Concept for 2008 Taipei Biennial

The Taipei Biennial is organised by the Taipei Museum of Fine Arts. The 6th edition, curated by Manray Hsu [Germany/Taiwan] and Vasif Kortun [Turkey], takes place between September 13, 2008 and January 4, 2009.
In addition to the Taipei Museum of Fine Arts, which is the main venue established for the Taipei Biennials, the 6th edition also includes projects in the Beer Brewery, on the mega-digital screen at the Taipei Arena, in Taipei Art Park, at the Zhongxiao Xinsheng MRT Station, and an intervention at No.13, Qidong Street. The Biennial will also employ a number of advertising boards in the city, spreading the exhibition throughout different neighbourhoods and bringing the project into view when least expected.
In addition, upon the invitation of the curators, the artist/activist Oliver Ressler presents an exhibition within the context of the Biennial titled A World Where Many Worlds Fit that is dedicated to resistance movements.
The Taipei Biennial originates from a constellation of correlated themes all connected to neo-liberal capitalist globalisation. The threads of investigation in the exhibition include urban transformation in Taiwan, circumstances for immigrant and illegal labour, mobility, borders, divided states and micro-nations, permanent war condition, ecological breakdown, global unrest, and the opportunities for change. All these threads are processed and witnessed through do-it-yourself practices, individual stories, and humour. While art does not provide answers, it has the capacity to reflect on these issues from multiple angles, to work with different forms of enquiry and determine when to focus on individual moments. As with the approach of the Biennial, no story is infinitely singular. Each area of focus is associated with many other questions, for example, the mobility of a tourist, a temporary worker, or a foreign bride are certainly not the same, not even similar. Towards this end, the Biennial has been commissioning as many new works as possible, or asking the participating artists to rethink and adapt previous projects in light of their presentation in Taipei. There will also be existing works presented in juxtaposition to the new ones. The exhibition will include thematic compilations and farcical and biting videos.
There will be performative works and interventions in the city, some of which will be documented and reconfigured in the exhibition venues. The Beer Brewery, a site that has been through an extended process of transformation from its inauguration as Taiwan's first beer factory (a production and distribution site built during the Japanese occupation), to a state monopoly that involved the privatisation, re-branding and finally relocation to a site outside of the city centre. While the factory's history can be read as a classic example of shifting states of use in any post-industrialised city in the world, the exhibition is interested in seeking the nuances and specificities found within the general. The brewery's daily operation will continue during the exhibition run, and its space will be utilised as a real place rather than an insular exhibition zone.
Parallel programming includes a conference co-presented with the Dictionary of War that takes place on October 24 and 25, 2008; a film programme related to the themes of the exhibition co-hosted by the Urban Nomad Film Festival; and in collaboration with Taipei Drift, an International Workshop for Art Academics, 2008.
By means of these projects the curators and artists will explore the diverse opportunities that this Biennial is capable of creating and responding to.

Taipei, Shanghai, and Guangzhou would be able to strengthen their interaction and engage in closer cooperation

The organizer of the Shanghai Biennial, Shanghai Art Museum Executive Director Li Lei, the organizer of the Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art Director Wang Huang-sheng were among five representatives who arrived in Taiwan on Monday, February 18 for a six-day visit at the invitation of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, organizer of the Taipei Biennial.Taipei Fine Arts Museum Director Hsieh Hsiao-yun said that the main purpose of the visit was to discuss and reach a consensus on an official cooperation between the Taipei Biennial, the Shanghai Biennial, and the Guangzhou Triennial.Hsieh Hsiao-yun said that the Taipei Biennial, which is normally held in November, will be moved to September, the same month that other major Asian biennials are held.By timing its opening with other major Asian biennials, the Taipei Biennial can both compete and cooperate with them, especially in the area of international marketing, creating a win-win strategy for each exhibition.This time the Taipei Fine Arts Museum invited the directors of the Shanghai Art Museum and Guangdong Museum of Art to personally come to Taiwan to discuss the plan. The response has been positive and a preliminary consensus on cooperation has already been reached.Strategy was the primary consideration in desiring to time the exhibitions of the three museums so closely together, and since all three exhibitions will be based in art museums, there will be a special emphasis on presenting topical exhibition content in a professional artistic and academic framework.The cooperation between the three exhibitions will include the following: media and publicity cooperation, marketing cooperation between exhibition websites, joint invitations and group tours for invited guests and artists, as well as jointly held symposiums held by the three organizers .The three exhibition organizers hope that this initial cooperation can expand theeffectiveness of the exhibitions and enhance meaningful exploration of art and culture.Apart from reaching a consensus on cooperation between the three exhibitions, Hsieh Hsiao-yun, Li Lei and Wang Huang-sheng said that they hoped that in the future the art museums of Taipei, Shanghai, and Guangzhou would be able to strengthen their interaction and engage in closer cooperation.

Mr. Hsu and Mr. Kortun will endeavor to articulate their approach to the Biennial throughout its planning phase.

The 6th Taipei Biennial will offer a variety of encounters with the city of Taipei that differ in context to those of previous editions. The curators Man Ray Hsu and Vasif Kortun do not believe that the Biennial can function as an imported final product and therefore plan to commission as many works as possible. By means of these new projects the curators and artists will expose for the first time the diverse opportunities that this Biennial is capable of creating and responding to.A large part of the Biennial will be realized in the museum galleries, but the curators are also looking to find a number of other meaningful locations in the city in which to host fragments of the exhibition. Some of these sites will be chosen in consultation with the selected artists who plan to produce site-specific work.Mr. Hsu and Mr. Kortun will endeavor to articulate their approach to the Biennial throughout its planning phase, both to the arts professionals of Taiwan, as well as to Taipei's many local communities. They believe that it is important to communicate their thinking and engage as many people as possible in shaping the exhibition. Towards this end, the curators and artists will give talks over the coming months in order to prompt discussions and ideas that will help to inform the Biennial and also inspire additional projects to be launched in tandem with the Biennial.

Contact person: Ruth Hu Hui-Ju
Contact phone number: 2595-7656 ext. 124
Contact email: hhj@tfam.gov.tw
Museum website: http://www.tfam.museum


TaipeiBiennial Kickoff

Kickoff meeting held few days ago...