Taipei Biennial ’08



Shashwati and I finally got to the Taipei Biennial, on the last weekend before it closed. That means we missed most of the site-specific pieces around Taipei, but we did get to the main exhibit at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, which was surprisingly busy — perhaps because admission was free.

The highlight of the show was a film about a portrait of Stalin by Picasso by Lene Berg. The film is based on a handmade book she made about the subject (also on display at the exhibit). The caption for the above photo says: If they had been here I would have looked down on both of them — even without heels.” The film can be watched online on Vimeo.

My second favorite piece was Undercooled,” a photography project by Onejoon Che, who took some amazing portraits of military installations hidden or buried in the modern cityscape.

There were lots of video installations, many of which were interesting as ideas but poorly executed. However a few stood out from the rest. Tsui Kuang-yu’s (崔廣宇) Invisible City: Taipari York” (隱形城市:台八里‧約克) was a humorous look at cosmopolitanism in which tricks of scale played on our expectations. Lovers kissing in front of the Eiffel tower turn out to be an owner petting a dog, a couple sipping wine in front of the New York skyline turn out to be waiters cleaning up at a Taipei restaurant in front of a wall-sized photo, etc. Anetta Mona Chisa & Lucia Tkacova had fun with Dialectics of Subjection #4 (available on YouTube) in which two women engage in pillow-talk about the relative attractiveness of various world leaders. More seriously, Liu Wei spent the anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre asking people in Beijing Do you know what day it is?” in his film A Day to Remember / 忘卻的一天 and in Rocks Ahead Yochai Avrahami created art out of the no man’s land between West Bank checkpoints in Israel. There was also a good Yes Men display, including my favorite, the SurvivaBalls.