Apr 17 2020

What’s Up in Taipei: April and May 2020

by ArtAsiaPacific

There are a lot of shows on view in Taipei at the moment, with more set to open in the coming weeks. Three months into the Covid-19 pandemic, with some of the lowest reported numbers of cases in the region, Taiwan hasn’t required museums to close and many galleries have stayed open and active, while of course still requesting that visitors take basic precautions. Here are more than ten stops you can make around the city—if you’re there already—or check out online wherever you are.  

HSIANG LIN WANG, Take Me Somewhere Nice, 2019, projection, dimensions variable. Copyright and courtesy the artist and Taipei Fine Arts Museum.

Hsiang Lin Wang: “Take Me Somewhere Nice”

Hsiang Lin Wang’s photographs are like getaways to different places and states of mind. In her solo exhibition “Take Me Somewhere Nice,” Wang projects many of her images onto gallery walls. The works begin from a disjointed childhood memory of her parents seeming to disappear while she was building piles of sand at the beach. From there, she reflects on the nature of imagery itself, even combining blank-looking images with the rhythms of djembe music.

ERWIN WURM, Untitled (Tennis Balls), 1998, performance realized by the public. Courtesy the artist and Taipei Fine Arts Museum.

Erwin Wurm: “One Minute in Taipei”

Austrian artist Erwin Wurm’s performance-based One Minute Sculpture series involves performers holding quirky, inventive poses with different ordinary objects, like balancing milk cartons on the tops of one’s feet or putting one’s body through holes cut in furniture.
In addition to these works are Wurm’s photographs from past performances, “word sculptures,” and clay models of Taiwanese buildings used for another live art series. As Wurm himself said in a recent interview, now is a great time “to look at these things from another perspective.” 

Installation view of KIM SEO-KYUNG and KIM EUN-SUNG’s Statue of Peace (2011) at "After ‘Freedom of Expression’?,” Aichi Triennale 2019. Courtesy MOCA Taipei.

“Non-freedom of Expression”

The censored show “After ‘Freedom of Expression’?,” which was shut down at the Aichi Triennale last year, is being restaged at MOCA Taipei. Retitled “Non-freedom of Expression,” the exhibition urges the public to reflect on restrictions on freedom of speech in different parts of the world. Besides Kim Seo-kyung and Kim Eun-sung’s sculpture of a comfort woman, Statue of Peace (2011), the Taipei version also showcases works that were previously censored in Taiwan during periods of Japanese occupation and martial law.

Installation view of ANTONENST’s (background) Monkey, 2019, oil and acrylic on canvas, 198.1 × 121.9 cm, and (foreground) Untitled, 2020, bronze, 5 × 29 × 10 cm, at “Casual Magic,” Each Modern, Taipei, 2020. Courtesy Each Modern.

Antone Könst: “Casual Magic"

Each Modern

Mar 27–Apr 25

New York-based artist Antone Könst’s first exhibition in Asia introduces his paintings and mixed-media “glyphic tablets.” Könst’s works range from modestly sized sculptures to large canvases, each with a figurative element—often monkeys or a person—that the artist then transforms in an unusual and humorous direction. Some of the figures become playful, others grotesque. Even his landscapes, whether a sunset or a view of the park, take on a fantastical dimension.

THORDIS ADALSTEINSDOTTIR, My Book, Your Book, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 80 × 120 cm. Courtesy Nunu Fine Art, Taipei.

Thordis Adalsteinsdottir: “Love, Laundry Bear”

Nunu Fine Art

Mar 7–Apr 26

Icelandic artist Thordis Adalsteinsdottir resides in New York but paints like someone who lives on the internet. There are many cats in her paintings, as well as a surfeit of patterned wallpapers and fabrics. Some of the works are surreal dramas in which animals seem to have become human and taken over, while others are domestic scenes that seem just a little bit off. There are fairy tale elements and hints of cruelty lurking in these vibrantly painted worlds. 

