此外，在創作者彼此對話的案例裡，吳瑪悧從《北回歸線環境藝術行動》 一直到《樹梅坑溪環境藝術行動》，展現長期關注環境政治議題的企圖。而龔卓軍在2022年Mattauw大地藝術季的「千重溪：曾文溪的一千個名字」策展，以目前的曾文溪流域作為主要的創作場域，結合倡議型的藝術行動，深耕土地、直探河流治理的政策問題，再一次開展了從《近未來的交陪》以來所累積的研究型策展與長期蹲點的在地「蹣撋」（puânn-nuá）的方式。在這次的展出中，樹梅坑溪與曾文溪彷彿形成一種另類的「兩河流域」對話，除了現場的檔案與文件以外，藝術家陳伯義的《地質紀念碑》系列也同時展出，震撼的畫面為當今水泥河川整治的政策拋出許多問題。除此之外，「場外對話」也是這次展出的重點，上述「兩河流域」在嘉義大埔的交會，以萬物議會以及引路人的方式，重新探討河流與環境、物種、生態的多樣化，也為藝術行動打開更政策面向的探討。涂維政則延續《城市的影像多寶閣》等系列，以此與台新藝術獎相關入圍與得獎者進行對話。另外，彭弘智過去的得獎作品《Beware of GOD》藉由六百多尊落難神像探討當代人信仰問題；此次，仍然隱約依循著神明、信仰的幽冥路線，並且與江之翠劇團合作，整合視覺藝術與劇場元素以呈現創作者所居住的基隆山城故事，也為本次策展展現了一個精彩的跨界對話。崔廣宇則結合現行的金融會計財報體系，試圖為台灣藝術場館的社會功能與核心價值，做出另類的評鑑。至於世代對話的部分，則是以衛星展的方式，重新打開已經塵封一段時間、曾作為台灣替代空間重要指標的南海藝廊，並且以城市發展、市場記憶以及考古與考現作為主題，透過對應式的展出以及論壇的設計，交織起相關得獎者以及年輕世代創作者之間的對話。
After Twenty Years, Will You Still Be Here?
In the past two decades, the Taiwan society and environment have undergone drastic changes: Including the rapid evolution of information transmission; the appearance of self-made media; the popularization of AI technology; and the near replacement of the written word by audiovisual streaming. Each one of these developments has had an impact on our ways of understanding the everyday life. The network of transnational labor exchange systems has brought an atmosphere of southern exoticism to Taiwan, which in turn has impacted the formerly homogenous local culture. Furthermore, as the political geography of Taiwan has observably tilted towards localization, contradictions and conflicts between Taiwan and China have grown all the more intense. When such a crisis becomes part of people’s life, it further spurs thinking about Taiwan in terms of its subjectivity. Against such a background, attention to various local issues has increased as well. Amidst the collision of multiple domains, art has come into contact and integrated with
traditionally disparate fields, such as archaeology/modernology (the study of modern social phenomena), genealogy, topology, anthropology, geomancy, and many more. Today, “being interdisciplinary” has become an unavoidable trend. In addition, the idea of “the environment” has evolved conceptually from being directly associated with “environmental protection” into a wider consciousness encompassing ecology, non-human life forms, indigenous peoples, and all existences on earth. This not only enriches the implication of “environment,” but also unveils an unprecedented alternative worldview. On the other hand, the institutionalization of art has produced a beneficial effect shared by all, as effective capital investment has created a wider platform for artists of younger generations to demonstrate their works. Nevertheless, the
widespread “capitalization” of artistic thoughts has also resulted in the gradual erosion of creative energies previously accumulated in the margins. Also, the increasingly maturing academic scene has engendered both positive and negative outcomes: On the one hand, it has constructed an epistemological structure for art; on the other hand, however, guiding qualities of discipline and systemization central to “epistemology” have diluted the physicality of art that once thrived and prevailed in the 80s and 90s. Instead, art as a “project-based” and “knowledge-oriented” form of presentation has surfaced as the present mainstream.
Throughout all the editions of the Taishin Arts Award, the winners and their award-winning works have, to a certain degree, reflected and responded to these developments of Taiwanese contemporary art over the past twenty years. To curatorially consider and respond to these changes has proven to be an enormous and a herculean task. Therefore, in dealing with this fundamental motif—the changes and developments of Taiwanese contemporary art over the past two decades—which is almost impossible to represent comprehensively, the curating of this exhibition renounces the usual chronological approach that represents history with a fragmented timeline, and also avoids the common routes of “thematic exhibition,” “exhibition of classics,” and “exhibition of masters.” Instead, the curating concentrates on the present of the award winners and how they envision the future, with a special emphasis on a seemingly age-old but continually relevant matter of “the future.”
