Administered and presented by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the tenth edition of the Taipei Biennial co-curated by Hongjohn Lin (Taipei) and Tirdad Zolghadr (Berlin) responded literally to the challenge of dilating time as posed by Raqs. First they restaged projects by Lara Almarcegui, Burak Delier, Irwin and NSKSTATE.COM, Allan Sekula, and Superflex from the 2008 biennial, and then the first group of eleven artists invited to the 2010 biennial were invited to participate in a dialogue with Lin and Zolghadr resulting in a Two Year Project, “…culminating in small group shows – accompanied by an educational program that would actually endure as a Taipei institution.” Although the curators themselves directly acknowledged that such a claim is preposterous, their critique of the autonomy of individual institutions was framed most explicitly not through published or spoken texts, but rather through the biennial’s 24 invited participants.
Hito Steyerl, STRIKE. 2010, 28s, HDV
If Director’s Cut dramatized a power-vacuum at the centre of the institution during the six month period that Lin and Zolghadr had to develop the biennial, in Nocturnal Biennial by Jao Chia-En the activities of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum are revealed to be peripheral distractions in the local political context compared to the city-wide Floral Expo, widely criticized as a pre-electoral vote grab for Taipei’s mayoral incumbent. With the two events overlapping during the final week of the exhibition and in the face of increased marketing pressure, Jao proposed that the economic and political power of Taipei be laid bare – with the biennial only open during the times the floral expo was closed. It wasn’t – her project was vetoed by the museum’s administration.
In contrast to Jao’s dematerialized critique of the role of TFAM’s biennial within Taipei’s political landscape, across the city at the Forum Biennial of Taiwanese Contemporary Art, Chou Yu-cheng’s Donation to TCAC – A Project (2010) took as its medium $30,000 Taiwan New Dollars (approximately $1,000 CAD). The standard fee offered to emerging artists by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum was bankrolled by the Taipei Contemporary Art Center, which organized and presented the smaller upstart biennial. The bills were presented on a secure plinth alongside two documents: a receipt and an agreement of donation, as the fee minus 10% (the going rate for purchasing an invoice in Taiwan) was given back to the TCAC at the conclusion of the exhibition. Chou’s project spoke directly to the independent origins of the TCAC, with the renovations upon their donated buildings in the downtown Taipei neighbouthood of Ximen made possible through the support of individuals and the donations of artworks from prominent Taiwanese artists including Chen Chieh-Jen rather than any level of governmental or foundational support.
Taipei Biennial: http://www.taipeibiennial.org/
Taipei Fine Arts Museum: http://www.tfam.museum/
Taipei Contemporary Art Center: http://www.tcac.tw/
Chou Yu-cheng: http://www.yuchengchou.com/
Tsui Kuang-yu: http://www.contour2007.be/artist.php?name=kuang
Huang Po-chih’s Fair Trade Ice Pop on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=152840094742188&id=102642713129571&ref=mf