Taiwan Calling - Elusive Island

December 17, 2010 - March 6, 2011.
Invitation card
Taiwan Calling is the first large-scale exhibition in the region to present contemporary Taiwanese art. In recent years, the increasing number of programmes created by various European cultural institutions has shown a genuine and professional interest in contemporary Asian art. The exhibition in Budapest, due to a unique cooperation, is on display simultaneously at the Ludwig Museum and Műcsarnok, where the works of altogether 25 artists represent the rich and fresh contemporary Taiwanese art scene.

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The Taiwan Calling - Elusive Island group exhibition of contemporary Taiwanese art at the Ludwig Museum - Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest presents works by generations of Taiwanese artists born since the Second World War. As such, the display enumerates historical, political, ethnical, social, cultural or national identity questions emerging in the diverse society of today’s Taiwan.

During the last few decades, Taiwan has witnessed rapid and radical changes in its politics and culture, which led to the critical questioning of Taiwanese identity, whereby a reconstructed Taiwanese identity emerged. This was a process of turning away from the unified cultural identity dictated by continental China, seeking to evolve a unique Taiwanese consciousness. Consequently, contemporary Taiwanese art production during the last two decades has conspicuously shifted from traditional genres to engage in new media. Following a period of explorations and experimentations focused mostly on imitating Western art, Taiwanese artists have begun to steer their own course, in pursuit of new means of expression, primarily in the fields of installation and video art.

The major recurring subject matter for those generally elder artists who are responsive to the social issues of their country includes immigration and emigration, integration, inter-cultural communication, inter-generational conflicts and shifts, as well as inter-marriage between people of different nationalities. Such issues are often addressed in video-based artworks (Cheng-Ta YU, Chien-Chi CHANG, Yu-Chin TSENG, Hsiao-Lan FAN).

The accelerating infrastructural development of the fifties through the seventies, along with the improvised urban and industrial construction work it involves, has remained a fundamental element in Taiwan's contemporary cityscape. The exciting and challenging tasks pertaining to the process of rehabilitation and refurbishing have become a central issue for Taiwanese artists, who try to transform their everyday environments through real or simulated, and often playful works of installation art or video productions (Han-Hong TAI, Wei-Li YEH, Chi-Tsung WU, Kuang-Yu TSUI, Ya-Hui WANG, Hojang LIU).

As opposed to the elder generation, the young generation of artists, born in the late seventies and early eighties and raised among better social and economic circumstances, are less concerned with political and social issues. Their works are marked by introspection and contemplation, and are more sensual in character. They realise works of more existential content, or focused on a contemporary reinterpretation of Far Eastern cultural and artistic traditions (Yong-Ning TZENG, Charwei TSAI, Mia Wen-Hsuan LIU).

The exhibition is a collaboration between the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, the Mucsarnok, Budapest and the Ludwig Museum - Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest. The curator of the Taiwan Calling - Elusive Island exhibition at the Ludwig Museum is Róna Kopeczky.


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