Twenty years ago, the world had just ushered in the millennium, before which waves of apocalyptic theories and notions swept the globe, with many believing that the world would be soon destroyed and reborn from its ashes. Twenty years later, to once again put forward the term “future” seems to be an ingenious response. In other words, the curating does not aim to add to the popular contemporary discourses of futurology, but to firstly respond to our current situation, particularly when the military pressure from China has grown imminent during the curating and preparation of this exhibition, and our envisioning of the future has been informed by a sense of complicatedness (if not a sense of destruction). This “future” is not utopian in nature, and surely cannot be explained away by the generalizing term of “imagination.” It is rather a future that is inscribed into the characteristic instinct of life. The future must be created in an active way; and it
is particularly so when the present reality has become growingly suffocating. As for the approach to create said future, one must rely on “dialogue.” Furthermore, dialogue is also a question posed to the art field today, which has been moving towards individualization and separation. Consequently, establishing a site of dialogue, temporary though it may be, is one of the curatorial axes of this exhibition; others include different tasks: continuing the artists’ self-dialogues; creating thematic dialogues between the previous award-winners and the curator; facilitating broader connection between visual and performing artists to engender new collaborations; and bringing in the creative thoughts and perspectives of new-generation artists. All of these have constituted the curatorial framework of this exhibition.
Looking closer, Jao Chia-En continues his previous attention to Southeast Asian migrant workers, and constructs an installation that transforms the exhibition space into a site for learning Indonesian. Chen I-Hsuen also continues the creative thread in Commissioned, and further collaborates with Horse Dance Theatre and its general director, Su Wei-Chia, to once again interpret how instructions and the body become interrelated, while discussing the dominance/subordinance dynamic between arts creators and freelancers, along with the blurred boundary therein.
Tang Huang-Chen carries on with the core of her artistic practice—“drift and search,” which underlines the Ulyssean journey starting with I Go Traveling V—A Postcard with Scenery, and the dialogues in Completed-in-Forgetting Old Lady in recent years, to arrive at the artist’s projection and quest of the self. Her latest work, adopting the form of live performance, seeks to initiate a dialogue about life between herself and the audience. In addition, TheCube Project Space starts with their award-winning project, Altering Nativism—Sound Culture in Post-war Taiwan, and combines it with the art space’s subsequent projects, including Talking Drums Radio and Sound Meridians, to showcase more comprehensively their strong interest in the sound culture. Chou Yu-Cheng exhibits new two-dimensional works, but these images are still informed by
his individualistic inclination towards crisp refinement and reserved critiques observable in his previous works.
Additionally, in cases of dialogues between artists, Wu Mali has demonstrated persistent concern with issues related to environmental politics starting from Art as Environment: A Cultural Action in Tropic of Cancer to Art as Environment—A Cultural Action at the Plum Tree Stream. Gong Jow- Jiun’s curating of the Mattauw Earth 2022 —One Thousand Names of Zeng-wen River features the river basin of Zeng-wen River as its primary creative site, and incorporates art initiatives to engage in deep cultivation of the land and explore policies of river governance, further developing the research-based curatorial practice and the approach of “puânn-nuá” (literally meaning “socializing”) realized through being stationed at and studying specific places for a long period of time, a practice which Gong has developed and accumulated since Kau-Puê, Mutual Companionship in Near Future. Therefore, Plum Creek and Zeng-wen River form an
alternative dialogue of “two river basins” in this exhibition. Aside from archives and documents, the exhibition also features Chen Po-I’s Monument series, which shows astonishing images that expose multiple problems in relation to the policy of modern concrete river improvement. Moreover, one of the key focuses of the exhibition is “off-site dialogue”: In Chiayi’s Tapu, where the “two river basins” intersect, the program of “The Parliament of Things” and the system of guides have relaunched discussions about the diversification of rivers and the environment, species, and ecology, as well as opening up more policy-oriented discussions through artistic initiatives. Tu Wei-Cheng continues The Urban Image Treasure Chest Display and other series, through which he conducts dialogues with other finalists and winners of the Taishin Arts Award. Meanwhile, Peng Hung-Chih’s award winning work, Beware of GOD, discusses issues of
contemporary people’s religious belief by looking at more than six hundred abandoned religious statues. In this exhibition, he still implicitly follows a similarly supernatural route involving the subject of deities and religious belief, and collaborates with Gang-a Tsui Theater to integrate visual art with theatrical elements to portray stories of the mountain city—Keelung, where the artist currently resides. This collaboration also demonstrates a remarkable cross-field dialogue for this curatorial endeavor. Tsui Kuang-Yu combines the current system of accounting and financial statements to alternatively appraise the social functions and core values of art venues in Taiwan. In terms of inter-generational dialogue, a satellite exhibition has been organized and presented at Nanhai Gallery, which was once a landmark of Taiwan’s alternative spaces and has been closed for a long time. The satellite exhibition is themed around urban development, market memory, archaeology, and modernology. Through mirroring the main exhibition and establishing a forum
for disucssion, the satellite exhibition weaves a dialogue between the award winners and artists of a younger generation.
“After twenty years, will you still be here?” is a question I posed to myself, who is also an artist and a former Taishin Arts Award winner, about whether that pure artistic fervor from the past would continue, or dwindle due to work overload. Bypassing the loneliness and oblivion of the artistic process, how can we re-launch dialogues? Is the future a realm of the unknown that is filled with more energy? Perhaps we would gain some insights into these questions when visiting the 20th anniversary exhibition of the Taishin Arts Award.