Curatorial Statement

Taiwan is a unique country beset with paradoxes, and located at the heart of the unfolding geo-strategic stakes of the entire Asia-Pacific region and, therefore, of the whole world.

Named the "beautiful island” by Portuguese sailors, Taiwan is symbolic of the world’s history: to understand Taiwan is to understand the contemporary world, how it has evolved and what it may be evolving into.

In Taiwan, everything coexists with its antithesis: cutting edge technologies and traditional cultures, the omnipresence of the Chinese language and the vitality of 14 native Austronesian tribes; a tiny territory (15 times smaller than France) with global economic power; a vibrant national identity that has endured successive foreign occupations by Portugal, the Netherlands and Japan.

Over recent decades, artists, philosophers and researchers have documented and testified to a global schizophrenia - a disorder characterized by the difficulty to share an interpretation of reality with others. This phenomenon is at work in Taiwan just as in the rest of the so-called "developed" world.

Taiwan also embodies the characteristics described schizophrenia’s etymological roots – the split mind – right down to its very name, combining Tai (platform) and Wan (costal strip).

Taiwan is at the once the centre (the platform, the nodal point) and the edge (the coast, the way out). It is the flux of modern technology and the store of ancestral cultures, the Eastern and the Westernized, Taiwan is the past and the future.

These young Taiwanese artists have a unique vantage point from which to reflect, refract and reinterpret this schizophrenia, from its minutiae to its globally networked implications. Through their work we ask, what is the role of art in this era of hyper-connectivity and dissociation? What can it do for us when global society is in a state of crisis? Can art help us chart paths towards a holistic way of being?

Curated by I-Wei Li, Pierre Bongiovanni, and Ching-Wen Chang
Produced by Ministry of Culture of the Republic of China 中華民國文化部, The Association of the Visual Arts in Taiwan (AVAT), SideBySide Studio e.V., and La Maison Laurentine

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La friche la belle de mai
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