Asian Art Biennial ‘Artist Making Movement’ kicks off at NTMoFA
Curated by National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (NTMoFA), the 2015 Asian Art Biennial officially opened on September 19. This year’s theme is Artist Making Movement, reflecting on the restlessness and instability observed in Asia today and the trend with artists taking action via art to break away from current conditions. Artists are getting involved in society and using their individual values to actively respond to the new era.
The curator, Iris Shu-Ping Huang, indicated that due to contemporary globalized socioeconomic developments, Asia has become a mobile cultural concept, with migrating population, fluid capital, and impacts from different cultures. Take the current Syrian refugee issue in Europe and even the new immigrant and migrant worker around us for example, Asian countries’ external relations and internal irony will continue to be self-challenged, which reforms moving boarders, revealing that Asia’s reality and cultural perspective are facing expansion and separation.
This biennial includes 28 sets of contributing artists from 17 different Asian regions/countries, with artworks dealing with Asia’s current institutional, human rights, and other problems amidst its moving boarders. With increasingly frequent and intense socioeconomic developments and cross-border relations within Asian countries and transnationally, these shifting exchanges are drastically challenging preceding viewpoints and order, and a mobile state with aligning thoughts and actions has become an assertive approach for dealing with the current reality. Problems and the creative environment in Asia faced by artists are cross-cultural and exist in a cultural domain composed of a plethora of divergences.
As seen in Singaporean artist Lee Wen’s Ping-Pong Go Round, the method of including multiple participants in the competition/dialogue is a metaphor for Asia’s complex multilateral political wrangling.
Indian artist Rina BANERJEE’s art deals with cultural symbols and objects that have been relocated and rearranged within the global cultural landscape through the complex routes of colonialism, tourism, travel, and mass media. Banerjee’s sculptures are quite peculiar, and have come to form a spectacular way of presenting the cultural production process in today’s Asia with globalized features, she also take her own experience of moving to New York from India as example, she thinks the mixing of multicultural background is like making a Frankenstein.
Indonesian artist collective Irwan AHMETT & Tita SALINA has custom created a new project, Salting the Sea, to echo with the theme of this biennial, Artist Making Movement, focusing on the relationship and the existing conundrums in Taiwan between Southeast Asian migrant workers and the local society. For this artwork, the artists have come into contact with many currently working or imprisoned migrant workers and also their families, with their stories documented in a perceptual manner. In addition to the artwork Salting the Sea, Irwan AHMETT and Tita SALINA have also expanded this project that examines migrant workers’ situations in Taiwan to a public level.
As youth movements rise to the fore with labor and wage related issues taking up news headlines, Filipino artist Stephanie SYJUCO’s MONEY FACTORY: Economic Reality Game is an onsite project that focuses on this social phenomenon. The exhibition space will be transformed into a factory of labor production, using a playful yet critical approach to explore the economic predicament faced by the younger generation in Taiwan. Surprisingly, most young female visitor chose to start a small online store, and not many people want to buy luxury goods; traveling is also a popular life goal for young people in Taiwan, while not many people chose to spend more “money” to study aboard for one year.
During the visitor’s participation in the Can today’s economic policies, industrial developments, and social conditions satisfy people’s hopes and dreams for attaining a good life? The artist has made available a practical space for public involvement, sparking reflections through the participatory process.
Mirage: Disused Public Property in Taiwan is a social investigation consisting of real images and solid documents and has been executed for over 5 years by Taiwanese artist YAO Jui-Chung and a group of art students. It is a critical micro-action group that uses art and group action to tangibly engage in society. The images and documents created by the group have exposed a course of public development lacking in core content and value, and at the same time, it is also devoted in proposing reforms for the absurd polices.
Thai artist Sutee KUNAVINCHAYANONT has created desks imprinted with stories, offering the audience the opportunity to personally rub out the images and hidden codes within. Filipino artist Alwin REAMILLO’s artwork of hand altered piano is also made available at designated times for the audience to sign-up and play, anticipating for each performer to interact with the artist’s story through their unique sounds.
Artist Making Movement - 2015 Asian Art Biennial will officially open on September 19th at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, inviting the audience to join us to boldly use their imagination to move the future.