Group Exhibition of Taiwan ‘Challenges in the Republic’ Curated by Waley Art
1 – 10 November 2019
Introduction: Independent Republic Pavilion of Taiwan: Challenges in the Republic
Curator: Feng-yi Chu (Waley Art, Taipei)
Invited artists: Jui-chung Yao, Ching-yao Chen, Sean Wang,
Yi-lun Lu, Ya-pang Wang, and Aming Lee
The very famous Suwon International Photo Festival welcomes its 6th year in 2019. Since this year is the centennial anniversary of the Sam-il (3-1) Movement, one of the most momentous incidents for the following establishment of the Republic of Korea (ROK) in 1948, the festival sets its theme as “Independent Republic,” inviting prominent works of photographers around the world with regards to the ideas of republic, democracy, nation, and state.
Indeed, the Republic of China (ROC) has a close connection with the birth of the ROK. On March 1st, 1991, a group of activists in Seoul protested against Japanese colonization, declaiming the Korean Declaration of Independence. The activity led to a huge, nationwide movement on the peninsula, in which more than two million people joined. Soon in April, the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea, arguably the predecessor of the ROK, was founded in Shanghai, China. Meanwhile, the Sam-il Movement is also believed to have encouraged the famous May Fourth Movement occurred in China in the same year.
Establishing republic regimes and demolishing monocracies are great milestones for human’s modernization at the political aspect. However, the historical developments both of the ROC and of the ROK seem to ironically remind us: the modern task of men’s emancipation has never been fulfilled just because of the establishment of republics. The cruel February 28 Incident occurred only three years after the ROC took over Taiwan, resulting from the Kuomintang (KMT) government’s economic exploitation and discrimination against the islanders. Before long, the KMT was defeated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and retreated to Taiwan, commencing decades of years’ dictatorship and White Terror. Not until the martial law was lifted in 1987, and the direct election of the precedent was practiced in 1996, Taiwan moved further steps toward real democracy. On the other side, the ROK was officially established in 1948, bordered by 38th latitude. Due to men’s greed for power, the newly born state suffered two military coups, experienced the April Revolution in 1960 and the Gwangju uprising in 1980, and established six republics in total. These struggles tell the lesson that liberty, democracy, and equality can never be achieved at once. After the establishment of republic, serious challenges arise.
Setting “Challenges in the Republic” as the theme, Waley Art invites six outstanding Taiwanese photographers to participate the 2019 Suwon International Photo Festival. They are: Jui-chung Yao, Ching-yao Chen, Sean Wang, Yi-lun Lu, Wen-yen Wang, and Aming Lee. The works of these artists explore various issues in Taiwanese society. Jui-chung Yao’s work, Liberating Taiwan, depicts the significant background that frames the economic, social, and political developments both of the ROC and the ROK in the modern history—the Cold War. It causes the current quasi-war situations in the two regions: on the Korean Peninsula and across the Taiwan Strait. In Liberating Taiwan, a man wearing sunglasses and CCP’s traditional military clothes, rigidly jumping up in front of the miniatures of various famous authority locations in Taiwan. This rude act in taking photos refers to the violent nature of CCP’s unification by force.
The works of Ching-yao Chen and Sean Wang explore the developments of different nationalisms in Taiwan. In modern history, at least three nationalist ideologies had been promoted on the island: the Japanese imperial nationalism, Chinese (ROC) nationalism, and Taiwanese nationalism. Chen’s work, Emulating Y.S. Lin’s Handing over Horses, addresses the transition between the previous two. The original painting of Lin’s Handing over Horses, which was made in the Japanese colonial period of Taiwan, drew a native Taiwanese soldier wearing Japanese military clothes and handing over two war horses. When the 228 Incidence occurred, the artist had to change Japanese flags on the horses to ROC flags, in order to show his firm support, if not loyalty, for the new nation. By means of photography, Chen emulates Lin’s famous painting and further highlights the ambiguity of nationalist identities with settings. Chen’s second work, The Perfect Family, uses Chiang Kai-shek’s family as elements, exploring a particular type of Chinese “life politics.” The work relates Chinese nationalism and the Confucianist imagination of family in the society, and reveals the ideological demand that “you should love our national leader as your father.”
Sean Wang’s work, Taiwan Holy Mountains, addresses itself to a park with the same name that locates in the mountain area of Nantou County. The park consecrates the victims killed in the period of White Terror, and claims “Taiwanese should only worship Taiwanese gods and spirits.” Wang uses Internet as source and platform for his works, discusses how photos can be detached from original scenes and re-created into nationalist icons.
Photographers Yi-lun Lu, Wen-yen Wang, and Aming Lee focus on the situations of the minorities sacrificed for the republic. Lu’s work, Romance of Wasteland, takes abandoned military villages as its theme. These villages are the residences of Chinese diaspora who came to and settled in Taiwan with the retreating KMT government in the end of 1940s. Because of engaging in the civil war and fighting for the ROC, these people were forced to migrate to Taiwan and to sever connection with their families on the mainland for decades.
