March 11, 2021 - Tainan Art Museum - Survival of the Exceptional
March 11, 2021

Tainan Art Museum

Bulareyaung Dance Company, #Yes or No, 2020. Courtesy of Coexist Exhibition.

Vika Kirchenbauer, Untitled Sequence of Gaps, 2020. Film. Courtesy of the artist and Coexist Exhibition.

Huang Tz-Ming, Masks of Misery: Forced Taiwanese Army Prostitutes, 2004. Photography. Courtesy of National Museum of Fine Arts and Coexist Exhibition.

Naraphat Sakarthornsap, Only for “The Death on Duty”, 2018. Photography. Courtesy of the artist and Coexist Exhibition.

Chen Han-Sheng, When I was a Child, 2020. Kinetic and mixed installation. Courtesy of Coexist Exhibition.

Kuo Pin-Chun, (Single KTV), 2012-2020. Mixed media installation and performance. Courtesy of the artist and Coexist Exhibition.

Lin Bo-Liang, Prostitutes: Unacknowledged Labor, 1999-2002. Photography. Courtesy of Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts and Coexist Exhibition.

Syu Jia-Jhen, I’ve Loved You so Long III, 2018. Performance and video. Courtesy of the artist and Coexist Exhibition.

Dondon Houmwm, Returning, 2020. On-site performance. Courtesy of the artist and Coexist Exhibition.

Survival of the Exceptional
December 29, 2020–June 13, 2021

Tainan Art Museum
No. 1, Sec. 2, Zhonyi Rd., West Central Dist.
Tainan City
Tainan Art Museum Building 2, Gallery K-N

“Life finds a way.”
-Jurassic Park, 1993

The exhibition title Survival of the Exceptional comes from an appropriation of the evolutionary theory of “survival of the fittest.” In different circumstances, everyone can be both the fittest and exceptional. What will we reveal if we examine social-cultural evolution instead of natural selection through the lens of art? Will we see the development of genres in art history, the impetus, and practices of social movements, or the currency, obsolescence, and revival of popular culture? The evolution and selection of social-culture are preserved by the fittest; however, the exceptional often provokes reactions and concerns.

In nature, survival seems to be the ultimate goal; however, in human society, the “fittest” and the “exceptional” are not solely determined by the basis of survival. The Taiwanese curatorial collective "Coexist Exhibition” has been exploring the state of gender diversity in today’s society and culture through curating over six years. From social issues such as the stigma of the disease, school bullying, and marriage equality, we have discovered that traces left by those fittest and exceptional in their struggle for survival, and considered the possibilities of social movements, artistic presentation, and life skills working together as the “antibody.”

The exhibition Survival of the Exceptional consists of works from the public museum collections and contemporary artworks. On the one hand, through the selection of works from the museum collection with its diachronic order and authority, the exhibition intends to re-examine the “fittest,” which symbolizes the paradigm, through gender perspectives. Through the curatorial approach that juxtaposes the museum collections with contemporary artworks, it also creates a new way of viewing the works allowing the “exceptional” to be temporarily “discovered” through alternative reflection. On the other hand, the invited contemporary artists’ perspectives of genders, environments, and social relations bring together the “fittest” that may seem to have various ways of surviving today. It allows the possible “exceptional” to be constantly “noticed.” By doing so, the exhibition demonstrates the survival of the “fittest” both in the past and the present. It reflects the multiple appearances of the “exceptional” across time.

“Survival of the Exceptional” draws on evolutionary theory and extends the imagination, proposing four forms as the subthemes, “symbiosis,” “antibody,” “diurnality/nocturnality,” and “mimicry.” In the dialectic relationship between the “fittest” and the “exceptional,” the exhibition considers the unseen from the seen, the unthought from the known, and the concealed from the manifested. It further observes how the three seemingly parallel-developed themes including social movements, popular culture, and museum collections, form a relationship that mutually evolves and fluctuates to rethink the possibility of integrating and extending gender politics.

Curators: Liou Sing-You, Yu Liang-Kai, Tsai Ming-Jiun

Artists: Bulareyaung Dance Company, Chen Han-Sheng, Chen Nien-Ying, Dondon Houmwm, Hou Tsung-Hui, Syu Jia-Jhen, Hsu Wei-Ying, Huang Jin-Shu, Huang Tz-Ming, Jeng Jie-Wei, Kim Yeon-Jeong, Vika Kirchenbauer, Samak Kosem, Kuo Pin-Chun, Lin Bo-Liang, Ou Jing-Yun, Pan Shiao-Hsia, Naraphat Sakarthornsap, Shiy De-Jinn, Tsai Tsao-Ju, Wang Yi-Jan, Wong Xiang-Yi, Hsieh Juin, Lin Shou-Yi, John Thomson

Tainan Art Museum
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