Taipei Biennial 2023 Announces the Grand Opening|Press

Date:2023/11/17 - 2024/01/31
Type:Press Release

Taipei Biennial 2023 Announces the Grand Opening


17 November 2023, Taipei –– Organised by Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM), Taipei Biennial 2023 is pleased to announce the opening of its 13th edition from 18 November 2023 through 24 March 2024. Organically co-curated by independent curator Freya Chou, director and curator of Beirut Art Centre Reem Shadid, and New York-based senior writer and editor Brian Kuan Wood, the Biennial will feature works from over 20 cities and 58 local and international artists and musicians under the title of “Small World”, transforming the museum into a space of listening, gathering, and improvising through life experience and aesthetic perception.


During the pandemic lockdowns, residents of Jalandhar in northern India were suddenly able to see the Himalayas after decades of traffic pollution dissipated from the air. The sight of nearby mountain peaks reflected what many were discovering in their private lives: in a shrinking world, the nearest things can appear unfamiliar. It was as if a spell had been broken, clearly exposing what had surrounded us the whole time, but also adding a strange new reality where politics and technology switch places, emotion and automation merge, identity and space, war and friendship, celebration and catastrophe, tension and release, death and life, all become interchangeable in the small world.


“Small World,” the title of the Taipei Biennial 2023, suggests both a promise and a threat: a promise of greater control over one’s own life, and a threat of isolation from a larger community. Our world can become smaller as we grow closer to one another, but also as we grow apart, and “Small World” takes place within such a suspended state. The three curators express that, ‘the small world asks if our fear and mistrust of each other is actually a hidden desire for something else.’


Spanning artworks on display in the galleries, musical performances, research and art projects by artists-in-residence, workshops, public programmes, an online journal, a cinema programme and a music room with live events across the duration of the biennial programmed by three hosts; dj sniff, Julian Abraham “Togar” & Wok the Rock and TingShuo Hear Say, the “Small World” is an invitation to reorder our relationship with our surroundings.


Beijing-based artist Wang Wei greets visitors to the Biennial with a large free-standing wall dividing the museum’s entry corridor in half with images made of mosaic tiles, each mirroring the view that the audience sees behind them. Lai Chih-Sheng focuses enormous attention on a public toilet on the second floor of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, rendering the large exhibition space outside as a waiting room for the bathroom by adding a battalion of consumer fans, wildly exaggerating the oppressive convenience and arctic air conditioning of museum spaces. Hong Kong artist Nadim Abbas’s specially commissioned installation of a massive “semiconductor sandbox” arises from his interest in issues of scalability and microchip and circuit board architecture and their geostrategic imprint, and stands alongside philosopher Paul Virilio’s famous snapshots of ruined Nazi bunkers along France’s coastline in the 1960s.


Pio Abad’s family is Ivatan, an ethnic group native to the Batanes islands of the northern Philippines and related to the Yami (Tao) people of Taiwan’s Lanyu island, and his commissioned work for the Taipei Biennial 2023 renders Ivatan poetry, known as laji, as a large floor sculpture. Ipeh Nur’s film reflects on the local communities of Indonesia’s traditional maritime culture and their tensions with the government’s large projects to protect the coastline from rising seas. Edgar Arceneaux “skins” mirrors, carving into our historical relationship with mirrors as repositories of the self by stripping the reflective metal backing from a mirror’s rigid glass substrate and applying the damaged radiance of its silvery coating onto canvas.


Nesrine Khodr’s delicate sculptures are the result of an incremental accumulation of materials from her studio, an abandoned architecture and engineering office in a modernist building of Beirut’s waterfront area, a site that has been a material witness to layers of slow decomposition and continued mutation. I Gusti Ayu Kadek Murniasih (Murni,1966-2006) left her impoverished family in Bali to work as a domestic worker for a Chinese-Indonesian family in Jakarta, eventually learning the traditionally male-dominated Pengosekan style of painting and refining a unique painting style celebrating female desire and visualizing psychedelic dreams and personal trauma. The Taipei Biennial 2023 exhibits paintings by Murni foregrounding shamanistic motifs related to the artist’s communion with animals and other nonhuman creatures captured from her dreams and subconscious. In Nikita Gale’s GRAVITY SOLO I (HYPERPERFORMANCE), the weight of two large pieces of red calcite “play” a droning tone from a keyboard, provoking the question of how systems too vast for our understanding express themselves; in Gale’s other work in the exhibition, PRIVATE DANCER, stage lights are animated by an unheard soundtrack of music by Tina Turner, meditating on the limits of the body, the demands of celebrity, and silence as a political position.


