Contemporary Prints from Central Taiwan on display in Minneapolis
Date: Through Nov. 23, 2013
Location: Highpoint Center for Printmaking, 912 West Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408, 612-871-1326
Gallery hours: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.Saturday, noon–4 p.m. and by appointment. Please call ahead for group tours or large groups.
“Contemporary Prints from Central Taiwan” features prints from 21 artists living and working in Taichung and Miaoli, Taiwan. This exhibit is curated by Jon Renzella, a former Highpoint Studio intern and Jerome Emerging Printmaker, who now lives and works in Taiwan.
With approximately 2.6 million people, Taichung is Taiwan’s third-largest city. Home to the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, several universities, art centers, galleries and a myriad of important cultural and historic landmarks. In contrast to the global character of the capital city Taipei, the central region's cities foster a truly Taiwanese creative ethos, and Taichung and nearby Miaoli are particular catalysts for creativity in the area - large enough to provide opportunities and creative stimuli, but small enough to foster community spirit. The region is a place where ‘Minnesota Nice’ meets urban Asia.
Much of the work in this exhibit reflects tension, ambivalence, and questions about the complex relationship between Taiwan and mainland China. Surrounded by the massive cultural influences of America, China and Japan, many of these prints suggest a new path forged in the spaces between. A postmodern, globalist ambivalence plays out in Jessica Tao’s piece, “Play, Nezhu, Inexhaustible,” in which the traditional Chinese deity travels to America to watch Jeremy Lin play basketball. He carries with him all manner of Western items, many of which were produced in China. The style of the print references Japanese and American comic books with the addition of traditional Chinese decorative elements.
Max Chang’s work captures the rich architectural history of the region as a way of documenting and celebrating it, even as continual development and modernization demolish the old to make way for the new. Taichung has undergone rapid growth and urban development for the past 20 years with no end in sight. It almost seems an attempt to wash away the tumultuous, messy past and replace it with a bright, modern future.
On a lighter note, several of the artists employ whimsy and fantasy as a reaction against the seriousness of the political and cultural situation in Taiwan. Dark yet playful forms populate the prints of Zi-wei Hong, while Rui-zhi Xu’s beautifully surreal landscapes play out wild narratives populated by people and animals alike.
In many of these prints, we find the expression of Taiwan’s complex tensions between embracing its complex history and a desire to move forward.
Featured artists: Max Chang, Hanny Chao, Ying-ying Chen, ,Yu-chen Chen, Zi-wei Hong, Lynn Hsieh, Ting-yu Huang, Yu-chi Huang, Zi-yun Huang, Chun-ying Kao, Yuan-hsiang Li, Chia-ying Lin, Chao-long Ni, Meng-yao Pan, Jon Renzella, Zhi-wei Su, Jessica Tao, Li-wen Wang, Yu-ting Wei, Leanie Wessels, Rui-zhi Xu