Supervised by the Ministry of Culture, the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (NTMoFA) presents the biennial celebration of Asian contemporary art – the 8th Asian Art Biennial, which opens on October 30. In concurrence with the diverse possibilities unveiled by the theme of the Biennial, the NTMoFA specially invites “Saha World Music Group,” which is known for blending folk musical instruments to bring a brilliant performance for the opening press conference and reception. In the evening of the opening day, Betty Apple, the Taiwanese avant-garde artist of Generation Y, will bring a special performance, “Future Party.”
Furthermore, Saha World Music Group has created a medley, titled “Phantasmapolis,” for the Biennial, interweaving music and melodies to present the diversely cultural vision represented by Taiwan and demonstrating a fresh music style that surpasses national borders and time in world music. Betty Apple’s performance combines sound art and performance art to convey a free attitude of the future and a uniquely undefinable presence. Through splendidly diverse world music and a future party that surpasses imagination, the 2021 Asian Art Biennial opens the gate to Phantasmapolis and invites all citizens to enter this city state and step into the future.
Highlights of Phantasmapolis: The Transnational Curatorial Team X New Visions of Asian Contemporary Art Creation X Multiple Forms of Extended Projects
This edition of the Biennial is curated by a multinational, interdisciplinary curatorial team headed by Takamori Nobuo with Hou Yu-Kuan, Filipino curator Tessa Maria Guazon, Indian curator Anushka Rajendran, and Thai curator Thanavi Chotpradit. Through the transnational collaboration of emerging Asian curators and with 38 artists and art groups from a total of 15 countries, the Biennial unveils a diverse range of creative perspectives and viewpoints that collectively construct an imaginative city state closest to the future.
The exhibition of this year’s Biennial draws inspiration from Taiwanese architect Wang Dahong’s sci-fi novel, Phantasmagoria, based on which the curatorial team proposes the theme of “Phantasmapolis” and utilizes “Asian futurism” and “Asian sci-fi culture” as the main concepts to explore the importance of sci-fi in the Asian context. The exhibition showcases a total of 417 works, among which 28 are newly created and envelopes an interdisciplinary range of creative diversity that crosses various media, including two-dimensional painting, video art, large-scale installation, architectural project and literature.
To respond to this curatorial theme, the exhibition team has specially designed an imagery of “spacecraft gates,” using light, color and arrangement of traffic route to craft a serene, futuristic atmosphere. As every visitor entering the city state walks through the gates of different exhibition gallery rooms, they become the protagonist of Phantasmagoria by Wang Dahong – Prince Dino in his space drift in the year of 3069 – and tour this unknown city state interwoven with reality and fiction.
Taiwanese artist Joyce Ho brings her new project, entitled DOTS, for the Biennial and creates a distinctive landscape in the city state. Observing the pandemic, the artist re-designs the temporary body temperature check point and the real name registration facility in the museum lobby. By converting them into an entry gateway that resembles a “quarantine lobby,” which not only continues the artist’s creative context but also responds to a future world that has seemingly arrived, the artist provides the audience with a unique pseudo experience of traveling abroad and “arriving” in a future city.
Bakudapan is a food study group from Indonesia with members from different fields and disciplines. Their project, The Hunger Tales, explores political relations involving food crises and re-examines social situations from the production to the distribution of food. Bakudapan transforms the process of studying and thinking about resource shortage into a table game, in which players can play roles like farmers, wholesalers or the mayor. By experiencing the process of circulating and plundering food, players are encouraged to further reflect on the suppression and exploitation of food providers in the overall food supply chain. Using “game-based learning,” the project extends the depth of related issues. Players of all ages are welcome to experience this limited edition of a table game from the future world.
In addition to numerous new works from Taiwanese and foreign artists, audiences will also have a chance to see the classic works of established Taiwanese artists, such as Yuyu Yang, Liu Kuo-sung, Wang Dahong and Cheng Mei while glimpsing into the context of sci-fi text in Taiwanese art history through the works of Shu Lea Cheang, Wang Jun-Jieh, Hung Tung-Lu and many more artists.
