Weerasthakul's films seem to move through different realms of consciousness, while exposing the socio-political situation in his home country and its perception abroad. The exhibition at Taipei Fine Arts Museum is accompanied by photography, sketches, and archival material.

Chuang Che, Landscape 77–8 (1977). Oil on canvas. 89.6 × 123 cm. Courtesy Asia Art Center.

Chuang Che Anniversary Solo Exhibition: As Lofty as a Mountain 1960–2019
Asia Art Center Taipei II, No. 93, Lequn 2nd Road, Zhongshan District
15 January–1 March 2020

Earthy textures and colours manifest throughout this exhibition, which celebrates the beginning of Chuang Che's 'Mountain Imaginings' series in 1960. As Lofty as a Mountain is the title of this series' first painting, with other notable works including Mist (1977), which combines calligraphy with oil and acrylic to assert a strength of brushwork. Mountains have remained key to Chuang's life and art, with early Chinese landscape paintings by artists such as Shi Tao, Bada Shanren, Xu Wei, and Chen Hongshou of great influence through his encounters with them at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, where his father, Chuan Yen, was deputy director.

Exhibition view: Lin Guan-Ming, return, Project Fulfill Art Space, Taipei (2 November 2019–22 January 2020). Courtesy the artist and Project Fulfill Art Space.

Lin Guan-Ming: return
Project Fulfill Art Space, 1F., No. 2, Alley 45, Lane 147, Section 3, Xinyi Road
2 November 2019–22 January 2020

Lin Guan-Ming's video and photographic works explore the nature of the reproduced image, and how images are becoming increasingly dislocated from reality. In works such as Vanish into Thin Air (2011–ongoing), images and their data are expressed as immeasurable clouds of content. Projected onto a gallery wall are numbers representing each second that has passed since 29 April 2011, and with the increasing size of the figures, so the units on the wall are reduced, rendering quantity unattainable to the human eye.

Li Ran, Life of the Pilgrim (2017) (still). Single-channel video, black and white and colour, sound. 33 min. Courtesy the artist, ShanghART, and Chi-Wen Gallery.

"Every Man is an Artist"—Talking About Artists' Social Engagement
Chi-Wen Gallery, No. 32, Lane 2, Section 6, Zhongshan North Road, Shilin District
17 January–27 February 2020

Based on Joseph Beuys' quote, 'every man is an artist', this exhibition brings together work by Chim↑Pom, Tsubasa Kato, Li Ran, and Chang Li-Ren, with live performances by River Lin, Su Misu, and Yu Cheng-Ta, exploring art's humanist and social functions. Each artist builds on Beuys' concept of the 'social sculpture'—that everything is art, and that everyone can contribute. On the exhibition's opening weekend, participatory performances by River Lin and Su Misu will take place between 15:00 and 19:00 on 17 January, and between 15:00 and 16:00 on 18 January, respectively.

Chim↑Pom, Documentary of Scrap and Build project (2017). Exhibition view: Co/Inspiration in Catastrophes, Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei (23 November 2019–9 February 2020). Courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei.

Co/Inspiration in Catastrophes
Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, No. 39, Chang'an West Road, Datong District
23 November 2019–9 February 2020

Through works by 16 artists and collectives, including Ai Weiwei, Eleng Luluan, Ikong Hacii, and Zhou Tao, this exhibition examines national and international environmental catastrophes that have led to new imagination in art. Highlights include Pierre Huyghe's photograph, Cerro Indio Muerto, of the world's driest desert, the Atacama Desert, at the exhibition's opening, while a large-scale installation created by Chim↑Pom in collaboration with Takashi Suo examines the aftermath of Fukushima and the urban changes that have come about as a result of Tokyo's hosting of the Olympic Games.

Chen Xiaoyi, Where We Met (2017). Single-channel video installation. 31 min 49 sec. Music by Hoshiko Yamane, Yu Tao, Huang Xi. Exhibition view: The Gala, VT Artsalon, Taipei (14 December 2019–18 January 2020). Courtesy VT Artsalon.

The Gala
VT Artsalon, Lane 56, Section 3, Xinsheng North Road 17, Zhongshan District
14 December 2019–18 January 2020

Co-organised with Chengdu-based contemporary art space, A Thousand Plateaus, The Gala presents experimental artwork by three mainland Chinese artists—Chen Qiulin, Chen Xiaoyi, and Feng Bingyi. The works in this exhibition reflect on the 'confusion and melancholy' of events happening around the world today, with the formal beauty of each work combining to bridge various themes and artistic languages. In Chen Qiulin's Follow You Like a Shadow, for instance, a 'modern dance drama' in video captures a mass of moving bodies to reflect on social relationships in the urban sphere, while Chen Xiaoyi's Where We Met proposes the moon as an everlasting entity that resists historical uncertainty.

Shi Jin-Hua, Five Walkers on the Square (2018–19). Oil and tube on canvas. 41.4 x 62 x 16.3 cm. Courtesy the artist and Mind Set Art Center.

Shi Jin-Hua: Homage to the Masters
Mind Set Art Center, Section 1, Heping East Road 180, Da'an District
14 December 2019–18 January 2020

Conceptual and performance artist Shi Jin-Hua gathers a rich body of work for Mind Set Art Center's 10th anniversary exhibition, Homage to the Masters, created in response to artists of deep influence to him. A type I diabetic, Shi's constant monitoring of his physical wellbeing since the age of 17 has resulted in his use of his own body for artistic execution—a focus that he expands in this exhibition by looking at artists concerned with the body, flesh, and mortality, including Alberto Giacometti, Yayoi Kusama, and Marcel Duchamp.

Exhibition view: Au Sow-Yee, STILL ALIVE, TheCube Project Space, Taipei (28 November 2019–19 January 2020). Courtesy the artist.

TheCube Project Space, 2F, No. 13, Alley 1, Lane 136, Section 4, Roosevelt Road
28 November 2019–19 January 2020

At TheCube Project Space, an independent art space located in an alleyway near the traditional Shuiyuan Market, Malaysian artist Au Sow-Yee presents an exhibition of 'live cinema'. Her hybrid combinations of video, conceptual, and installation art investigate image production, politics, and power, with recent works such as Castle, Valley, Anonymous Island and Their Return to the Moon (2017), on view at TheCube. Commissioned by Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong, the installation imagines the mysterious disappearance of a character named Jim, in reference to the late American silk tycoon Jim Thompson who lived in Bangkok and disappeared without a trace in 1967. —[O]

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