Shortlist: Taiwan

Kao Chien-hui, Chicago-based critic and independent curator
高千惠, 駐芝加哥藝評人及獨立策展人
August 2011

Overview 中文版本

By recommending selected readings on Taiwanese contemporary art, this guide aims to illuminate the regional characteristics and developmental theory of Taiwanese art. The bibliography is derived from materials in Asia Art Archive’s collection, and focuses on seven main areas: Chronological Development, Art Criticism, Artist Reviews, Survey Exhibitions, Biennials and Other International Exhibitions, Specialised Subjects and Media, and Selected Periodicals.

The development of Taiwanese art in the 20th century and beyond can be divided into two general periods. The first period covers the early 20th century through the Post-War years, during which the influences of Impressionism, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism were clearly predominant. This is considered to be the ‘developmental period of modern art.’ The second period begins in the 1980s, just before martial law was lifted, and continues to the present time. During this latter period, art developed under the influence of pluralism and postmodernism: as such, this is considered the ‘developmental period of contemporary art.’ ‘Shortlist: Taiwan’ takes as its basis the views of writers on contemporary art over the last thirty years. It includes material covering the historical and cultural background for the development of regionalism and internationalism in Taiwanese contemporary art of the last thirty years, as well as elaborating on past currents in Taiwan’s contemporary art scene and providing fresh investigations of topics related to art of the present and of the future.

According to modern history, Taiwan was ceded to Japan upon the signing of the Treaty of Simonoseki, and Taiwanese art and culture became strongly impacted by colonialist policies. Prior to this time, the literati art of China’s Ming and Qing dynasties and ethnic Han popular culture were the wellsprings of culture and the arts in Taiwan. Readers interested in the early modernisation of Taiwanese art can refer to books listed in the first two sub-sections under Chronological Development: 20th Century in General and Japanese Occupation Era (1895-1945). From these books, information can be gained on the historical background of the early 20th century as well as the contextual heritage of earlier generations of artists.
Regarding the transition of modernism into postmodernism and the advent of globalisation, the Chronological Development section is further divided into two periods: Post-war and Cold War Eras (1950s-early 1980s); and Post Martial Law/Postmodern/New Century Eras (late 1980s-2000s). These two sub-sections provide insight into Taiwanese contemporary art trends under the influence of Western thought on visual culture, as well as the awakening of regional consciousness. In the wake of their defeat at the hands of the Communists in 1949, the Nationalist government transferred to Taiwan, followed by a large migration of Mainland Chinese citizens. As a result, Taiwanese culture was once again faced with a conflict between the ideologies of Chinese national culture and Japanese colonialist culture. In the ensuing cold war between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits, Taiwanese arts and culture and Chinese arts and culture under Communism developed in divergent directions. As Taiwan experienced the successive stages of colonialism and migration, it was inevitable that its cultural consciousness was influenced by the strictures of the political regime and its cultural policies. In the post-martial-law period spanning the 1980s to the 2000s, Taiwan visual art confronted the political and social transformations of the pre-and-post martial law, postmodern, and globalisation stages. In the first decade of the 21st century, the relationship between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits has changed significantly and there is far more cultural dialogue. In recent years, mass consumer culture and community-based cultural movements have become the new contexts for Taiwanese contemporary art.

There is no clear break-off point between ‘modern art’ and ‘contemporary art’, and the demarcations of ‘modernist’, ‘postmodernist’, and ‘contemporary’ still remain quite vague – a circumstance which, over the last half-century, has given rise to a number of important cultural debates in Taiwan. In the bibliographic section on Art Criticism, readers can find topical essays on the modernist art movements from 1950 to 1990 as well as texts related to the four key themes that characterised debates of that time period: 1. Subjective cultural identity in relation to Chinese traditional guohua (‘national painting’) and Japanese colonialist toyoga ('East Asian painting’); 2. The traditionalist vs modernist debate that emerged under the influence of Western ideological trends; 3. The dialogue between regional consciousness and postmodern aesthetics that emerged under the intersecting conditions of localism and internationalism; 4. The developing bifurcation between localism and internationalism under the influence of globalisation. As such, the bibliography’s section on art criticism provides a range of cultural and aesthetic thought representing both challenge and response in the period from the 1950s to 1990s.

