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Tim Yip Explores Taipei with MOCA’s ‘Summer Holiday’

Glass boxHong Kong costume and production designer Tim Yip, who is internationally renowned for creating rich imagery on the big screen, will hold a solo exhibition of installation art and space design at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei. “Summer Holiday” runs from today to August 8 and is Yip’s largest solo display following his extensive world exhibition tours since 2002.

Yip’s rise to world fame began after he won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” in 2001. Following the award, he shifted slightly toward pure art creation, and has held a great many solo exhibitions in the Netherlands, France, the US, Spain, Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai, showing his multi-disciplinary approach which blends together costume design, spatial design, photography, sculpture, video images, and installation art.

For the Taipei exhibition Yip has created more than 70 pieces that are tailored exclusively for the MOCA Taipei. Viewers are invited to the world of Lili, a fictional character in the form of a life-size mannequin who comes from outer space where no human beings can be found.

Beatrice Kao, representative of the Communications and Education Department of MOCA, says Yip made Lili based on the images of Taipei women he has observed over the years---“Lili is sweet,” “Taipei women are sweet.”

Through the two-floor theatrical arrangement designed by Yip, the audience will follow Lili as she visits and explores the city of Taipei from its past to the present.

“Lili represents you, me, and everyone living in the city,” “Therefore her exploration of Taipei also reflects our own exploration and the way we live,” she explains.

On the first floor of the museum, Lili is portrayed from different perspectives in photography, video, and sculpture. At an exhibit hall, Lili is seen sitting next to a skeleton in a dungeon, inviting viewers to reflect on the essence of life.

On the second floor, the whole space is occupied by elements of the past such as songs, clothes, and statues, in a dark, narrow maze that eventually leads to two 6-meter-tall giant Lilis lying on the ground, one dismembered and the other complete. Before you come to the gigantic Lilis, be sure to visit a tiny room next to the maze which shows a naked Lili weeping next to three gorgeous costumes. For this piece, Yip creates a special device that makes water come out of Lili’s eyes constantly.

All of the objects exhibited on the second floor were found or bought in Taiwan.
Yip said during an interview with the local media that this solo exhibition is a reflection of his observations of Taiwan and Taipei over the past years. He said Taiwan is a very interesting place and the Taiwanese people have a strong personality but sometimes they are irrational. “Sometimes Taiwanese people are very relaxed but other times they are uptight and get emotional very easily.”

Commenting on the aesthetics displayed by people in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China, he said that Taiwanese are self-centered and find things that touch them. Hong Kong people have great technique but lack creativity, while the Chinese still need time to mature in terms of aesthetic appreciation.