Free your mind at German gallery inspired show in S. Taiwan

“Berlin Melting” showcases artists from Syria and Spain at the Asir Art Museum, Tainan

"Berlin Melting" showcases artworks based on the theme of freedom. (Taiwan News/Lyla Liu photo)

"Berlin Melting" showcases artworks based on the theme of freedom. (Taiwan News/Lyla Liu photo)

TAINAN (Taiwan News) — The exhibition “Berlin Melting” showcases the works of two artists from Syria and Spain, at the Asir Art Museum, Tainan, until Feb. 29.

The art exchange project titled “Berlin Melting” (柏林沒有停) is a collaboration between Tainan’s Asir Art Museum and Berlin’s Gallery Kuchling. The gallery has selected the Syrian artist, Semaan Khawam, and Spanish artist, Eduard Bigas, to show off 51 of their works.

It is Gallery Kuchling’s first time to exhibit in Taiwan, according to the founder of the gallery, Robert Kuchling. Curator Angela Hsu (許萍芬) said the idea originated with the founder of Asir Art Museum, Tseng Ying-tung (曾英棟).

He showcased a series of works titled “Five Elements” (五行) at Gallery Kuchling and attracted significant media attention. His Taiwan representative in Berlin, Jhy-wey Shieh (謝志偉), helped give birth to the projec, Hsu said.

Angela Hsu, Robert Kuchling, Eduard Bigas, and Tseng Ying-tung. (Taiwan News/Lyla Liu photo)

Robert Kuchling explained that after the Berlin Wall collapsed, he and his brother united. Back then he felt mentally and physically free so they decided to open a gallery.

As this year is the 20th anniversary of the gallery, the exhibited artworks are also the products of "seeking peace and freedom."

The Syrian artist, Khawam's “Birdman” series illustrates a life-long journey of seeking freedom. “The themes of his artworks are surrounded by religion, war, and politics, as is his childhood and life in Lebanon now,” said Hsu.

Semaan Khawam's “Birdman" series. (Taiwan News/Lyla Liu photo)

Video call to Semaan Khawam. (Taiwan News/Lyla Liu photo)

Semaan Khawam planned to attend the exhibition opening on Jan. 18. However, due to the situation in Lebanon, he cannot leave the country so the curator made a video call to him.

The Spanish artist, Eduard Bigas, comes from the same village as Salvador Dalí. Bigas’ painting style was influenced by Dalí at an early age, but as he experiences different countries, he keeps challenging himself and has developed multiple styles.

Hsu added that compared to Khawam’s yearning for travel as a form of freedom, Bigas is searching for inner peace. Hence the Eastern philosophy of zen (禪) can be spotted in his later creations.

“My paintings are strange and I hope they are enigmas,” said Bigas. He added, "Being sexy is easy, but it's hard to be beautiful."

Bigas also launched a series of works titled "Tainan," which reveals his feelings toward the land. Given his love of the food and friendly people, he will stay in Tainan and continue to create until Feb. 29.

At the opening ceremony on Jan, 18, many of those in the audience said they were touched by Bigas’ works, while others said they could feel Khawam’s sorrow and anger from his paintings. The exhibition will run until Feb. 29 at Asir Art Museum.

Semaan Khawam's “Birdman" series. (Taiwan News/Lyla Liu photo)

Eduard Bigas' work titled "Zen." (Taiwan News/Lyla Liu photo)

Eduard Bigas' work. (Taiwan News/Lyla Liu photo)