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Asian Art Biennale 2021, A look at the many possibilities for the future in a (post) pandemic time


Asian Art Biennale 2021

KIM Ayoung, At the Surisol Underwater Lab, 2020. Courtesy of the artist (Commissioned by BusanBiennale2020)

KIM Ayoung, At the Surisol Underwater Lab, 2020. Courtesy of the artist (Commissioned by BusanBiennale2020)

Shu Lea Cheang, IKU, 2000, Fiction, 74 min.  Courtesy of the artist.

Shu Lea Cheang, IKU, 2000, Fiction, 74 min. Courtesy of the artist.

The Asian Art Biennale 2021 invites viewers to explore the possibilities of Asian futurism and the formation of a network of Asian curators in the (post) pandemic era.

TAICHUNG CITY, TAIWAN, October 18, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ – The Asian Art Biennale 2021 will take place from October 30, 2021 to March 6, 2022, at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (NTMoFA). Entitled “Phantasmapolis”, the biennial invites spectators to reflect on the many possibilities for the future with the works of 38 artists from 15 countries, in a (post) pandemic period.

An Asian curatorial network in a (post) pandemic time
The international curatorial team consists of Nobuo Takamori (Taiwan), Ho Yu-Kuan (Taiwan), Tessa Maria Guazon (Philippines), Anushka Rajendran (India) and Thanavi Chotpradit (Thailand). With “Asian Futurism” and “Asian Science Fiction Culture” as the main themes, artists are invited to reexamine Asia’s past and present through science fiction perspectives. Each part of the physical display will provide the audience with different ways to understand their own position in history and the present, and to better imagine where they are going to be in the passage of time.

Takamori and Ho join hands to trace the exhibition and choose works related to the theme, encouraging discussion on “Asian Futurism” and “Asian Science Fiction Culture.” Guazon deals with the archival projects sector where archives are offered as a modality of thinking about the future, shifting our attention to more urgent and convincing future thinking.

As part of the ‘Phantasmapolis: Looking back to the future’ video art project, Rajendran is working with the artist collective Pad.ma (CAMP & 0x2620, India / Berlin) to come up with an alternative to how we popularly meet the moving image on the Internet using technologies and images that conventional spectator and storytelling methods have tried to suppress or ignore. Chotpradit will lead the reader and the forums of the biennial; the first will bring together 10 essays serving as a knowledge production site on Asian futurism / sci-fi themes, while the forums aim to generate a space for conversations and emerging possibilities to imagine sci-fi and futurism in the world. asian art.

Asian futurism, a look at the many possibilities of the future

The theme of the Asian Art Biennale 2021 “Phantasmapolis” is inspired by the English science fiction novel Phantasmagoria (“幻子” in Mandarin), by the famous Taiwanese architect Da Hong Wang. The newly coined word included “phantasma” and “polis”, meaning “apparition or specter” and “city” respectively in Greek. In the Spooky City, curators and artists return to their Asian roots and investigate the idea of ​​”Asian Futurism,” the historical context of how science fiction subjects and materials were used and depicted in the city. modern and contemporary Asian art, and to go further. Imagine the multi-possibility of the future.

“Large Asian cities serve as bridges between the world and the future and are themselves the embodiment of the world of the near future. […] Through the works on display, we can say that Asian modernity is where utopia and dystopia overlap. […] organically connects the past and the future, foreign countries and technology, illusion and reality, humility and glory. Takamori said in his conservation notes.

Multidisciplinary works to create a unique visual experience and a discussion of the future

During the biennial, a wide variety of works ranging from contemporary visual art works, archival studies, publications, to architectural works will be presented next to each other.

Many artists take this opportunity to reflect on the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on human life with works presented. Taiwanese artist Joyce Ho’s new creation DOTS invites viewers to transform standardized procedures and record keeping as part of COVID-19’s ‘new normal’ before entering the museum into a ritual experience . The work of the Bakudapan Food Study Group (Indonesia) The Hunger Tales takes the form of a board game to explore the political relationships surrounding the food crisis, especially due to the outbreak of the disease. South Korean artist Kim Ayoung’s At the Surisol Underwater Lab will also transform surreal sci-fi scenes into mediums of real social issues.

Guazon sees the “Prospecting” archive project as an invitation to reflect on where documents from the past may be prompts to understand why we have come to our current situation. The works of Catalina Africa (Philippines) articulate the archive through the ways in which materiality is encountered through the artistic process. Human Conditioned by Mark Salvatus (Philippines) refers to landscapes, the built environment, digital technology and the human body to revisit the various revolutions and uprisings in Asian history. Alvin Zafra’s (Philippines) visual artwork Transient State is shaped by the dynamic yet complex dialogue between people and the built environment.

In the video art project, Pad.ma (CAMP & 0x2620) (India / Berlin) conceptualized and executed the online platform that hosts the virtual manifestation of the exhibition, offering alternative ways to harness connectivity and the democratic possibilities that still exist in theory vis-à-vis the internet towards ethical digital infrastructures to engage in art. The platform brings together video works such as Mariah Lookman’s recent film Hayy in Serendib where she attempts to decenter the colonial lineage from rationalist approaches in philosophical inquiry and scientific method. Tuan Island Andrew Nguyen portrays a dystopian future with existential concerns articulated differently between the last man and the last woman on earth.

Chotpradit’s curation focuses on different aspects of time and power, she invited Chulayarnnon Siriphol (Thailand), Mattie Do (Laos) and Genevieve Chua (Singapore) to exhibit together. Siriphol’s work Give Us A Little More Time (2020) is deeply engaged in the current political conflict in Thailand, addresses the role time plays in strengthening dictatorial power. Mattie Do’s The Long Walk delicately portrays the colonial continuum in Laos that has extended into the future. Among the two video works is Genevieve Chua’s visual work, Seconds Accumulating on a Hundred Years (2017). The painting speaks of “a sense of time, or a reality of time”. In this work, flatness and surface become layers without depth, demystifying the notion of linear time.
In addition to the meticulously preserved works, a series of online and offline programs will be open to art lovers from all over the world, all details refer to the museum’s Facebook page and that of the biennale.

Odele Tseng
National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts
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An invitation from Phantasmapolis – Asian Art Biennale 2021

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