Taichung, Taiwan: The 7th edition of the Asian Art Biennial, organized by the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts and co-curated by artists Hsu Chia-Wei from Taiwan and Ho Tzu-Nyen from Singapore, will open on October 5. The exhibition will feature a wide selection of artworks, including paintings, installations, video works, performances, and workshops by 30 artists and collectives from 16 countries.
Breaking boundaries and frameworks through the “stranger” perspective titled “The Strangers from Beyond the Mountain and the Sea,” the 2019 edition of the Asian Art Biennial will focus not only on the encounters between insiders and strangers, but also explore complex human entanglements through non-human elements.
By “strangers, ”the curators refer not only to travellers from distant lands, but also spirits, gods, shamans, foreign merchants, immigrants, minorities, colonists, smugglers, partisans, spies and traitors. To them, strangers are mediums, through which other worlds may be communicated. As such, strangers have the potential to propel and transform the very foundations of our cultures. Through the perspectives of “strangers”, this exhibition seeks to spark the imagination and curiosity of viewers by expanding the limits of our existing knowledge systems, as well as extending the frameworks by which reality is understood.
The curatorial concept is further explained by curator Hsu Chia-Wei: “We are living in the Age of the Anthropocene, a geologic time period proposed in recent years to refer to the dominant influence of human activities on the climate and environment. This has led to critical reflections on anthropocentrism — the point of view that humans are the only, or primary, holders of moral standing”.
This has in turn led to three observable trajectories in contemporary art practice. First, a re-evaluation of diverse pre-modern “tribal” societies as a critique of a monolithic concept of modernity; second, a re-thinking of how the human race can coexist with the environment in an ecologically sustainable manner; and third, a re-examination of our philosophical systems, and a review of our assumptions about technology which has spun out of control since the Industrial Revolution.
These are some of the issues that both Hsu and Ho have focused on extensively in this edition of the Asian Art Biennial. Their attempts to present possible links and overlapping conditions between the aforementioned three trends give rise to connections and correlations to this concept in the showcased artworks, be it on their own or in relation to each other.
Issues in Asia are reinterpreted by 30 artists from 16 countries.
The artists participating in the 2019 Asian Art Biennial are as follows: Korakrit Arunanondchai and Alex Gvojic (with boychild) (Thailand/ USA), Antariksa (Indonesia), Zuleikha Chaudhari (India), Charles Lim (Singapore), Shilpa Gupta (India), Roslisham Ismail/a.k.a ISE (Malaysia), Guo Fengyi (China), Chiang Kai-Chun (Taiwan), Chiu Chen-Hung (Taiwan), Ho Rui An (Singapore), Snow Huang/Against Again Troupe (Taiwan), Jiandyin(Jiradej Meemalai and Pornpilai Meemalai ) (Thailand), Hiwa K (Iraq), Lee Ufan (Korea), Liu Chuang (China), Liu Yu (Taiwan), Open Contemporary Art Center (Taiwan)＋Lifepatch (Indonesia), Park Chan-Kyong (Korea), Timur Si-Qin (Germany), Gilad Ratman (Israel), Tcheu SIONG (Laos), Wukir SURVADI/Senyawa (Indonesia), TING Chaong- Wen (Taiwan), Ming Wong (Singapore), Maya Watanabe (Netherlands/Peru), Wang Si-Shun (China), Yuichiro Tamura (Japan), Wang Hong-Kai (Taiwan), Yee I-Lann (Malaysia), and Sawangwongse Yawnghwe (Burma).
Amongst the list, young emerging artists, Korakrit Arunanondchai from Thailand and Timur Si-Qin from Germany, have garnered much international attention of late. Recently featured in the central exhibition of this year’s Venice Biennale, Arunanondchai is a visual artist, filmmaker, and storyteller who employs his versatile practice to tell stories deeply embedded in cultural hybridity.
On view at this exhibition is his latest work co-created with Alex Gvojic and inspired by the 2018 rescue of 12 schoolboys and their football coach from the Tham Luang Cave in Thailand. The artwork embodies, in its unique and energetic way, the intricate mesh between environment, technology, politics, and culture.
Visit the museum or the biennial’s official websites for further information: www1.asianartbiennial.org/2019/.