THE GREAT ACCELERATION, TAIPEI BIENNALE, 2014
Welcome to Nicholas Bourriaud's biennale.
Clearly, this was a biennale curated to purport the French philospher's theories on relational aesthetics, the set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure, the whole of human relations and their social context. According to Bourriaud, the relationship between the living and the inert has become 'the main tension of contemporary culture and artificial intelligence occupies the middle ground as an arbitrator', (Bourriaud, 2014). That arbitrator is the artist.
The biennale was held in one location, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, a grand building that lies somewhere between traditional gallery and industrial space. Spacious light filled public foyers connected more intimate smaller exhibition spaces. The works were interesting, thought provoking, often humorous and accompanied by a deeply conceptual philosophical premise.
My first full 8 hour day at the exhibition seemed to last ten minutes. My second full day seems to last only five. I must have been enjoying myself.
BOWLS BALLS SOULS HOLES
MIKA ROTTENBERG, 2014 This was a completely surreal film involving a bingo caller dropping random pegs through a space in the floor of her bingo hall. As she called out the numbers, the pensioners crossed off their cards unaware of the man fitting the pegs to his face beneath their feet. Perhaps only the angry obese woman knew what the bingo caller was doing. The film was bizarre yet full of tension. I was captivated until the end but left utterly confused.
YUCCA INVEST TRADING PLANT
OLA PEHRSON, 1999
NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM
A side visit to this grand and impressive looking museum that houses ancient treasures of China. It was utterly packed with coach load after coach load of Chinese mainland tourists come to see the national treasures that were brought here last century but that Taiwan possibly keeps as leverage for their independence. There was an impressive collection of calligraphy paintings from the 14th century as well as dark rosewood furniture and the famous jadeite cabbage.
THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND
PETER BUGGENHOUT, 2014
PRODUCTION LINE - MADE IN TAIWAN
PO-CHIH HUANG, 2014
PRODUCTION LINE - MADE IN TAIWAN
PO-CHIH HUANG, 2014 A factory workshop set up at the entrance of the biennale sewing sleeves and collars onto identical denim shirts. This work was a clear comment on economics, popular consumption, uniformity and mass production.
MEDICINE MAN - MAD HAIRY JOINT
HAEGUE YANG, 2010
CHING-HUI CHOU, 2014
CHING-HUI CHOU, 2014 These four photographs, part of a series of nine, examined post-industrial society and its effects on human behaviour and expected norms. Each picture was intricately detailed and featured humans held in animal enclosures, held captive for others to gaze upon and judge. The pictures were deliberately hung low on dark walls to encourage visitors to walk and gaze as if visiting the zoo.
NATHANIEL MELLORS, 2014
ROGER HIORNS, 2008 I do like an untitled work. I used to think the artist was being lazy but now I embrace the idea of trying to give the work my own title and attribute my own meaning to that title. Here, an entire passenger aircraft engine has been broken down, powdered and turned into droplets which, when dried, turned into granules. The granules arrived by container into the exhibition space and were spilled onto the floor.
SURASI KUSOLWONG, 2014
STUDIO OF CHING-HUI CHOU
When we could not find the information needed to present on the work Animal Farm, I and my colleague, Aviva decided to go straight to the source. We spent an afternoon on his trail in Taipei and finally ended up in his studio. He spoke no English. We spoke no Mandarin. Our entire conversation took place through Google translator. But it was a fascinating two hours and I learnt so much more about him and the work than I would have done otherwise.
THE NAME OF THE ARTIST
This was an important reminder that, as well as the theme of Bourriaud's biennale, it was as much about the art, the artists who made the art and the integrity of those artists.