Steel tearoom, calligraphy made of locks on display at Art Taipei

Taipei, Oct. 29 (CNA) A Japanese-style tearoom made of steel and calligraphy installations made of human hair are among the eye-catching works on display at Art Taipei 2015, which opened Friday in the city. One of the largest art fairs of its kind in Asia, Art Taipei 2015 is showcasing over 3,000 works of art from 20 countries and regions this year, according to the Taiwan Art Gallery Association, which organized the fair with the Ministry of Culture and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council. Among the exhibited works is a Japanese-style tearoom made not of the usual wood or bamboo, but of steel, by Japanese artist Tomohiro Kato. Everything in the tearoom, including the decorative flowers and window screens, are made of steel. The work was inspired by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011, which awakened Kato's passion to preserve and introduce traditional Japanese culture to more people, though with his own unconventional touch, he said. "The work is very different from ordinary tearooms, and I hope to surprise people when they go into this unique tearoom and enjoy a cup of tea," Kato told reporters Thursday. Also on display are experimental calligraphy installations by Chinese artist Gu Wenda (???), who used human hair to compose letters in Latin, Chinese and Arabic. Award-winning German sculptor Tobias Rehberger is displaying his work "Die Welt kurz vor Erfindung des tiefen Tellers" -- an entire room covered in hand-painted watercolor tiles that create a unique optical effect. Other head-turning artworks include sculptures of wild boars made from fiberglass and acrylic by indigenous Paiwan artist Chi-Lan Pa Hao Lan (???.??), and Italian artist Loris Cecchini's sculpture "Wallwave Vibration," which is made of polyester resin and wall paint and has been installed to look like it is growing out from one of the walls at the exhibition venue. The fair also features artworks made from waste. Japanese artist Yuko Mohri's series, "Urban Mining: For the Rite of Spring," features miniature street light poles on top of used beer and soda cans. The cans, collected from Japanese factories, are used as conductors to light up the mini light poles. Mohri said she created the series because she is interested in the subject of urban mining, which refers to recycling metals, e-waste and other materials in order to reuse them. "I am curious to know: 'What is nature? What is artificial?' So I wanted to use this theme in my piece," she said. Works by such masters as Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dal? Russian-French artist Marc Chagall and Chinese-French painter Zao Wou-Ki (???) are also exhibited at the fair, and a special section showcases works by young and emerging Taiwanese artists, including animator-artist Mores Zhan (???). "Taiwan is small country and we do not have a large art market, so we need a platform to promote Taiwanese art and connect with the world," Deputy Culture Minister George Hsu (???) said Thursday. Last year's fair attracted 45,000 visitors and generated total sales of NT$1.1 billion (US$33.8 million), and Hsu said he hopes those numbers will be topped this year. Now in its 22nd year, Art Taipei will run until Nov. 2 at Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall 1. (By Christie Chen)