Wen-yen Wang’s work, Changing Wind, Lanyu, demonstrates the living condition of Taiwanese aboriginals, and thus questions the component as well as the essence of Taiwanese national identity. When Taiwanese identity is mainly constructed and referred to the largest ethnic Han group in Taiwan, Taiwanese aboriginals are considerably marginalized, if not excluded, from the nationalist discourses, and sacrificed in the developments of economy, politics, education, culture, and so on. Aming Lee’s work, Here is no God, pays attention on another minority that is usually excluded from the discourse of nationalist identity and also from society—migrant workers. If slavery used to be a necessary measure for democratic poleis, subordinated workers—especially those from foreign countries—certainly are dispensable slaves that offer basic labors for modern republic regimes.
After establishing republics, after bringing down tyrants and retrieving sovereign from autocrats, we, people of a republic and the majority of a society, are still severely tested on the road to democracy and human equality. Waley Art’s curating project takes Taiwan’s historical and social developments as references, presenting a humble birthday gift to the Republic of Korea. Happy birthday! We sincerely and delightedly wish you another splendor centennium!
대만 그룹 전시회
큐레이터: Feng-yi Chu (Waley Art, 타이베이)
초청 작가: Jui-chung Yao, Ching-yao Chen, Sean Wang Yi-lun Lu, Yen-wen Wang, Aming Lee
저명한 제6회 수원 국제 사진 페스티벌이 2019년에 개막식을 올린다. 1948년 대한민국 공화국 건국으로 이어지는 3∙1 운동 100주년을 기념해, 올해 선정된 페스티벌 테마는 “독립 공화국”으로, 공화국, 민주주의, 국가에 대한 아이디어를 가진 글로벌한 작가들을 초청했다.
실제로 중화민국은 대한민국의 탄생과 밀접하게 관련되어 있다. 1919년 3월 1일, 운동가들이 서울에 모여 일제 식민지 타도 및 대한민국 독립 선언을 주창 했다. 이 운동은 반도 내 200명 이상이 동참한 거대하고 전국적인 움직임을 유발했다. 이후 4월, 대한민국의 전임자라고 할 수 있는 대한민국 임시정부가 중국 상하이에 세워졌다. 한편 3∙1 운동은 같은 해 중국에서 일어난 5∙4 운동의 촉발에 영향을 주었다고 믿어진다.
독재 정치를 청산하고 공화국을 건설한 사건은 정치적 근대화로 향하는 획기적인 단계였다. 그러나 중화민국과 대한민국 공화국으로부터 알 수 있는 한 가지 아이러니한 사실은, 공화국 건설만으로는 인간의 해방을 이룰 수 없다는 것이다. 중화민국이 대만 통치를 시작한 단 삼 년 만에 2∙28 사건이 발발했으며 당시 여당 국민당은 그들을 경제적으로 착취하고 차별했다. 머지않아 국민당은 중국 공산당에게 패배하고 대만으로 이동하여 수십 년 간 진행된 독재 정치와 백색 테러를 자행했다. 1987년 계엄령이 해제되고 1996년 직선제가 실시되면서 대만은 진정한 민주주의로 나아갔다. 반대로 대한민국 공화국은 1948년 38선에 걸쳐 건국되었다. 인간의 탐욕 때문에 신설된 국가는 두 번의 군사 쿠데타, 1960년 4∙19 혁명, 1980년 광주민주화운동을 겪었고 총 6차례의 공화국을 겪었다. 이런 역사적 사실을 보면 자유, 민주주의, 평등은 결코 하루아침에 이룰 수 없음을 알 수 있다. 공화국이 세워진 이후, 심각한 도전들이 도래한다.
“공화국의 도전”을 테마로 선정해, Waley Art는 2019년 수원 국제 사진 페스티벌로 저명한 6명의 대만 사진작가를 초청했다. 이들은 Jui-chung Yao, Ching-yao Chen, Sean Wang, Yi-lun Lu, Wen-yen Wang, 그리고 Aming Lee다. 작가들의 작품은 대만 사회 내 여러 이슈들을 보여준다. Jui-chung Yao 저, ‘대만 해방’은 냉전 체제 속 중화민국과 대한민국 공화국의 경제, 사회, 정치적 발전의 배경을 그려낸다. 냉전 체제는 두 지역에 전쟁과 가까운 분위기를 조성했다. 바로 한반도, 그리고 대만 해협에 말이다. 대만 해방은 선글라스를 쓰고 중국 공산당 전통 군인 의복을 입은 채 대만 지역에 세워진 유명 권력인 미니어처 앞에서 딱딱한 자세로 점프하는 남자의 모습을 보여준다. 이렇게 무례한 행위는 중국 공산당의 무력을 통한 폭력적인 모습을 암시한다.