In the bibliographic sections on Artist Reviews, Survey Exhibitions, Biennials and Other International Exhibitions, can be found concrete examples of the conceptual thought and artistic practice of Taiwanese artists. Beginning in the 1990s, the Taiwanese art scene entered into a museum-driven era. In the mid-1990s, the Taiwan pavilion at the Venice Biennale curated by the Taipei Museum of Fine Arts brought Taiwanese contemporary art into the arena of international contemporary art. With the support of both Taiwan’s official institutions and independent art galleries, Taiwanese artists and art practitioners have actively participated in international art events, facilitating more of a balance between internationalism and localism in Taiwanese contemporary art. In the 21st century there has been a significant increase on many levels in cultural exchange between Taiwan and Mainland China, with a parallel increase in the artistic dialogue between ethnic Chinese living in different environments. At the same time, Japanese pop and manga art have strongly influenced young Taiwanese artists, making Taiwanese contemporary art a player on the young Northeast Asian art scene. These materials on cultural exchange illuminate the scope of the dialogue between local and non-local artists. In the bibliographic section on Cross-regional Cultural Dialogue, can be found discussions on the relationship between Taiwanese contemporary art and Western art currents and events, as well as interactions among ethnic Chinese artists.

Because of the cultural development and the openness of the media in the past decades, Taiwanese contemporary art has gradually taken on a regional character. In the section on Specialised Subjects and Media, interested users can find information related to women artists, indigenous art, ink art, performance art, installation art, photography, and video. Those interested in art journalism or in specialist columns, can refer to the Periodicals section to gain an understanding of the selective trends in journalistic coverage of the art world. The selected periodicals include Hsiung Shih Art Monthly, a journal that has already ceased publication but was of major importance from the 1970s to the 1990s; Artist, Taiwan’s longest-running contemporary art magazine; Artco, which has established a clearer position in the art world in the last ten years; ACT, a journal which represents the academic viewpoint on historical issues as well as contemporary art events; and the English-language monthly Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art.

As regards the publishing industry, Taiwan has three main private publishing houses which specialise in art-related books, including Hsiung Shih Art Books, Artist Publishing, and Art and Collection, and thus most of the books listed here come from these three publishers. During the 2000s, in order to actively establish records of Taiwanese art history, the Taiwan Council for Cultural Affairs has cooperated with these three private companies in publishing a series of major [art-historical] texts, so that everything from early artists and critics to young contemporary artists have now been entered into officially approved historical documentation. Apart from this, the Taipei Museum of Fine Arts has organised a series of retrospective exhibitions on different periods, and preserved photographic documentation of these shows. The urgency with which historical documentation for contemporary art is being undertaken means that, within a short period of time, modern and contemporary art has gained the recognition of the official art history. An examination of these materials will give users further insight into the ongoing developmental direction of Taiwanese contemporary artists.

This Shortlist is meant to serve as a starting point for research, and as a means of facilitating further understanding of the development of Taiwanese contemporary art and its regional characteristics. It is drawn from AAA’s collection, with a focus on non-commercial materials. It also references bibliographies and texts used by art universities in Taiwan.

(Translated by Valerie Doran)






由於「現代藝術」與「當代藝術」之間並非呈現斷裂狀態,而且「現代性」、「後現代性」和「當代性」的區域定義至今仍處歧義狀態,致使台灣在過去半世紀內出現了幾次重要的文化思潮論戰。在有關藝術評論的書目裡,讀者可以看到1950年代至1990年代的美術現代化運動和相關的論戰文章,內容涉及四大重要議題:一、 有關傳統中國畫和日據東洋畫的文化主體認同;二、 西方思潮影響下,傳統性和現代性的爭論;三、 在地化與國際化交織下,區域意識與後現代美學的對話;四、 全球化影響下,在地化與國際化逐漸分歧的發展趨向。是故,書目中的藝術評論部份,可提供台灣在1950年代至1990年代期間,許多挑戰與回應下的文化和美學思考。





