Why These 4 Taiwanese Contemporary Artists Should Sprout Globally

Image courtesy of Wu Tien-chang (http://www.itsliquid.com/wu-tien-chang-biennale.html)
Image courtesy of Wu Tien-chang (http://www.itsliquid.com/wu-tien-chang-biennale.html)
Kill Me Or Change, Chin Yang, chinchihyang.com
Kill Me Or Change, Chin Yang, chinchihyang.com
River Talk-2 / 60.0cmx40.0cm / Photography / Lee, Kuei-Chih / 2012
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Wu Tien-Chang, Chin Chih Yang, Kuo-Chun Chiu and Lee Kuei-Chih mirror the flourishingly contemporary art scene in Taiwan today. Modern Taiwanese artists have spread out in an astonishing variety of creative directions, emphasizing into such fields as art video, sculpture, multimedia installations as well as design.  Diversity characterises the multicultural scene of Taiwan which has undergone great influences from other Asian countries and mainly from China. Nowadays, the contemporary artists in Taipei engage with a multifarious number of themes such as minority discourse, human rights, freedom of expression, environmental awareness as well as current political issues. Therefore, their artistic achievements capture the world’s attention and gain further admiration in this island’s art scene.

Text: Yannis Kostarias

Wu Tien-Chang (b.1956) is one prolific artist whose international impact has been established thanks to his oil painting and photography while making socio-political critique through his work. His aesthetic production as an artist spans over three decades; he became famous as an oil painter, but he turned up being a mix media and photography artist. Four Eras (1990), A Dream of Spring Night (1994), Show the Mutual Concern of the People in the Same Boat (2002), Luan (2010) or Beloved (2013) are some remarkable art pieces of his career. Furthermore, his recent artworks are based on digital art while some new art installations integrate videos. His latest art project, entitled Never Say Goodbye including three video installations, is currently representing the Taiwanese Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale. As Wu Tien-Chang noted, he hopes “to create a powerful visual impact with Taiwan’s highly recognisable unique visual aesthetics and universal human spirit to break barriers between ethnicities and countries”.

Image courtesy of Wu Tien-chang (http://www.itsliquid.com/wu-tien-chang-biennale.html)
Image courtesy of Wu Tien-chang (http://www.itsliquid.com/wu-tien-chang-biennale.html)

 

Chin Chih Yang is a multidisciplinary artist who mostly lives and works in New York. His work has been exhibited in a broad range of museums and other institutions around the globe such as the United Nations, the Taipei Art Fair, the Union Square Park, the Chelsea Museum and Queens Museum based in New York.  Kill me or Change (2012) is one of this latest large-scale art project in which he buried 30,000 aluminium cans inviting the audience to explore the side effects of the over-consumption today. Yang seems to invest on interactive installations where he can gain a greater people’s engagement with his art. Yang is also an artist who strives to collaborate variable art practices such as performances, video installations and even his body to enhance his project’s impact. Remarkably, The Control of Fear (2005-) is an art project in progress in which his performance is about how ordinary people cope with chaotic situations in everyday life as an attempt to examine people’s capability to communicate with the environment.

Kill Me Or Change, Chin Yang, chinchihyang.com
Kill Me Or Change, Chin Yang, chinchihyang.com
Kill Me Or Change, Chin Yang, chinchihyang.com
Kill Me Or Change, Chin Yang, chinchihyang.com

 

On the other hand, photography as a media form conceivably dominates the modern Taiwanese art; Kuo-Chun Chiu is one of the most recognisable mixed media Taiwanese artists. His academic, as well as artistic record, is rich and among others he completed an MFA at New Paltz in New York and currently is an associate professor at the College of Creative Media, Kun Shan University in Taiwan. Last year, he received the Kaohsiung Culture and Arts Award from the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts which highlighted Chiu as an outstanding Taiwanese artist. Taken the Taiwanese religious celebrations as his main inspiration for this competition, he surprisingly mixed digital photography with embroidery indicating a purely innovative way to create art.

Another important artist is Lee Kuei-Chih, who is well known for his outdoor installations. His art projects are mainly mixed media sculptures in open spaces where he incites a diverse range of artistic mediums. Lately, he was an artist in residence in Japan at the Shinano Primitive Sense Art Festival constructing Water Aura, an eco-friendly outdoor sculpture installation which embraces natural sources- water and wind- as active agents for this project. In September 2015, he will join the Guandu International Outdoor Sculpture Festival in Taipei.

River Talk-2 / 60.0cmx40.0cm / Photography / Lee, Kuei-Chih / 2012
River Talk-2 / 60.0cmx40.0cm / Photography / Lee, Kuei-Chih / 2012

 

For the future, Taiwan’s artists will be transformed more international in perspective, while establishing new standards in regards to the contemporary scene and exploring novel, creative styles and art themes. At this level of the Taiwanese contemporary art, I would argue, that it can be a challenging opportunity for Taiwanese modern artists to dismiss the western influence on their cultural production broadly while emphasizing even more on their native cultural roots.

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Yannis Kostarias (IG: cos_y87) was born in Athens (Greece) and lives in London (UK). Graduate student at King’s College London on Arts & Cultural Management (MA) with diverse academic background in Political Sciences and Film Studies and work experience as an audio-visual expert in creative projects and scientific assistant in a European programme, as well as in managing workshops and campaigns, in freelance and corporate environments. Keen on contemporary art, film, photography and fashion.

 
2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Why These 4 Taiwanese Contemporary Artists Should Sprout Globally”

  1. Hi Yannis, I agree these are good Taiwanese artists that need to be known more around the world. I also recently wrote an article about contemporary Taiwanese artists Going Global that had 2 of the same artists: Kuo-chun Chiu and Chen Chih Yang. You can see it in Art Radar Asia. at http://artradarjournal.com/2015/08/21/5-taiwanese-artists-going-global/ I have also written a feature article about Chen Chih Yang that will be in an upcoming issue of Sculpture and features his upcoming solo exhibition at Taipei MOCA. Best wishes,
    Jane Ingram Allen

    1. Hello Jane,
      Thanks for your comment. Along with Kuo-chun Chiu and Chen Chih Yang, who are two inspiring artists from Taiwan, there are quite a few other Taiwanese aritsts with great potential to look at. I read your article and you have mentioned some more as well. Let’s keep informed each other 🙂
      Best regards,
      Yannis