Building an organic sanctuary for city dwellers: Taipei Fine Arts Museum installation

TFAM is currently closed for renovation, but the adjacent plaza has been transformed into an open-air gallery where artworks continue to find their stage and spectators.

Installation "Sanctuary" (Photo courtesy of Taipei Fine Arts Museum)

Installation "Sanctuary" (Photo courtesy of Taipei Fine Arts Museum)

Taiwanese artist Wang Wen-chih (Photo courtesy of Taipei Fine Arts Museum)

The sketch for "Sanctuary" (Photo courtesy of Taipei Fine Arts Museum)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A gigantic bamboo-woven dome as high as one floor standing on the plaza in front of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum might have puzzled many passersby these days. The dome, disclosed on October 7, is the latest project organized by the museum and by Taiwanese artist Wang Wen-chih (王文志).

The project is called “Sanctuary”. As the word implies, Wang said he had wanted to build a space where people could find comfort and peace.

“Just like a museum is a sanctuary for artworks, I want to build a sanctuary for people using organic materials,” said Wang.

Weaving bamboo, through careful calculation and variations, has become a signature of Wang’s works. Growing up in Meishan Township, Chiayi County, Wang adopted the bamboo in his hometown as a medium for his artistic and creative expression.

The bamboo dome is so intricately woven that one can hardly see through the structure. A curving short passage, also made of woven bamboo, is the only way that leads to the interior of the dome.

Once visitors enter the dome, they will be surprised by how spacious and solid the dome is that it can accommodate dozens of people at a time.

Different weaving methods resulted in several layers of the structure, stretching from the bottom to the top of the sanctuary with an opening in the ceiling for light to go in, said the artist.

Wang and his team have been preparing for the project for nearly six months, but the project is not finished yet.

The dome is only the first stage of the project, and the second stage will begin in late October, for which the artist is planning to build a woven observatory extending from the white wall of the museum to the rooftop, according to the museum.

Exactly what will the two installations look like in the end? We can only find out in December. Yet visitors can now pay a visit to the bamboo sanctuary to enjoy a temporary escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.