Recommended Readings

Chronological Development 發展階段

20th Century in General 二十世紀概論

Chu Pei-i, Hsieh Tung-shan, Taiwanese Realist Arts 1895–2005, Art & Collection Group Publishing Ltd., Taipei, 2006
Li Chin-hsien, Taiwan Art, Hsiung Shih Art books Co. Ltd., Taipei, 2007
Liu I-chang, et al., A History of Fine Arts in Taiwan, Artist Publishing Co., Taipei, 2009
Shaih Li-fa, Exploring the Historical Insight of Taiwan Art, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 1997.
Wang Hsiu-hsiung, A Discussion of the Historical Development of Taiwan's Art, National Museum of History, Taipei, 1995

Japanese Occupation Era (1895–1945) 日據時期 (1895–1945)

Shaih Li-fa, Jihchu shihtai Taiwan meishu yuntung shih (History of Taiwanese Art Movement During Japanese Occupation), Artist Publishing Co., Taipei, 1992
Yan Chuan-ying, Taiwan chintai meishu tashih nienpiao (A Chronology of Important Art Events in Taiwan: 1895–1945), Hsiung Shih Art books Co. Ltd., Taipei, 1998

Post-war and Cold War Eras (1950s–early 1980s) 戰後冷戰時期(1950年代至1980年代早期)

Chen Ying-ying, The Transitional Eighties: Taiwan's Art Breaks New Ground, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 2004
Hsiao Chiung-jui, Wuyueh yu tungfang: chungkuo meishu hsientaihua yuntung tsai chanhou Taiwan chih fachan (1945–1970) (The Fifth Moon and Eastern Painting Groups: Development of Chinese Fine Arts Modernism Movement in Post-war Taiwan (1945–1970), Tungta Publisher, Taipei, 1991
Huang Tsai-Ling, From the Ground Up: Artist Associations in 1950s Taiwan, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 2003
黃才郎撰文,長流: 五○年代台灣美術發展,台北市立美術館,台北,2003
Lai Ying-ying, Taiwanese Avant-Garde: Complex Art in the 1960s, Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., Ltd., Taipei, 2003
Liao Tsun-ling, et al., The Experimental Sixties: Avant-Garde Art in Taiwan, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 2003
Lin Hsing-yueh, et al., A Retrospection on Taiwan Modern Art Environment from 1945 to 1995, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 1995
Yu, Sharleen, Liu Yung-jen, Reflections of the Seventies: Taiwan Explores Its Own Reality, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 2004

Post Martial Law / Postmodern / New Century Eras (late 1980s–2000s) 後解嚴/後現代/新世紀時期(1980年代晚期至2000年代)

Chang Fang-wei, ed., The Multiform Nineties: Taiwan's Art Branches Out, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 2005
Hsieh Tung-shan, ed., Contemporary Art in Taiwan: 1980–2000, Artist Publishing Co., Taipei, 2002
Jose, Nicholas, Yang Wen-i, eds., Art Taiwan: The Contemporary Art of Taiwan, G+B Arts International Ltd., Amsterdam, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 1995
Lin Hsiao-yu, Howard Chen, Post-adolescence, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, 2010
Lu Peng, Zhu Zhu, Kao Chien-hui, eds., Reshaping History: Chinart from 2000 to 2009—A Spectacle of the Ordinary, Sichuan Meishu Chubanshe, Chengdu, 2010

Art Criticism 藝術評論

Anthology 文集

Chiu Lin-ting, et al., Taiwan meishu pinglun chuanchi (Taiwan Art Criticism Series), Artist Publishing Co., Taipei, 1999
Kuo, Jason, ed., Visual Culture in Taiwan, 1975–1995, Artist Publishing Co., Taipei, 1995
Lai Hsiang-ling, ed., Art Criticism Documents Taiwan: 1990–1996—DEOA Art Criticism Award, 1997, Dimension Endowment of Art, Taipei, 1997
Lai Hsiang-ling, ed., Art Criticism in Taiwan, 1997–1998, Dimension Endowment of Art, Taipei, 1999
賴香伶編,台灣藝評研究 1997–1998,帝門藝術教育基金會,台北,1999
Lai Hsiang-ling, ed., DEOA Art Criticism Award, 1995, Dimension Endowment of Art, Taipei, 1996
Wang Teh-yu David, Dialogue between Modernism and Cultural Heritage in Taiwanese Art, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 2004

