EVERYDAY LIFE: 2013 Asian Art Biennial will officially open to the public on October 5th. Curated by NTMFA curator, Iris Shu-Ping Huang, the theme of Everyday Life presents creative trends observed in Asian arts’ return to “everyday-ness”, and the aesthetic development with the return to everyday life, including directions involved with social interventions and everyday concerns. Focus is placed on the onsite experiences and sentiments prompted by life’s creative vigor, and be inspired by life and to propose questions and critiques on the routine everyday conventions through micro-revolutions, ordinary knowledge, visual style, and social relationship found in life.
Looking back at the many important incidents and critical discussions that took place in Asia recently, it is observed that life’s basic necessities and fundamental values have undoubtedly been the most pressing subjects, with different cultural-based issues also investigated during this development. More and more artists are taking an assertive stance in life, and by stepping out of their studios, they have chosen to enter into the site of everyday life and to allow for more self-actualization opportunities. Furthermore, through community links, attempts are made by artists to respond to issues happening in everyday life and also to impart some impacts through creative endeavors. The contributing artists for this exhibition include Taiwanese graffiti artist, Candy Bird, who is actively involved in intervening with urban renovation issues; another Taiwanese artist, Kao Jun-Honn, and his team are involved in the extensive survey of sites of ruins in Taiwan, as they recreate the collective social memories that these sites embody. Also included are Australian progressive artist, Richard Bell; Israeli artistic collective, Public Movement, who specializes in organizing ritualistic performances and actions in public spaces to prompt for discussions of civil rights and public politics. Their creative endeavors utilize physical actions as social language for declarations and critiques, and the physical body is treated as an expressive space open for everyday interventions. These creative contents reflect how contemporary Asian cultures are intermixing in the region’s complex and ironic social-political structures, and also people’s struggles in facing with social reforms and structural shifts.
This biennial will mark the first time for the Israeli artist collective, Public Movement, to exhibit in Asia. They visited Taiwan in June to conduct an in-depth survey of Taiwan’s history and culture based on the nation’s unique political and geographical position in Asia. The new project they will be showing for this biennial is entitled the Honor Guard, which is a collaborative piece with the Veterans Honor Guard of ROC. The ceremonial physical performance is designed to solute the country and takes place at designated times at the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall’s Liberty Plaza. With the historical backdrop of the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall as the creative inspiration for this artwork, the duration of the performance is about 15 to 30 minutes, with Public Movement working with the Veterans Honor Guard of ROC to integrate together the historic public political symbol of the site with drill variations performed by the Tri-Service Honor Guard, which are also combined with key body languages relating to Taiwan’s history, cultural and important incidents implemented by the artist collective. The outcome of the project is a complex and symbolic imagery with elements of institutional control, confusion, confliction, harmony, chaos, and autonomy. Public Movement’s intent is to present a performance based on a new definition for national dignity, and invites the audience to salute to the different aesthetics found in Taiwan’s past, present, future, and its division and order.
Everyday issues convey people’s cultural ideals and social values, which are routine contents constructed via layers of social norms, traditional systems, political powers, and habitual customs. At the same time, the ordinary everyday is also full of changing possibilities, and its flexibility offers artists ways to create and intervene. In facing with issues and incidents happening currently, artists are able to treat the “everyday life” as a site for the production of values, and using the physical body to conduct actions of actualization and life as the creative text, focus is placed on how to develop everyday aesthetical discourses derived from life’s experiences and actions. Some of the contributing artists for this biennial have created new projects to echo with this year’s theme from observations they’ve made locally, and from which they have uncovered aesthetical forms and creative contents from everyday life or local knowledge, and these artists include: Japanese artist, Shitamichi Motoyuki, whose artwork is inspired by his observations of the quietly moving scenery lines in Taichung, and with their constantly changing identities and positions to fit with life’s demands, he has positioned plants and furniture as the protagonists of this artwork. Their mobile states not only reveal a responsive stance towards life; at the same time, the situation is also a symbolic interactive relationship and also a form of spatial aesthetics. Malaysian artist, Roslisham Ismail (a.k.a. ISE) visited Taiwan and closely participated with the daily routines of five sets of people that worked in markets in Taichung. He followed them from when they wake up early in the morning and as they go about their day with the usual people, events, and things. He witnessed their daily routines and whether or not they’ve had a smooth day and how they conclude each day. The artist also incorporated his everyday communications into this creative project, including how he persuaded these people to allow him to take part in their daily lives and also how people go about negotiating their everyday relationships, as he believes that the content of everyday life is a form of art created by each individual.
The House of Natural Fiber（HONF Foundation）is a new media art laboratory based in Indonesia, and is composed of members of different creative backgrounds, including digital musicians, designers, and computer programmers. The locally created projects for this biennial demonstrate the young experimental explorers’ concerns for the everyday social environment, and their focuses on the various critical issues hidden in today’s society. The members of the collective frequently collaborate with scholars from other disciplines to integrate scientific practices and research outcomes to create public interactive artworks. Included in this exhibition is HONF Foundation’s HELLO BIO ! – CHRONICLE THERAPY（art without an artist – media arts are almost dead）, which is a project derived from interactions with researchers and laboratories when the group visited the Taichung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station and National Chung Hsing University’s Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, Department of Food Science and Biotechnology, and Department of Life Sciences. The work includes three key elements – agricultural, environmental, and bio-technological experiment and research contents, resulting in this interesting project that voices the lives they have observed locally. HONF Foundation’s artworks strive to expand the confined conventional parameter of art, and with tangible social actualizations, their endeavors reflect the various efforts we exert in our daily lives, and how these creative actions could change and offer effective solutions.
Life is a constant process of creative production. This year’s biennial includes a diversity of artworks to present the constantly evolving and progressing everyday life in Asia. Also included in the exhibition is the project created by the Riverbed Theater and visual artists, with them bringing an ordinary theater into the exhibition for the presentation of the “Open Room” on designated weekends. Furthermore, Korean artist Meekyoung Shin’s sculptural work is extended from the exhibition space into the museum’s restrooms and also the restrooms in the restaurants and coffee shops around the museum. The audience is invited to wash their hands with this sculptural piece and use their everyday warmth to observe the changes as the artwork interacts with life. This year’s biennial includes 35 artists/collectives from 20 countries to present a diverse array of artworks, including performance, installation, graffiti, painting, sculpture, video, sound, and cross-disciplinary theatrical performance. The anticipation is for these diverse perspectives to uncover the different spectacles in the everyday life and to reevaluate the everyday realities that we are experiencing.
Exhibition: EVERYDAY LIFE: 2013 Asian Art Biennial
Dates: October 5th, 2013 ~ January 5th, 2014
Venue: National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts outdoor plaza and 1st floor exhibition space
Media Liaison: Tsai Ya-Chun, Tel：04-2372-3552 #132
National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts（http://www.ntmofa.gov.tw）
Open Hours：Tues.~ Fri. 09：00~17：00, Sat., Sun. 09:00～18:00, closed on Mondays
Museum Address：2, Sec. 1, Wu Chuan W. Rd., Taichung City 403, Taiwan
Asian Art Biennial: http://www.asianartbiennial.org/2013/