Ching-yao Chen과 Sean Wang은 대만의 다양한 민족주의 발달을 탐색했다. 근대사에 들어선 이후 최소 세 가지의 민족주의 이념이 대만에 들어섰다. 일본 제국식 민주주의와 중화민국식 민족주의, 그리고 대만식 민족주의다. Chen이 만든 Y.S. Lin의 ‘말 넘겨주기’ 모방작은 앞선 두 가지 사이의 변화를 다룬다. 대만이 일본 식민 지배하에 있을 때 Lin이 만든 원작, 말 넘겨주기는 일본 제복을 입은 대만 군인이 두 마리의 전쟁마를 넘기는 모습이 그려져 있다. 2∙28 사건이 발발했을 때 작가는 신중국에 대한 충성심이 아니더라도 지지함을 보여주기 위해 말에 그려진 일본 국기를 중화민국 국기로 다시 그렸다. Chen은 사진 기법을 사용해 Lin의 유명한 작품을 모방하고 더 나아가 민족 정체성의 모호함을 드러냈다. Chen의 두 번째 작품, 완벽한 가족은 Chiang Kai-shek의 가족을 보고 특정한 중국의 “삶 속 정치”를 담아냈다. 작품은 중국의 민족주의와 사회내 유교적 개념의 가족와 연관되어 “국가 지도자를 아버지처럼 사랑해라”는 이념의 강요를 드러냈다.
Sean Wang의 작품, 대만의 성스러운 산맥은 난터우 현의 산맥에 위치한 공원 이름에서 왔다. 이 공원은 백색테러의 희생자를 축성하여 “대만인은 대만 신과 영혼만을 숭배해야 한다”는 메시지를 전한다. Wang은 인터넷에서 정보를 찾고 플랫폼을 만들어 사진이 원본과 동 떨어져 민족주의 상징물로 변형될 수 있음을 얘기했다.
사진작가 Yi-lun Lu, Wen-yen Wang, 그리고 Aming Lee는 공화국을 위해 희생당한 소수민족을 알렸다. Lu의 작품, 황무지의 낭만은 버려진 군 촌락을 테마로 삼았다. 이 촌락은 1940년대 말, 국민당 정부가 이동하면서 대만으로 함께 이동한 중국인이 살았던 곳이다. 내전과 중화민국을 두고 발발한 전쟁으로 인해 이들은 대만으로 이동해 대륙에 남은 가족과 수십년간 단절된 생활을 해야만 했다.
Wen-yen Wang의 작품, 변화하는 바람, Lanyu는 대만 내 원주민의 생활조건과 대만의 국민 정체성의 요소 및 본질에 대한 질문을 던진다. 대만 정체성이 대만 내 최다 민족, 한족의 정체성으로 규정될 시 원주민은 추방되거나 국가로부터 외면받고 경제, 정치, 교육, 문화 등 발달 과정에서 소수자가 되어버린다. Aming Lee의 작품, 신은 없다는 담화와 사회로부터 소외되는 다른 소수민족, 즉 이민 노동자의 아픔을 이야기한다. 노예 제도가 민주주의 정치를 위해 필요했다면, 특히 해외에서 온 노동자야말로 근대 공화국을 위한 노동력을 제공하는 일회용 노예나 다름없다.
독재주의로부터 국가를 회수하고 공화국을 건설한 이후 공화국 시민과 사회의 대부분 구성원은 여전히 완전한 민주주의와 인류 평등을 위해 해야 할 일이 남았다. Waley art의 큐레이팅 프로젝트는 대만의 역사적 사회적 발전을 토대로 대한민국 공화국의 생일을 축하해준다. 생일 축하한다! 진심으로 무탈한 다음 100년을 기원한다.
About the Artist:
1.Yao Jui-chung (www.yaojuichung.com) was born in 1969. Lives and works in Taipei. He graduated from The National Institute of The Arts (Taipei National University of the Arts) with a degree in Art Theory. His works has been widely exhibited in numerous international exhibitions. In 1997, he represented Taiwan in “Facing Faces-Taiwan” at the Venice Biennale. After that, he took part in the International Triennale of Contemporary Art Yokohama (2005), APT6 (2009), Taipei biennial (2010), Shanghai Biennale(2012), Beijing Photo Biennale(2013), Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale(2014), Venice Architecture Biennale, Media City Seoul Biennale(2014), Asia Triennial Manchester (2014), Asia Biennale(2015), Sydney Biennale(2016) and Shanghai Biennale(2018). Yao is the winner of The Multitude Art Prize(Hong Kong) in 2013 and 2014 Asia pacific Art Prize(Singapore). 2018 is the winner of Taishin Arts Award(Taiwan). We can also find him widely involved in the fields of theatre and films.