Discourse on Historical Circumstances 歷史情境論述

Li Chun-hsien, Southern Viewpoints on Taiwan Art, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 1996
Liao Hsien-tien, Taiwan meishu ssulun: manhuang/wenming?tzujan/wenhua? jentung/chai? chuntsui/ huntsa (Four Theses of Taiwanese Art: Barbarianism/ Civilisation? Nature/ Culture? Recognition/ Difference? Pureness/ Hybridity), Art & Collection Group Publishing Ltd., Taipei, 2008
廖新田,臺灣美術四論:蠻荒/文明 ‧ 自然/文化 ‧ 認同/差異 ‧ 純粹/混雜,典藏藝術家庭股份有限公司,台北,2008
Liao Hsin-tien, Ishu te changli: Taiwan meishu yu wenhua chengchihhsueh (Tension in Art: Art and Cultural Politics in Taiwan), Art & Collection Group Publishing Ltd., Taipei, 2010
Lin Hsing-yueh, To Tide over a Chopping Environment of Art in Taiwan, Artist Publishing Co., Taipei, 1997
Ni Tsai-chin, A Cultural Perspective on Taiwan Art, Artist Publishing Co., Taipei, 2007

Cross-regional Cultural Dialogue 跨地域文化對話

Kao Chien-hui, After Origin: Topic on Contemporary Chinese Art in New Age, Artist Publishing Co., Taipei, 2004
Kao Chien-hui, Between the Boundaries: A Journey to Contemporary Art, Artist Publishing Co., Taipei, 2001
Kao Chien-hui, Fine Art—Unrefined: The Visual Culture in 90’s, Artist Publishing Co., Taipei, 1998

Artist Reviews 藝術家評介

Chen Hsiang-chun, Translating Dialogue: Journeys between Art and Social Contexts, Art & Collection Group Publishing Ltd., Taipei, 2004
Chen Shu-ling, ed., Artist Navigators: Selected Writings on Contemporary Taiwanese Artists, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 2007
Cheung, Alan, Taiwan chungshengtai ishuchia (Mesozoic Artists in Taiwan), Crown Publishing Co., Taipei, 2001
Cheng Hui-mei, Wanchenti: 13 wei Taiwan ishuchia te chuangtso yu shengming (Real Play: Creation and Lives of 13 Taiwanese Artists), Art & Collection Group Publishing Ltd., Taipei, 2007
Hsu Yun-kang, In the Name of Art, Goodness Publishing House, Taipei, 2009
Li Hsien-wen, Taiwan meishu chung te wushih tso shanyueh (Fifty Mountains in Taiwanese Art), Hsiung Shih Art books Co. Ltd., Taipei, 2005
Li Wei-ching, Portraits of Young Artists, Artist Publishing Co., Taipei, 2002
Lu Yi-an, Wang Hsiang-he, Look!, Taishin Bank Foundation for Arts and Culture, Taipei, 2006

Survey Exhibitions 綜合展覽

Chang Fang-wei, ed., Contemporary Taiwanese Art in the Era of Contention, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 2004
Hsiao Chiung-jui, et al., 1996 Taipei Biennial: The Quest For Identity, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 1996
Hsiao Chiung-jui, Reflection and Reconsideration: 2–28 Commemorative Exhibition, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 1998
蕭瓊瑞撰文, 凝視與形塑:後二二八世代的歷史觀察, 台北市立美術館,台北,1998
Lu, Victoria, et al., Visions of Pluralism: Contemporary Art in Taiwan, 1988–1999, Mountain Art Culture and Education Foundation, Kaohsiung, 1999
Wang Chia-chi Jason, Variations of Geometric Abstraction in Taiwan's Contemporary Art, The Eslite Corporation, Taipei, 2010

