May 23, 2007 - Taipei Fine Arts Museum - Taiwan at the 52nd Venice Biennial 2007
May 23, 2007

Taiwan at the 52nd Venice Biennial 2007

Taiwan at the 52nd Venice Biennial 2007
Palazzo delle Prigioni

Press Preview: 6-7-8-9 June, 2007 
Hours open: 10:00 am 8:00 pm

Palazzo delle Prigioni, Castello 4209, San Marco (Boat station: S. Zaccaria, next to the Palazzo Ducale)

Curator: Hongjohn LIN
Artists: TSAI Ming-Liang Huang-Chen TANG Kuo Min LEE Shih Chieh HUANG VIVA 

Organized by Taipei Fine Arts Museum of Taiwan
Commissioner: Wen-ling CHEN
Vice-commissioner: Paolo DE GRANDIS
Chief Curator of TFAM: Fang-wei CHANG

Venue Taiwan at the 52nd Venice Biennial 2007

The Taipei Fine Arts Museum of Taiwan is pleased to present the Exhibition, Atopia, curated by Hongjohn Lin, at Palazzo delle Prigioni, Venice on 10 June – 21 November 2007.

Atopia is a non-place, unconstrained by borders, due to the politico-economic dynamism of globalization. The disappearance of boundaries – the mixing and merging of cultures, virtual space shaped by technology, and transnational consumption and production – means no single identity can account for contemporary spatial configurations. Yet an atopia does not necessarily assure individual freedom. No longer the expressions of pure will and desire, our bodies are marked by the regulation of individual life by the combined powers of the new empire. The omnipresence of this condition makes true individualism possible, through the self-empowering recreation and rewriting of identities.

Atopia also means that a place cannot be placed, or simply be not-a-place. The impossibility of legitimate representations makes atopia a state of de facto without de jure – a place without its name can only be attended as an exception. Anachronistic histories and dislocated sites all assume the status of atopias. One can envisage that Taiwan is a non-national nation, or a nation without nationality, yet neither post-nation nor pre-nation: in short, an atopian state par excellence. Its name as listed in international settings is confusingly inconsistent and endlessly reinvented: Taiwan (ROC), China (Taiwan), China (Taipei), Taipei/China, Taipei, Chinese Taipei, and so on. Within these brackets, slashes, and aliases, an atopia performs in-the-name-of-other-names, i.e., to claim its identity through différance, not difference. Its true identity has always-already been inscribed through reiterations of supplements, arresting the open secret of atopia. The uncertain status of naming generates a new position between the subject and the big Other, responding to the network of intersubjectivity codified by political realities in order to open up to the impossibility. With reiterations creating the identity in-the-name-of-others, atopia retroactively alludes to its own inexpressible phantom status, a symbolically perverse situation.

What the exhibition Atopia brings to light is that the transference of this unrepresentability belongs to Taiwans cultural and political discourse. Through a creative inscription on exile from within, a gesturing to para-sites of the local, the exhibition reflects the acting-out of Taiwan within its own glocalized map. This is a mirrored community reflexive to Taiwanese-ness as a cultural, social, and political terrain that excises a magical reverse of psychogeographical play.

Internationally renowned filmmaker Tsai Ming-Liang bases his work on alienated existences, ungrounded in place, lost in transition. The bewildering temporal-spatial settings of his films are non-places at best, where sexuality, adultery and incest all become the sole actions that people on the margins of society can take. Long and maddening sequences propel the radical silence of his images, evoking fragmentary realities of pathos.

Building on recollections from a well-known Taiwanese postcard, Huang-Chen Tang embarks on a heroic performance, taking participants from international cities on a voyage to reconstruct the scene and moment of that photograph. The impossibility of her action addresses the collective anamnesis of the allegory of travel. Through the untranslatability among different sites and histories, Tang creates an absurd blurring space in between the individual action and collective visual culture.
Kuo Min Lees photography documenting vanishing communities is not just an artistic expression but a social action against Taiwans urban policy. Revealed in his photographs are chaotic personal dwelling places, once lived in and on the verge of being torn apart. Lees work witnesses the transition of political pasts and urban histories, and shows the human conditions of a quasi-community in a state of emergency.
Shih Chieh Huang, a bricoleur of low-tech objects, alters mass-produced consumer appliances through hands-on instructions. His installation generates an interactivity with archi-textures of manipulated home appliances. Not a technocratic utopian, Huang orchestrates a hysterical dialogue between technology and humanity.
VIVA draws comics of new social realism to depict the everyday life of computer geeks in the format of doujinshi, a cultural mimicry from Japan. Quite the opposite of a pop artist who appropriates culture for art, VIVA is a practitioner of culture that speaks for the otaku generation. His work and life altogether render a topsy-turvy picture of the traffic of cultures found in glocalization.

The exhibitions selected artworks invite viewers to attend not only a showcase of art, but an acting-out of the everyday reality of Taiwan, which in turn is intertwined with the global order. Here, travelism, urbanization, technology, subculture and individual existence all meet at the same crossroad, a terra incognita of self-refabrication in the name-of-other-names.

The exhibition is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, R.O.C. (Taiwan); the Council for Cultural Affairs, Taiwan; the Taipei City Government; the Department of Cultural Affairs, Taipei City Government.

Press contact:
Taipei Fine Arts Museum
Tel 886 2 25957656 Fax 886 2 25851886
Arte Communications
Tel 39 041 5264546 Fax 39 041 2769056

Taipei Fine Arts Museum
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