Yao specializes in photography, installation and painting. The themes of his works are varied, but most importantly they all examine the absurdity of the human condition. Representative works include Action Series. We can find the clue he explores the question of Taiwan’s identity in Military take over (1994), subverts modern Chinese political myths in Recovering Mainland China (1997), and examines post-colonialism in The World is for All (1997~2000) as well as Long March-Shifting the Universe (2002). In recent years, he has created photo installations combining the style of “gold and green landscape” with the superstitions that permeate Taiwanese folklore, expressing a false and alienated “cold reality” that is specific to Taiwan. Representative works include the series of Celestial Barbarians (2000), Savage Paradise (2000) and Heaven (2001). Another photo installation series Libido of Death (2002) and Hill (2003) tries to probe into the eternal issue of body and soul. Recently, Yao Jui-chung has assembled all the black-and-white photos of ruins he took in the past fifteen years, grouped under the themes of industry, religious idols, architecture and military bases. They reveal the enormous ideological black hole in Taiwan hidden behind the trends of globalization and Taiwan’s specific historical background as a continuation of the main theme of his work: the absurdity of the historical destiny of humanity. Since 2007, Yao has started to create a series of works including Wonderful (2007), Dust in the Wind (2008~2010), Dreamy (2008~2010), Romance (2009) and Honeymoon (2010~2011). He appropriates masterpieces from Chinese art history and recreates them in his own way, transforming them into his personal history or real stories in an attempt to turn grand narratives into the trivial affairs of his individual life. Yao intends to usurp so called orthodoxy with his recreated landscapes. In 2010, Yao grouped his students into a team of photography workshop called “Lost Society Document”(LSD). He encouraged them to photograph and survey in their hometowns. Through the way of field survey, they attempt to draw the outline of “mosquito houses” which have been widely criticized, publish three books named “Mirage: Disused Public Property in Taiwan”, and practice the possibility of observing the society by the meaning of art until now.
2.CHEN Ching-Yao, Born in Taipei in 1976, Chen Ching-Yao received his MFA in Fine Arts from Taipei National University of the Arts in 2006. He has won the Award of Newly Emerging Artists in Taiwan and the First Prize of Taipei Arts Award. He was also the recipient of Asian Cultural Council’s grant in 2009, which enabled him to conduct a residency in New York. In recent years, Chen’s work centers around photography and painting. The range of his subject matter is very wide, and his work focuses on the deconstruction of power and symbols. He often appropriates symbols of popular culture, especially those of the Japanese and Korean pop culture, and even the portraits of Asian politicians, and drastically recreates and transforms them into humorous, amusing images and behaviors, or simply assumes the roles of these figures himself in his work. By doing so, he creates a strong sense of contrast to the original subject and produces laughter. His downplaying the symbols of power is undoubtedly a sarcastic satire against modern society. While making his audience laugh about the situation, he also aims to make them reflect upon the absurdity of different actions of power in their surroundings.
3.WANG Sean (http://seanwang.format.com/), a Taipei native, holds both a BA and MA in History from the National Taiwan University. He later received his MFA education in photography from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Sean spends his time traveling between Bitan and Taipei and actively engages with photography and criticism.
4.Lu Yi-lun, 1988 born in Changhua, graduated from Taipei National University of Arts, group of Mix-media. He uses photography as his main medium, trying to dialectize and reflect on the nature of the image before proceeding to production. The characteristic of photography enables him to look into topographic spaces, and to summon the landscapes and issues that might be eliminated or neglected. He tries to extract the visible and invisible modules of sociology and anthropology. Lu’s works have been invited to many curated exhibitions, received several art awards, and put into collections.
5.LEE Aming, Graduated from the Depart of Theatre, National Taiwan University of Arts, Lee Aming had been working as a journalist photographer for three newspapers, and was the Vice Director of chinatimes.com.
He has been awarded for the Photography Prize of Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, and exhibited his works at various international exhibitions held in Taipei and Kaohsiung. His photo album Here is No God was openbook’s Top 10 Books of the Year. Now he continues working as a part-time worker and living with foreign fishers at various fishing ports in Taiwan. Using a small camera (SONY RX100), he takes photos of them, and is taken by them.
6.WANG Wen-yen, Born in 1982 in Kaohsiung, Wang Wen-yen was growing up in a big family as the youngest child. For that reason, he always lacked of voice of power in the family, and has been used to be an observer and listener. After learning photography, camera naturally becomes the medium for him to observe and listen to the world. Rather than a photographer, he would expect himself more to be an image storyteller.
Image represents every encountering moment in life; through photos, he wants to show not only beautiful images, but also the stories behind them.He has published two books, and is currently a freelance photographer and a free diver. He is also the editor-in-chief of online magazine, Ms Ocean.