Biennials and Other International Exhibitions 雙年展與其他國際展覽

Chang Fang-wei, et al., eds., 1998 Taipei Biennial: Site of Desire, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 1998
Chang Fang-wei, Liao Tsun-ling, eds., Taipei Biennial 2010 (English Guidebook), Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 2010
Chen, Celine, Taiwan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale: A Retrospective 1995–2007, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 2010
Cheung, Amy, et al., eds., The Heard & the Unheard: Soundscape Taiwan, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 2011
Hsu, Manray, Sharleen Yu, eds., 2008 Taipei Biennial (Guide Book), Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 2008
徐文瑞、余思穎編,2008 台北雙年展(導覽),台北市立美術館,台北,2008
Sans, Jérôme, et al., 2000 Taipei Biennial: The Sky is the Limit, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 2000
Tsai Chao-yi, ed., 2007 Asian Art Biennial—Have You Eaten Yet?, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, 2007
蔡昭儀編,2007亞洲藝術雙年展:食飽未?, 國立台灣美術館,台中,2007
Tsai Chao-yi, ed., 2009 Asian Art Biennial: Viewpoints & Viewing Points, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, 2009
蔡昭儀編,2009亞洲藝術雙年展:觀點與「觀」點 , 國立台灣美術館,台中,2009
Tseng Mei-chen, ed., The Great Journey: In Pursuit of the Ancestral Realm, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung, 2010
Vanderlinden, Barbara, Cheng Huei-hua Amy, eds., 2004 Taipei Biennial: Do You Believe in Reality?, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 2004
范黛琳、鄭慧華編,2004台北雙年展:在乎現實嗎? ,台北市立美術館,台北,2004
Wang Chia-chi Jason, Home: Taiwan Biennial 2008, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, 2008
Yu, Sharleen, ed., 2002 Taipei Biennial: Great Theatre of the World, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 2002
Yu, Sharleen, Freya Chou, eds., 2006 Taipei Biennial: Dirty Yoga, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 2006
余思穎、周安曼編,2006 台北雙年展:[限制級]瑜珈,台北市立美術館,台北,2006

Specialised Subjects and Media 特別主題與媒介

Women Artists 女性藝術

Chang Cheng-lin Nicholas, FU New Generation—Female Artists in Taiwan, Daxiang Art Space, Taichung, 2008
Lai Ming-zhu, Liuchuan te fuhao nuhsing: chanchien Taiwan nuhsing tuhsiang ishu (The Drifting Female Symbol: Woman Image in Pre-war Taiwanese Art), Artist Publishing Co., Taipei, 2009
Lu, Victoria, History of (Contemporary) Taiwan Women Artists, Artist Publishing Co., Taipei, 2002
Shih Shu-ping, ed., Duel Regard: The Views from Taiwanese Women's Arts, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, 2009

Indigenous Art 原住民藝術

Lu Meifen, Before Dawn: The Development of Contemporary Indigenous Art in Taiwan, Artist Publishing Co., Taipei, 2007

Ink Art 水墨藝術

Chen Shu-ling, ed., The Origins of Toyoga in Taiwan, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 2000
Li Ssu-hsien, A Theoretical System for Chinese Contemporary Calligraphic Art in Taiwan, Art & Collection Group Publishing Ltd., Taipei, 2010
Liu Yung-jen, ed., Open Flexibility: Innovative Contemporary Ink Art, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, 2009
Shih Jui-jen, ed., X Beyond O: Calligraphy-Sign-Space, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, 2009
石瑞仁編,無中生有—書法 | 符號 | 空間,台北當代藝術館,台北,2009

Performance Art 行為藝術

Yao Jui-chung, Performance Art in Taiwan 1978–2004, Yuan-Liou Publishing Co. Ltd., Taipei, 2005

Installation Art 裝置藝術

Yao Jui-chung, Installation Art in Taiwan since 1991–2001, Ecus Publishing House, Taipei, 2004

Photography and Video 攝影與錄像

Hu Chao-sheng Sean, Chen Yung-hsien, Dwelling Place: Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition 2008, Chew's Culture Foundation, Taipei, 2008
Shih Shu-ping, Beyond 20 Degree Celsius: Exhibition of ‘Room-temperature Luminescence’ from Taiwanese Contemporary Imaging Art, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, 2009

Selected Periodicals 特選期刊

ACT, Tainan National University of the Arts, Tainan, 2010–present
Artist Magazine, Artist Publishing Co., Taipei, 1975–present
Artco, Art & Collection Group Publishing Ltd., Taipei, 1992–present
Hsiung Shih Art Monthly, Taipei, 1972–1996
Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Art & Collection Group, Taipei, 2002–present