Tai­wan Arts Awards

The China Post - - ARTS - BY DIM­ITRI BRUYAS

Or­ga­niz­ers an­nounced on Dec. 26 the win­ners of this year’s Taipei Arts Awards (TAA, 台北美術獎), whose cre­ative art­works are now fea­tured in an ex­hi­bi­tion at the Taipei Fine Arts Mu­seum (TFAM, 台北市立美術館).

Es­tab­lished in 2001, the TAA is a plat­form that en­ables a new gen­er­a­tion of artists to show their in­no­va­tive ideas, while at the same time re­flect­ing our mod­ern times. A unique fea­ture of the com­pe­ti­tion is that it does not di­vide works by medium nor does it limit any work’s size.

This year, a to­tal of 325 artists sub­mit­ted their works, which in­clude oil on can­vas, dig­i­tal photographs, mul­ti­me­dia in­stal­la­tions and three-di­men­sional dis­plays, as well as sound and ob­ject in­stal­la­tions, to a jury of seven art ex­perts led by Ava Hsueh (薛保瑕), a U.S.-ed­u­cated ab­stract painter and the­o­rist.

Speak­ing dur­ing the an­nounce­ment of the win­ner of this year’s awards, she noted that “the over­all stan­dard of works this year was out­stand­ing and the choice of me­dia and form was more var­ied than in pre­vi­ous years.” A record high of 16 works have been awarded, with one grand prize, five hon­or­able men­tions and 10 se­lected awards.

While the qual­ity of sub­mis­sions in­creased this year, the age of the se­lected artists de­creased to an av­er­age of 30, mak­ing it ap­par­ent that the TAA has sparked the vi­tal­ity of to­day’s young artists, re­marked Hsueh, who cited the grand prize win­ner, Kai-Yuan Chi (紀紐約), for his cre­ative spirit.

Other noted artists are Chun Tsao (曹淳) and Yi-Hong Jian (簡翊洪), who both re­ceived an hon­or­able men­tion for their re­spec­tive works. The for­mer re­ceived praise for his in­stal­la­tion “The Suit­case of Mrs. Joachim” (Joachim女士的行李箱), while the lat­ter re­ceived an award for his se­ries of paint­ings ti­tled “Men and Un­cles” (男孩與叔叔).

“Dur­ing my stud­ies in France, I once found a huge stack of per­sonal be­long­ings mixed with trash scat­tered on the side­walk in front of my apart­ment build­ing,” Tsao told The China Post. Out of cu­rios­ity, the then-stu­dent took the large bur­gundy suit­case home, not know­ing to whom it be­longed or what was inside.

“After try­ing more than 200 times, I fi­nally cracked the code of the suit­case in which I found some old books, mag­a­zines and a white shirt,” he re­called. Tsao then learned that the suit­case be­longed to his next-door neigh­bor, Mrs. Joachim — an old lady who had just passed away and had no rel­a­tives. In or­der to quickly rent the apart­ment, the land­lord had cleared out all her things and put them on the side­walk.

“After know­ing the whole story, I as­sumed that the suit­case had ac­com­pa­nied the old lady to many places; so I de­cided to take the suit­case with me and brought it to places I wanted to go around Tai­wan,” he ex­plained. His in­stal­la­tion work re­traces the jour­ney of the suit­case and fea­tures its con­tents, draw­ing in­vis­i­ble lines be­tween Mrs. Joachim, her be­long­ings and her mem­o­ries that con­nect with the vis­i­tors.

Fol­low­ing in the same vein of mem­ory and stereo­types, Jian’s “Men and Un­cles” wants to break the stereo­type of ho­mo­sex­ual re­la­tion­ships. “You ob­vi­ously know it is hard to pur­sue that kind of re­la­tion­ship,” he said. “In the end it is a com­plete fail­ure but you still want to do it any­way.”

That is the story of the young boy who wants to cap­ture the love of an older man, which is fea­tured in the draw­ings. “When you look at this piece, I hope you can come up with your per­sonal story,” he went on. “It doesn’t have to be about ho­mo­sex­ual or gen­der is­sues, he or she can have his or her own un­der­stand­ing.”

Like the other re­cip­i­ents of this year’s TAA, Jian wants to sur­prise vis­i­tors with new in­ter­pre­ta­tions of common is­sues and ob­jects. “We all have dif­fer­ent thoughts and views to­ward a ta­ble; so, when I fea­ture a ta­ble inside my work, I try to look into the fea­tures of a ta­ble with­out adding my per­sonal thoughts in it. That is the job of the view­ers.”

( Top) Chun Tsao won an hon­or­able men­tion for his in­stal­la­tion “The Suit­case of Mrs. Joachim.” ( Above) Yi- Hong Jian also re­ceived an hon­or­able men­tion for his se­ries of paint­ings “Men and Un­cles.”

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