Asian Art Biennial

October 22, 2021
2021 Asian Art Biennial
October 30, 2021–March 6, 2022
Forum: “Songs from the Moon Rabbit”: October 30–31
National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts
No.2, Sec.1, Wu-chuan W. Road
Taichung City 40359
Facebook / YouTube

The 2021 Asian Art Biennial (2021 AAB) returns with the title Phantasmapolis, inviting viewers to explore the multipossibility of the future with the works of 38 artists from 15 countries, in a (post) pandemic time.

Against all odds and the global pandemic, 2021 AAB hasn’t stopped to continue to challenge itself as a platform and supporter of the contemporary art scene in Asia. The international curators, Takamori Nobuo (Taiwan), Ho Yu-Kuan (Taiwan), Tessa Maria Guazon (The Philippines), Anushka Rajendran (India), and Thanavi Chotpradit (Thailand), gathered to think about the possibility of cross-border curation at a time when global mobility is difficult. With “Asian Futurism” and “Asian sci-fi culture” as the main themes, artists and curators are invited to re-examine the past and the present of Asia through sci-fi perspectives. The exhibition will provide the audience with various ways to understand their own position in history and present, and to further picture where they’re going to be in the flow of time. 

A wide variety of works ranging from contemporary visual artworks, archive studies, publications, to architectural works will be showcased together. Producing a unique visual experience and a platform where Asian artists can exchange and be open to new discussions.

Takamori Nobuo and Ho Yu-Kuan join hands to map out the exhibition and chooses works to relate to the theme, encouraging the discussion on “Asian Futurism” and “Asian sci-fi culture”, inclusive of issues about the established boundaries of sex and gender, formation of intimate relationships, and the superstructure’s restrictions on the body and family.

Many artists are taking the opportunity to reflect on the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Taiwanese artist Joyce Ho’s new creation DOTS invites viewers to transform the standardized procedures under the “new normal” of COVID-19 before entering the museum into a ritualistic experience. The work of Bakudapan Food Study Group (Indonesia) takes the form of a board game to explore political relations regarding the food crises. Korean artist Kim Ayoung’s At the Surisol Underwater Lab will be transforming surreal sci-fi scenes into carriers for real-life social issues.

Guazon envisions the archive project as an invitation to think along where documents from the past can be prompts to understand why we have arrived at our current situation. The works by Catalina Africa (The Philippines) articulate the archival through the ways materiality is encountered through the artistic process. Mark Salvatus’s (The Philippines) Human Conditioned references landscapes, the built environment, digital technology, and the human body to revisit the different revolutions and uprisings in Asian history. Transient State by Alvin Zafra (The Philippines) is shaped by the dynamic yet complex dialogue between people and the built environment.

In the video art project, (CAMP & 0x2620) (India/ Germany) conceptualized and executed the online platform that hosts the virtual manifestation of the exhibition, proposing alternative ways of mining the connectivity and democratic possibilities that still exist in theory vis-à-vis the internet towards ethical digital infrastructures to engage with art. The platform gathers video works such as Mariah Lookman’s Hayy in Serendib where she attempts to decentre the colonial lineage of rationalist approaches in philosophical inquiry and the scientific method. The Island by Tuan Andrew Nguyen (Vietnam) depicts a dystopian future featuring different existential concerns between the last man and woman on earth.

Chotpradit’s curation invited Chulayarnnon Siriphol (Thailand), Mattie Do (Laos) and Genevieve Chua (Singapore) to exhibit together. Siriphol’s work Give Us A Little More Time (2020) is deeply engages with the current political conflict in Thailand, addresses the role time plays in reinforcing dictatorial power. Mattie Do’s The Long Walk delicately portrays the colonial continuum in Laos that has stretched into the future. Among the two video artworks is Genevieve Chua’s visual artwork Seconds Accumulating on a Hundred Years (2017). The flatness and surface become the layers without depth, debunking the notion of linear time.

Besides the meticulously curated works, a series of online and offline programs will be opened to art lovers around the world. For all details please refer to the Facebook page of the Biennial.

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Asian Art Biennial
October 22, 2021

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