On December 26, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) announced 31-year-old Chi Kai-Yuan the winner of the 2014 Taipei Arts Awards, an annual prize recognizing young Taiwanese artists. This year the prize focused on artists who utilize art as a medium of intervention into the social realities of Taiwanese culture. As the top-prize recipient, Chi was honored with NT 550,000 (USD 17,200) and an upcoming solo exhibition at TFAM.
Chi’s winning project “Exercise Trilogy” (2013), a series of three works comprising video and mixed-media installations, instigates a deviation from the norm by offering wholly abnormal “exercises” and physical movements for the body in relation to its immediate surroundings. The three works from the series were shown independently across Taiwan throughout 2013, each reflecting the location they were exhibited: Exercise Trilogy–Octagonal Circle, displayed at Howl Space in Tainan, draws its octagonal hula-hoop shape from the gutters of the city; Exercise Trilogy–Triangle Table was inspired by the geometric architecture of the Crane Gallery in Kaohsiung and is an oddly angled table that challenges viewers to an unconventional form of pingpong; Exercise Trilogy–Blooming Without Reasons alters the perspective of badminton by suspending its game net upside-down from the ceiling—the surface of which is littered with multiple shuttlecocks—while taking its structural form from the topography of Treasure Hill Artist Village in Taipei.
Among the award’s 16 finalists, honorable mentions were given to mixed-media artist Ni Hao, for her installation of found objects entitled Night Sculptures (2014), which comments on the issue of consumerism, as well as to Chia-En Jao, whose Arms (2012), a collection of 30 pencil drawings on paper, contemplates the colonial legacy of Taiwan by reconstructing historical motifs into new emblems.
Now in its 14th year, the Taipei Arts Awards serves as a benchmark for contemporary art in Taiwan. This year, finalists were reviewed by a jury of seven esteemed panelists, including independent curator Manray Hsu, Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts director Chu Teh-I and TFAM director Huang Hai-Ming.
Works by the award’s 16 finalists can be seen in the “Taipei Arts Awards 2014” exhibition at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, on view until March 8, 2015.