Phantasmopolis is a newly coined Greek word comprising “phantasma” (phantom) and “polis” (city-state). This word owes its inspiration to Phantasmagoria, a sci-fi novel written in English by architect WANG Dahong. While “phantasmagoria” refers to the “phantom-haunted house” constructed with light projection technology before the 19th century, Wang’s novel is about a prince cast adrift in outer space in 3069 AD.
Treating “Asian futurism” and “Asian sci-fi culture” as its main themes, the 2021 Asia Art Biennial “Phantasmapolis” seeks to review Asia’s past and present from the perspective of science fiction. All the exhibits are intended to break the stereotypes about Asia in Hollywood sci-fi movies, and meanwhile reexamine the metropolises, technologies, conflicts, gender, and imagined future of Asia from Asian artists’ viewpoints.
This biennial invites five emerging curators from different Asian countries under its multi-curator system. The transnational curatorial team adds extra programs to the biennial per se, including video section, archives, special screening, forums, and publication of readers, expecting to envisage Asian futurism in diverse ways.
The biennials tend to feature contemporary artists’ works. Apart from following the Asian Art Biennial’s convention of gathering significant contemporary artists from Asia, the curatorial team also tries to contextualize art history, which affords the visitors a tantalizing glimpse of pre-war Japanese sci-fi animations, the records of Japanese avant-garde groups in the 1960s, and the documents in the R.O.C. Pavilion at the “Expo ’70” in Osaka, Japan.
This biennial attempts to establish the sci-fi context in the art history of Taiwan by virtue of LIU Kuo Sung’s painting of outer space, Wang Dahong’s moon-landing monument, Yuyu YANG’s laser photography, as well as the works by CHEANG Shu Lea, WANG Jun Jieh and HUNG Tung Lu. In addition, this biennial invites Filipino curator Tessa Maria Guazon and Taiwanese researcher WANG Yi Jun to reseach and curate documents respectively concerning the Philippines and Asian sci-fi queer. Moreover, India curator Anushka Rajendran organizes a video section that represent the works by iconic video creators from several Asian countries, which allows the visitors to enjoy video works that address Asia-related issues.
The 2021 Asian Art Biennial is scheduled to be on view as the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps the world, and considerable challenges and impacts consequently ensue. Foreign artists have to exhibit their works without personal presence. Many artists also developed their specific projects according to their own observation of the pandemic. For example, Taiwanese artist Joyce Ho decided to redesign the facilities for body temperature measurement and personal information registration in the reception hall, making them similar to the entry gate in a quarantine hall.
In addition to carrying the artists’ imagination of future, many works in this biennial focus closely on the present realities and the general malaise about the overdevelopment of Asian cities. The sheer scope of these works ranges from the microscopic world of insects to the cosmic nebulae, which not only creates special visual experiences for the visitors, but also treats futurism as an analytical tool for social issues.
We cordially invite you to “Phantasmapolis” and hope that you’ll find aesthetic delight in the exhibits here. We also expect the visitors to rethink the future and futurity of contemporary Asia in the complex and diversified future world. We would like to suggest the visitors to consult the guide to our side events. You will definitely gain a deeper understanding of Asian art that belongs to the future world by attending different events and utilizing our online resources.
As the economic performance of Asian countries continues to attract global attention, issues related to cultural perspectives and aesthetic foundations of Asia have become key points of interest in the world of contemporary arts. Enriched by the diversity of cultural perspectives, Asian contemporary arts have flourished and expanded to meet the aesthetic needs of our time. Serving as an important platform of artistic exchange between Taiwan and the international arts community, the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts has always been keen to facilitate intercultural dialogues through art. We hope that extensive communication and discussion on the subject will enhance our understanding of contemporary Asia and its dynamic artistic creativity.
The outdoor courtyard of the Museum comprises a total area of 102,000 square meters (inclusive of the Public Outdoor Sculpture Park), making the NTMoFA one of the largest art museum in Asia. The NTMoFA main building has three floors and a basement, with a total land area of 37,953 square meters covering an exhibition space of 15,601 square meters. The exhibition area consists of Galleries, the Gallery Street, E-Transit and Digital Arts Creativity and Resource Center. The first and second floors are devoted to themed exhibitions, the third floor holds a permanent exhibition of the Museum's collection, and the outdoor courtyard is showcases exquisite sculptural works.
The newly-renovated museum building provides an open and friendly educational environment. The newly added Picture Book Area, the Family Room, the Media Art Center, the Teacher's Resource Center and other educational and recreational areas cover a total of 5,319 square meters. During the twenty years since its establishment, the NTMoFA has held close to 900 exhibitions and thousands of related events.
Official Website: http://www.ntmofa.gov.tw/