Li Ming, Rendering the Mind, 2017, video still
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LEAP 19

Taipei’s Hong-Gah Museum has long been the home of video art in Taiwan. The role that its modestly-sized biennial serves is akin to an observation tower. The first two editions, titled “Dwelling Place” and “Eattopia,” were jointly curated by Chen Yung-Hsien and Sean C. S. Hu, and chose as their starting points the material world…

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At Gasworks in London, three video works made by Lana Lin between the 1990s and the early 2000s explore the artist’s Taiwanese heritage— and her Western influences— both materially and thematically, in work that explores the complex feeling that comes from existing between multiple cultural frameworks. The exhibition begins with Taiwan Video Club (1999), in…

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Huang Yong Ping’s “Circus” presents a herd of beheaded taxidermied beasts posed amongst an oversized bamboo cage in Gladstone Gallery’s southernmost Chelsea space. The dome-shaped cage dons a monumental, wooden marionette hand, its strings connected to the skeleton of a robe-clad monkey puppeteering the bones of a smaller monkey— a reference to the trickster monkey…

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An islet named Pulau Sejahat, or “Evil Island,” once sat along the northeastern coastline of Singapore. According to folklore, a fierce battle broke out between the Acehnese and the Portuguese in the waters surrounding Pulau Sejahat in the eighteenth century. Despite the staggering size of the Sumatran Acehnese army, their arrows and spears were no…

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If Heman Chong had dedicated himself entirely to writing, by now he would most likely be stuck in its tight and unmarketable shackles, hanging around dingy dive bars bemoaning his plight to a bunch of good-for-nothings. Luckily, there are plenty of readymade forms beyond the written word able to bear the weight of his intense…

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TAIWAN’S MARTIAL LAW provisions included laws clearly suppressing assembly, demonstrations, and the forming of organizations. Nonetheless, one afternoon on a holiday in 1983, five youths appeared on Ximending Street dressed in white khaki pants and wearing cotton bags over their heads. They walked, shoulder-to-shoulder, from the Red House to the Wannian Theater, attracting the attention…

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The use of everyday materials within the art museum or gallery in order to disrupt the symbolist power structures they harbor is a rebellious act common among conceptual artists, the target of such acts often being the obsessive materialism of developed consumerist societies. As Guy Debord declared penetratingly: “In societies where modern conditions of production…

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“The Second Round With a Whip” exhibits two new series of large-scale oil paintings by Xie Nanxing, at first glance a strange combination of interior design mock-ups and mottled abstraction sloppily thrown together without much consideration, even with a slight hint of uncoordinated humor. Continuing on from his last solo exhibition in the same space…

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IN 2012, I thought about the end that never came. This so-called end of the world proved once again that in fact, there is no end to the world. The world is time and space, and it is eternally flowing and revolving. We are ignorant, lost in the daily grind; we only happen to touch…

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Cui Jie’s works: one group is paintings of people, the other of cities. All of the cities are ghost towns, empty of any trace of human life. When humans are present, they have their backs turned in gestures of total rejection; even figures that appear together are indifferent to their companions, the sense of distance…

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When it comes to Gao Yu and his paintings, there has been a cacophony of voices and opinions, both praise and criticism tightly bound to the concept of cartoon. It is undeniable that Gao’s recognition in contemporary art circles is closely connected the cartoon as a cultural phenomenon. Until just before the 2008 global economic…

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EVERY BIENNALE RENEWS the prospect of multiplying our horizons of surprise by presenting new artistic strategies, ever more heterodox media, and the increasingly complex political predicaments that artists inhabit and address. The first Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB), which opened in December in Kerala, South India, could qualify as a coup d’art. Instead of the metropolitan centers…

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Aida Makoto’s reputation has always been confined within Japan— that he has never been taken under the wings of some international curator cements his status as an “underrated artist.” This retrospective can be regarded as fair payment for his life’s work, collecting a large number of Makoto’s works from the early 1990s to the present….

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ALTOGETHER IN 2012 my family and I spent just as much time traveling or living elsewhere as we did living in Beijing. As I remember the year, I think of the three of us, dragging two suitcases in tow, our passports in hand, roaming all over the place. At one point I made an itinerary…

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THE NARRATIVES OF Duan Jianyu’s paintings tend to start out with everyday reality, and then midway through fade out and slip slowly into the world of the mind. This kind of narrative technique appears consistently in the artist’s creations. Take for instance the fictional text of New York, Paris, Zhumadian (2008), inspired by a piece…

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OF THE MANY events, exhibitions, and performances I partook in or visited in 2012, the one that I could not stop thinking about was an exchange project in November in Bangkok, “Thai-Tai: A Measure of Understanding,” co-organized by Taipei’s Open-Contemporary Art Center and Thai artist collective Jiandyin over the course of one year. In this…

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As curator Kaneshima Takahiro stated in his preface, the exhibition “Parallel Worlds” presents a way to understand the world from the viewpoint of plurality. The concept of plurality here refers to a process of knowledge generation, which is based on reflection and introspection, of modernity and the subsequent reality of homogenization. Thus, the plurality underpinning…

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In the 1953 Another World, a newly-nuclear citizenry comes to the rueful realization that they “should have been more suspicious of God’s gift of nuclear power.” A collaboration between Jikken Kōbō visionary Kitadai Shōzō and composer Yuasa Jōji, the nine-minute “auto-slide show” syncs a projection and tape recorder to “animate” Kitadai’s neo-Constructivist compositions. The tale…

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ALTHOUGH THE 2012 Taipei Biennale “Modern Monsters/Death and Life of Fiction” exhibition did not become a hot topic of conversation, it did, however, have an intellectual and avant-garde vision. Some said that the exhibition was very boring, or that the general public may have needed a degree of specialized knowledge to understand it, but I…

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Twenty years on from its first edition, the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT7) continued to provide audiences with an unsurpassed opportunity to view a diverse selection of work by artists from across the Asia Pacific region. As a core program of the Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), the APT has…

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LEAP 47 | Spring/Summer 2018

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