Presented by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the exhibition This is not a Taiwan Pavilion will launch on 29 May 2013 in the Palazzo delle Prigioni in Venice. Bernd Behr, Chia-Wei Hsu, and Kateřina Šedá + BATEŽO MIKILU have been invited by curator Esther Lu to participate in the project with new commissioned works.
By contouring the image of the stranger, the exhibition investigates how the division between “us” and “stranger” is drawn and appropriated in subjectification. It concerns how criticality produced estrangement might be used to perceive diverse potential forms of cultural identity. Narratives and actions are shared aesthetic vehicles in this exhibition; three works unfold the image of the stranger alienated by various political, economic, and cultural parameters, and engage with the problematics of identity and the possibility of exchanged perception.
Bernd Behr’s film and sound installation Chronotopia draws on several parallel historical materials from twentieth-century Taiwan to explore the idea of an abandoned future and questions of historiography: the last holdout of World War II, Lee Guang-Hui, an Ami Takasago soldier; the Futuro houses in the outskirts of and downtown Taipei; and the culture of the silent film commentator bianshi in relation to local cinema history. He has also invited director Ying-Hsiung Huang, who initiated the contemporary bianshi movement for the blind, to conduct a live cinematic performance in Venice.
Chia-Wei Hsu’s mixed media installation Marshal Tie Jia creates a new mythology of representation by deconstructing the production relations of image, culture, and history around his communication with the divine world. Through video, installation, and text, the tension of fictional narratives in various forms is stretched to depict the forming and deforming of myth, culture memory, and identity in a complex structure of juxtaposition between the frog god Marshal Tie Jia’s birthplace—a pond in Jiangxi, China—and his current domicile in exile, an island in Matsu on the Taiwan Strait.
Kateřina Šedá + BATEŽO MIKILU challenge the possibility of perception exchange in a deterritorialized topological approach to the historical context of this exhibition as a metaphor and Zastávka, a dysfunctional industrial town in the Czech Republic. Apart from the installation, they will perform 88 collaborative actions under the title This is not a Czech Pavilion during the five days of the preview and opening weekend in Venice to unfold a common problem shared by the two places: how they are perceived by their surroundings has defined their status quo. A new image, generated by the consideration of the audience in their actions, will propel new social relations when they turn each and every wall into a mirror.
As these three projects navigate presences and discussions across space and time, they review a wide spectrum of the history, geopolitics, and contemporary life of the Taiwanese cultural context, and initiate a critical dialectics in order to address the ideologies shaped by various political, economic, and globalized institutions. Imagination is employed to fuel the tensions of intertextuality and establish new relations; the politics of art hereby acts to reveal invisible imagery via new narratives and actions for a dialectic process of subjectification.
Another dialectic process of subjectification is proposed through the narrative suggested by the project title in shaping the conceptual stranger of the self: This is not a Taiwan Pavilion. The narrative turn of the exhibition’s background is borrowed as an allegory of spatial aesthetics and a paradox, transforming itself into a departure point for metaphors and actions to manifest the urgency of coexistence in today’s world.
Esther Lu further explains, “It is a rehearsal that reimagines the self through the act of negation, a form of agency that creates multiple narratives of the here and now. The complexity of the narrative turns of history is exposed through two juxtaposed paradoxes in order to investigate the conceptualization of boundaries and shift our senses of space and time in constant motion: ‘us’ versus ‘stranger,’ and the one suggested by the title.”
The title is not a theme, but rather a speech act that communicates and serves as the stage for three projects to engage the audience in dialogue and imagination around Taiwan, an aesthetic that operates in parallel with the artworks. Here the audience becomes a counterpart in the rehearsal of a dialectic that contemplates historiography and narrative in the shared consideration and life of coexistence.
This is not a Taiwan Pavilion Collateral Event of the 55th International Art Exhibition—la Biennale di Venezia
1 June–24 November 2013
Preview: 29 May–31 May 2013
Palazzo delle Prigioni
Castello 4209, San Marco, Venice, Italy
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm
Category: Fine Art