In addition, the curatorial team also transcends the form of one single exhibition to extend the exhibition concept to various projects, including the “Archive and Research Project,” the “Video Art Project” and the “Forum and Reader Project,” attempting to reflect on the possibility of Asian futurism based on varied specimens of architecture, archives, texts and videos from different Asian regions. Filipino curator Tessa Maria Guazon and Taiwanese researcher I Chun (Nicole) WANG are also invited to respectively tease out and present the archives from the Philippines and Asian sci-fi queer archives. The video art project, “Phantasmapolis: Looking Back into the Future,” is curated by Indian curator Anushka Rajendran and features 15 important video artists from 13 countries in Asia and North America, utilizing video works of divergent style to showcase the future look of Asian contemporary video art.
The “Archive and Research Project” comprises the first-wave event, the “Songs from the Moon Rabbit—The 2021 Asian Art Biennial Forum,” which will run from October 30 to 31 and the bilingual essay collection, entitled The Midnight Sun and the Owl—Reader of 2021 Asian Art Biennial, supported by Winsing Art Foundation to engage visitors in unfolding unlimited imagination of the future through reading. Curated by Thai curator Thanavi Chotpradit, the forum and the essay collection invite the curatorial team, Taiwanese and foreign scholars as well as the participating artists to explore together issues of various aspects, ranging from sci-fi space, ecology and architectural environment, natural phenomena and so on to expand the cultural horizon of Asian diversity.
Connecting with Phantasmapolis: A Satellite Exhibition X A Satellite Event X Promotional Activities to Release the Biennial’s Fresh Energy
To expand the exhibition site of the NTMoFA and cultivate the public’s attention to and vision of the Asian region, the Biennial especially co-organizes a satellite exhibition with the Ministry of Culture’s Mongolian and Tibetan Cultural Center and co-organizes a satellite event with the Digital Art Center, Taipei (DAC). As a special topic of the 2021 Asian Art Biennial, both events further extend the discourses about Asia to Mongolia and Central Asia while broadening the aspects of gender and digital technology issues to render the interdisciplinary perspective of the exhibition richer and fuller. The brilliant exhibition and event will be staged in the spring of 2022. During the length of the Biennial, a series of activities will be presented, including film screenings, guided tours, educational outreach programs for parents and children and for cultural accessibility, to expand public participation and demonstrate the new energy of pluralistic inclusiveness and the interdisciplinary practice of this future city state.
The NTMoFA director Liang Yung-Fei states that, “through the transnational, interdisciplinary curatorial team, the Biennial successfully displays a new curatorial mode based on transnational connection and collaboration. In the post-pandemic era, the Biennial offers audiences new possibilities of imagining the future and unfolds multifaceted thinking of Asian sci-fi and future through its theme, the diversified curatorial perspectives and the participation of artists from different parts of the Asian region. The NTMoFA will continue to organize the Asian Art Biennial to expand the multilayered and interdisciplinary dialogue of culture and art with contemporary art.”
Phantasmapolis—2021 Asian Art Biennial will run from October 30, 2021 to March 6, 2022. For more information about the activities and events in Phantasmapolis, please follow the updates announced on the official websites and Facebook pages of the NTMoFA and the Asian Art Biennial.
Phantasmapolis – Exhibition Video Online Platform:
Phantasmapolis: 2021 Asian Art Biennial
- Dates: 2021.10.30 to 2022.03.06
- Exhibition Coordinators: Lin Hsiao-Yu, Liao Chia-Cheng Tel: (04)23723552 #304、701
- Media Contact: Yan Bi-Mei Tel: (04)23723552 #123
- The Asian Art Biennial Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/aabntmofa
National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts
To cope with the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum opening hours have been adjusted to Tuesdays to Sundays, from 09:00 to 17:00 (closed on Mondays).
Since August 24 (Tues.), 2021 onward, visitors with reservations will be prioritized for admission (the maximum for group reservation is 80 people). A system of entry times with limited number of visitors is implemented. Each entry time for visitors with reservations is 2 hours. Flexible admission of visitors without reservations will depend on the number of visitors in the museum.