"2018 Taiwan Biennial — Wild Rhizome" will be held at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (NTMOFA) from Sept. 22, 2018 through Feb. 10, 2019. Bringing together visual art, film, theater, seminars, and workshops, these interdisciplinary events will incubate the Taiwanese spirit that sprouts forth from this rhizomic intersection of Taiwan art and history.
The NTMOFA has hosted the Taiwan Biennial since 2008, showcasing developments in contemporary Taiwanese art every two years since. The 2018 Taiwan Biennial is being jointly curated by Gong Jow-jiun (龔卓軍), who brings with him a philosophical background, and visual and moving image art specialist Chou Yu-ling (周郁齡). It will explore how Taiwanese artists are confronting globalization by seeking links between creativity, land ethics, and spatiotemporal environments, and by bringing a distinctive perspective and vision to this biennial.
Employing the theme "Wild Rhizome," the biennial will attempt to explore how the art community is organized, how art is born, and how it interacts with a history of wilderness. "Wilderness," Gong explained, implies neither a top-down nor bottom-up vision, but a new way of thinking about "Taiwan" and how Taiwan expands outward. To this end, "Wild Rhizome" will branch out into a series of "root systems," namely "Wild Nature," "Wild History and Wild Imagery," "Wild Bodies," "Wild Constellations," and "Wild Homes."
Ahead of this biennial, Chou went deep into field research and interviews, inviting a number of indigenous artists to take part. This is not only in response to NTMOFA's core mission of "reconstructing Taiwanese art history," but also a way of re-examining how Taiwan's art history was constructed and attempting to break free of a Han-centric framework.
"Wild Nature" creates an outline of natural history and indigenous trauma, drawing on things like the Jewel Beetle Project, the early 20th century Dabaoshe surveys, the early 21st century Open Circle Tribe, and East Coast surveys and "marine consciousness" to capture how natural history serves as a foundation for the contemporary art scene.
"Wild History and Wild Imagery," meanwhile, looks to the spiritual imagery of the community around "Theatre Quarterly" (1965-1966) and other underground magazines of the 1960s, exploring the nodes of the community and the links between imagery, inner spirit, and trails through the wilderness that these relationships draw.
"Wild Bodies" explores the spontaneous physical, montage, and political metaphor works of opposition that came out of the young "October" theater workers in the immediate post-martial law period in 1987, tying them to post-90s works that spanned folk art, theater, and underground music scenes.
"Wild Constellations" is built around the concept of material display and connection, the heterogeneous inner elements of the works connected like constellations to reflect the distance and ties between the individual and the universe.
"Wild Homes" is focused on the home, looking inward at personal madness and spiritual texture, and venturing outward to explore the crumbling of subjective identity and the hysterical imaginings of the future.
Unlike past Taiwan Biennials, this year the event is focusing primarily around the artists' creative projects, emphasizing the undertaking of large-scale local productions and presenting new, exciting prospects rooted in the Taiwanese spirit.
‘2018 Taiwan Biennial — Wild Rhizome’