LEE KUANG-YU, Phoenix Bringing Auspicious News, 2019, bronze, 108 × 91 × 213 cm. Courtesy Chini Gallery, Taipei.

Lee Kuang-Yu: “Also Sprach"

Chini Gallery

Apr 4–May 31

Trained as a sculptor in Spain in the 1970s, Lee Kuang-Yu creates copper sculptures that often embody a sense of realism while also playing with positive and negative space. “Also Sprach” showcases the artist’s 2018 series of sculptural cats, alongside his latest works on the relationship between humans and nature, a recurring theme in his practice inspired by Buddhist philosophy. The exhibition was also shown in the Yun Fei Fan Museum in Tainan and will travel to Singapore in June.

SEAN WANGSea with Empty Space, 2020, acrylic and oil on linen, 162 × 227 cm. Courtesy the artist.

Sean Wang: “Formless Form”

Conceptual artist Sean Wang is interested in investigating the spatial relationship between subject and object in his canvases and his sculptures incorporating found rocks and earth. His paintings of the universe—a meteor streaking through the sky, an abstract painting of a garden in bloom—realized in various viewing perspectives transcend the concept of space and capture his infinite imagination in a finite world. 


YAO JUI-CHUNG‘s “Republic of Cynic (R.O.C.)”. Image via C-Lab’s website.

Yao Jui-Chung: “Republic of Cynic (R.O.C.)”

At C-Lab, Yao Jui-Chung is going to establish the “Republic of Cynic,” a fictional “state within a state” expressed via Yao’s performance, paintings, and video installations created in the past three decades. By staging the project in Taiwan’s former air force command headquarters, this “parallel organisation” addresses the fictionality of defining “a country” through an absurdist approach and reflects on the ongoing conflicts among the political powers in issues concerning Taiwan since the Cold War.

Promotional image for “Water” at Michael Ku Gallery, Taipei, 2020. Image via Michael Ku Gallery’s Facebook page.


Michael Ku Gallery

May 10–Jul 26

Michael Ku Gallery’s upcoming exhibition features five very different artists—Luo Jr-Shin, Wei Jia, Chiang Hsun, Lao Lianben, and Jian Yi-Hong—whose works feature the titular motif. While Luo Jr-Shin’s works are temporary installations with ordinary materials, often captured in photographs, Wei Jia is an oil painter working with fantastical elements. Chiang Hsun is a postwar Chinese painter who works in both ink and oil, in a richly expressive style. Of a similar age, Lao Lianben is a painter from the Philippines who works in a very monochromatic, nearly abstract style, whereas Jian Yi-Hong is a young artist working in ink whose works are humorous takes on contemporary society. 

detail of CYNTHIA SAH’s River, 2020, white marble, 70 × 28 × 15 cm. Courtesy Double Square, Taipei.

Cynthia Sah: “Selective Memory, A Creative Process”

Double Square Gallery (by appointment) 

May 12–Jun 27

Born in Hong Kong, raised in Japan and Taiwan, and now based in Italy, Cynthia Sah crafts sinuous and sensuous forms in marble. Her monumental works are located in public locations around the world, while her more intimate-scaled creations explore conceptions of infinity, as well as elemental motions and natural geometry. Her impressive craftsmanship is also a family tradition: one of her ancestors is renowned 13th-century poet-painter Sah Du-La, whose works are included in the collection of the National Palace Museum in Taipei. 

Promotional banner for “Perforated City” at MOCA Taipei, 2020. Image via MOCA Taipei’s website.

“Perforated City”

MOCA Taipei

May 23–Aug 9

Through the creative lens of art, “Perforated City” invites the audience to rediscover the city’s oldest apartments, many of which are falling apart. The group exhibition aims to reveal the stories of these shabby buildings, which have survived turbulent eras in Taiwan’s history, from Dutch and Spanish occupation to the post-war period.

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Asian Art Biennale 1 Nov-3 Jan 2021 David Zwirner CHRISTIE"S ARNDT