Several brilliant short films by British filmmaker John Smith tear open the spaces between lived time and recorded time, repeatedly measuring the distance from the magic and mechanism of cinema to the intimate moments and fragility of his own daily life. Indonesian artist Aditya Novali presents his own model of a cramped apartment building similar to those used to market new real estate developments to increasingly unaffordable cities. Created in 2021 and 2022 under strict pandemic lockdown in Paris, Chen Ching-Yuan’s paintings draw from Western styles of realism and romanticism to study mass protests and acts of civil disobedience through objects such as bricks, branches, and trees that Chen found depicted in online images, speaking to a certain uncanny collective sensibility when combined with human figures.


Born in Singapore in 1936, Kim Lim moved to the UK in the mid-1950s and became well-known within art circles there for her minimalist sculptures and prints influenced by Buddhist and Daoist philosophy, expressing a vibrational energy flow connecting all things. The Taipei Biennial 2023 includes selected prints from a period of Lim’s intense experimentation with form, space, rhythm, and light around the 1970s. Hong Kong artist So Wing Po presents materials used in traditional Chinese medicine that also serve as food and habitat for insects whose larvae might appear to write their own histories, communicating between human and natural worlds. InThrough a luminous tunnel, Li Jiun-Yang reflects contemporary Taiwanese folk culture through found objects and wire masks serving as an outlet when he feels powerless in the face of global political turmoil. Throughout the four months of the Taipei Biennial, Li will occasionally join with friends to make art or play his homemade musical instruments, transforming the voices, sounds, and music of his own world into a channel of communication between people, things, and divinity.


The Taipei Biennial 2023 Cinema Program presents short and feature-length cinematic works within a large-scale viewing space constructed for long duration viewings in a public and shared setting. Wang Ya-Hui’s delightful Visitor, an early video work from 2007 in which a cloud visits the home of the Taiwanese artist’s grandparents. Oleksiy Radynski’s 2022 feature film Infinity According to Florian follows an ecstatic modernist polymath in Kyiv spending his final years confronting the property developer trying to attach a shopping mall to his utopian architecture. Jumana Manna’s beautifully shot 2022 feature film Foragers shows how the State of Israel’s legal administration of nature conflicts with how Palestinians understand the land as a source of nourishment and a part of their bodies. Tekla Aslanishvili’s 2022 A State in a State explores how railroad infrastructure, as the iron foundation of connectivity, functions as a tool for solidarity as well as sabotage.


Parallel to the opening, TB 2023 launches its online publishing platform, Small World Journal, a digital reader of essays, interviews, discussions, and new translations opening up the discursive space of the exhibition for readers around the world. TB2023 artist Arthur Ou contributes an expansive meditation on the nature of light, vision, and photography when a photograph of his young daughter leads him to consider the implications of light emitted from a star billions of light years away, meeting an eye that has itself evolved over millions of years. Anthropologist Ju Chen Chen explores how musicians use music not for capital accumulation, but to create “sonic moments” that connect people and lead to a sense of freedom. Alexander Provan examines strategies artists employ to resist commercial mechanisms, delving into the work of Terre Thaemlitz to understand what it means to intentionally withdraw from industry protocols. Dawn Chan asks whether the enchantment and secrecy of the small can also acknowledge their own systems of manufacture and the systems of power that they represent and uphold. Poet and media scholar Hu Tung-Hui and TB2023 artist Nadim Abbas discuss digital labor, the scalability of network infrastructure, and the pitfalls of seeking solace in "the small" or withdrawing from the systems that underpin our virtual and physical lives.


Jun-Jieh Wang, Director of Taipei Fine Arts Museum, notes, ‘We are emerging from confinement into the post pandemic era. Being one of the significant platforms that helps Taiwan to stay in sync with global contemporary art, the Biennial affords us a glimpse into the larger reality through the lens of refreshing and inspiring ideas. Coinciding with the 40th anniversary of Taipei Fine Arts Museum, we are dedicated to connecting Taiwanese art with the world, and fostering the exchange and conversation between the visitors across the world through a series of diverse and open-minded presentations and public programmes.’


For the latest information on the Taipei Biennial 2023, please visit the official website, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram (Taipei Fine Arts Museum). Please refer to the appendix for the full list of participants and sponsors.




Taipei Biennial 2023 Announces the Grand Opening │press.pdf
Taipei Biennial 2023 Announces the Grand Opening │press.docx
Taipei Biennial 2023 Announces the Grand Opening │press.odt

Image Captions.pdf
Image Captions.docx
Image Captions.odt