時間 2019/01/27 18:00 ~ 2019/05/07 17:00
Along with the advent of the Age of Discovery, Western forces began to arrive in East Asia, propelling Taiwan, a small island that borders the East China Sea and was once on the outer fringes of civilization, into a contested territory where nations fought over in the new Asian order. As the oldest city on the island of Taiwan, Tainan has not only witnessed centuries of historical rise and decline; it has also become an epitome of Taiwan’s political makeup and cultural traits. These factors make up for Tainan’s importance and symbolic significance. Art in Taiwan has undergone various stages under such complex spatial and temporal backdrop, which includes the burgeoning phase, the developmental phase, and the transformative phase. It is also an amalgamation of various regional and ethnic elements derived from the West, China, Japan, and southern islands, resulting in a fluid and hybrid maritime landscape.
After enduring multiple colonial regimes and with accumulated influences from various civilizations, Taiwan then began to gradually transform from a traditional and conservative society into a liberated and open civil society, with up-and-coming cities serving as private experimental fields and public display sites for culture and art. Confrontations and clashes were inevitable due to competing and conflicting Eastern and Western cultures and different incoming and outgoing ethnic groups; however, opportunities also arose for a cultural identity to be sought after, for regional features to be constructed, and for subjective values to be shaped. Spanning across its pre-war to post-war eras, art in Taiwan shows interlocking elements of the new and the old, the natural and the civilized, the public and the private, the Self and the Other, and within such binary framework, possibilities for modernization are explored, with a relentless quest for its position in history embarked upon.
The rich cultural resources available in Tainan encompass richly diverse features ranging from Dutch colonial era to the period of Koxinga family rule and onwards, which includes historical materials on wars, nautical charts, folklore illustrations, everyday objects, and literati writings and paintings, where the East crosses with the West, and the new coexists with the old. From the period of Japanese colonial rule to after martial law was lifted, art became an important symbol for individualism, and it also served to connect with the outside world in the midst of rapid modernization and through a process of internationalization and globalization; however, with increasing demands for subjectivity and regionalism, to see Tainan as the cultural and spiritual base of Taiwan and to examine its natural elements, temples, historical streets, folklore and festivities, culinary culture, and other existing heritage and memories of the city have become main points of reference that grassroots discourse and common aesthetics are built upon.
The Glory of Tainan brings together Taiwan or Tainan’s past and present, and consists of multifaceted spatio-temporal narratives. Looking onwards or looking back, studies on the city should not only focus on its tangible topography or spatial governance; it is also imperative to examine its cultural identity, land-oriented experiences, and other intangible cultural heritage. However, is it possible for region and nation, economic development and environmental conservation, individuals and groups, function and aesthetics to co-exist? Nonetheless, a power structure is observed in the progression and development of modern and contemporary art in Taiwan, which is reflected in the aforementioned complex context. This exhibition examines the developmental course of the city’s subjective consciousness and its formal content through exploring visual and material cultural resources related to the city, with the city applied as the exhibition’s methodology.