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Worldward: The Transformative Force of Art in Taiwan’s New Cultural Movement

TFAM’s classic paintings celebrate the centenary of the TCA
The centenary of the Taiwan Cultural Association (TCA) in October marks the establishment of an important progressive movement during the period of Japanese rule. This year, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) has planned a special exhibition, “Worldward: The Transformative Force of Art in Taiwan’s New Cultural Movement.”
Works by major Taiwanese artists are on display, including Kuo Hseuh-Hu’s “Festival on South Street,” a vivid portrayal of festivities at Dadaocheng, and a hundred key works by major artists. With a focus on work by painters and photographers active from the 1920s to the 1940s, visitors are invited to view these beautiful and prolific creations and reflect on cultural awakening and the pursuit of liberty a century ago.
The exhibition has been curated by Sharleen Yu, Chief of the Exhibition Department at TFAM, with assistance from exhibition consultant Han-Ni Chiu, an assistant professor specializing in Taiwanese art at the Graduate Institute of Art History National Taiwan University.
The wide-ranging exhibition starts from 1920, when TCA began to promote the New Cultural Movement, and looks at the background, art studies, and cultural and historical conditions which highlight classic works by Japanese and Taiwanese artists working under the TCA’s direct or indirect influence during Japanese rule or during the Cultural Reformation Movement.
Visitors to this exhibition of classic paintings, sculptures, and photographs will be able to explore the consciousness and sense of identity that was gradually forming in Taiwanese society at the time, and take a visual journey through an important period of Taiwan history.
The exhibition showcases the work of thirty-seven Taiwanese and Japanese artists in chronological order. The distinctively Taiwanese cultural imagery and artistic styles they developed, together with their sense of mission and extraordinary passion, are illustrated using themes such as “Japanese painters/educators in Taiwan”, “art competitions and Taiwanese artists”, “modernity and local color”, “images of the modern woman” and “the rise of photography”.
Japanese artists who contributed to the cultivation of Taiwanese artists include Ishikawa Kinichiro, Shiotsuki Toho, Kinoshita Seigai, Gobara Koto, and Murakami Mura.
Important Taiwanese artists during Japanese rule include Ni Chiang-Huai, Liou Jin-Tang, Chen Cheng-Po, Lu Thiat-Chiu, Lee Mei-Shu, Liao Chih-Chun, Yen Shui-Long, Chen Chih-Chi, Yang Chi Tung, LIN Yu-Shan, Chen Chin, Chen Hui Kun, Huang Ching-Shan, Yang San-Lang, Li Shih-Chiao, Kuo Hsueh-Hu, Yeh Huo-Cheng, Tsai Yung, Chang Wan-Chuan, Lin Po-Shou, Lin Qiu Jin-Lian, Huang Her-Hua, Lu Yun-Sheng, Huang Shui-Wen, Lin A-Chin, Huang Tza-Tza, and Lin Chih-Chu.
Also on display are works by sculptors such as Huang Tu-Shui and Chen Hsia-Yu. Photographers such as Peng Ruei-Lin, Deng Nan-Guang, and Lin Shou-Yi captured everyday life and urban people. These artists used many different techniques to produce images of modern women through the “eyes of the camera”.
Some of the works are very delicate, so the temperature and humidity of the venue will be strictly controlled. In addition, the exhibition will only last for two months since these classic works are very important to the history of Taiwanese art and are very valuable. Most are important works that won awards at the Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition, Taiwan Governor-General’s Art Exhibition, Japan Fine Arts Exhibition, or the Salon de Paris.
Gobara Koto’s “Taiwanese Landscape Screen” series (1930–1935) represents the natural landscapes of Taiwan. Kuo Hseuh-Hu’s “Festival on South Street” (1930) vividly depicts the prosperous business activities in the streets of Taipei. Chen Chih-Chi’s “Chen-Jen Temple” (1930) shows the headquarters of the New Cultural Movement.
Chen Cheng-Po’s “Yuuenchi (Chiayi Park) (1937) is a snapshot of the tropical passion of southern Taiwan. Lin Yu-Shan’s “Two Heads of Cattle” (1941) represents the rustic atmosphere of the countryside. Works depicting tropical plants and everyday life include Liao Chi-Chun’s “Courtyard with Banana Trees” (1928). Chen Chin’s “Accordion” (1935) delineates the leisure and elegant lifestyles of modern women.
Photographer Peng Ruei-Lin major works were made with his unique gold lacquer photographic technique: “Taroko Women” (gold lacquer version) (1934–1938) and early color photographs of Taiwan, “Images of Snapshots of Still Objects (Tokyo)” (1930).
Viewers will have the opportunity to learn how these artists represented Taiwan’s natural and cultural landscapes at a time of social progress, thus opening a new chapter in the development of Taiwanese art.
The exhibition guidebook and the audio guide app will allow viewers to gain deeper insight into the artists’ creative ideas. TFAM has also released a collectible set of ten postcards based on the exhibits. See the TFAM website or Facebook page for more information.
▍Worldward: The Transformative Force of Art in Taiwan’s New Cultural Movement
Date │ Starting today and running until November 28.
Venue │ Gallery 3A, Taipei Fine Arts Museum
(No. 181, Sec. 3, Zhongshan N. Rd., Zhongshan Dist., Taipei City 10461)