The Taichung-based National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts has curated a special exhibition featuring precious works created from the 60s to the contemporary era, guiding the audience to vertically trace the historical context of Taiwanese art and the style of individual artists while horizontally expanding the scope to examine the development of different traditions and new media as well as artworks created by Asian artists that have kept in close contact with Taiwan.
The exhibition, chronologically speaking, starts from the works by Tsai In-Tang and Lu Pu-Shih, who were mentored by Shiotsuki Toho during the period of Japanese rule. Tsai In-Tang’s Tamkang was exhibited in the Tai-Yang Art Exhibition, which had been dominated by first-rate Taiwanese artists at that time. Tsai’s bold, free use of vibrant color blocks candidly expresses his passion for art-making. Lu Pu-Shih only created an extremely small number of works during his lifetime, and had mainly painted still life and seascape. The museum is fortunate to have acquired two of the artist’s existing twenty-nine works.
As regards the early period following Taiwan’s retrocession, the exhibition also selects the emotive, individualistic works by Chin Jun-Tso, who was nicknamed “a maverick genius,” as well as the gouache figure painting by Hsiao Ju-Sun, the respected watercolorist in Taiwanese art history. As the new fine art movement began to quiet down, Taiwan’s modern painting movement started emerging. Signature works by important members of the Fifth Moon Group and Ton Fan Painting Association, including Chu Wei-Bor, Ho Kan, Hsiao Chin, Lee Shi-chi, Han Hsiang-Ning, Chuang Che and Cheng Chung-Chuan, are included in the NTMoFA’s collection. Each of these masterpieces has contributed to the critical stylistic changes of Taiwan’s modern art scene.
Apart from the Western influences, the audience will also see works by Taiwanese ink master, Lee Yi-Hong, who has revolutionized the tradition, and those by Shi Song, whose creative practice resembles a spiritual one that leads him to embark on a quest of beauty and truth in life. Furthermore, multiple important artists, such as Hung Ken-Shen, Tsong Pu, Huang Ming-Chang, Yang Mao-Lin, Ni Tsai-Chin, Li Jiun-Shyan, Lee Chu-Hsin, Pan Sin-Hua, etc., have collectively launched the splendid era of Taiwan’s contemporary art.
Moreover, the exhibition also showcases distinctive works by artists specializing in different art forms to represent the key strands that complete Taiwanese art history, including Lee Tsai-Chien who is known for his sculptures of geometric forms, as well as conceptual artist Shi Jin-Hua, video art pioneer Yuan Goang-Ming and kinetic artist Shyu Ruey-Shiann. It is important to mention that several female artists are also on view in the exhibition to foreground the artistic worlds created through the delicate sensibilities of female artists. They are Shieh Juin, the representative figure of the mid-generation female artists in Taiwan, Tse Su Mei, the recipient of the Golden Lion in the 50th Venice Biennale, indigenous artist Chang En-Man, and many more.
Specially selected from the museum collection and included in the exhibition are the works by Korean artist Yi Hwan-Kwon and Japanese artist Meiro Koizumi, which the museum acquired during the Asian Art Biennial in 2007 and 2017. Building upon the collection of Taiwanese modern and contemporary art, the inclusion aims to show the importance of forming comparisons between foreign artworks and the development of Taiwanese art.
This exhibition presents an exquisite selection featuring many important artists, and includes artworks in a wide range of media, including Western media (oil, watercolor, installation, new media, mixed media), Eastern media (ink and gouache), photography and sculpture. In addition to showcasing the missing puzzle pieces of Taiwanese art history and reflecting the social pulsation in Taiwan, the exhibition offers the audience a unique opportunity to appreciate the brilliant works acquired by the museum, through which viewers can observe the crucial changes in Taiwanese art and gain a more expansive international vision through these classics.