01 Representing Japan’s B Gallery, rising art photographer Ryo Ohwada is widely acknowledged for his intricate digital collage works. Banknotes (above), a photographic series, takes an almost forensic approach to its depiction of international currency.
02 Gallery Barry Keldouli from Sydney made a splash with a set of dreamy landscape paintings by award-winning artist Fiona Lowry. Utilising a combination of airbrush and painting techniques, Lowry puts her attention on the flora and fauna of the Australian bush, anointing her subjects with a series of effervescent effects, as can be glimpsed in the 2010 work, Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am (above).
03 In all that is and all that seems (above), another notablework by Australian painter Fiona Lowry, features her signature approach: fusing delicate negotiations of colours with stark details that fade in and out of focus.
04 Showcased by China’s Hi Store Gallery, Chinese artist Meng Xian Yan’s oil painting, Rabbit Mask, provocatively challenges viewers to tread the thin line between child-like innocence and sexual desire.
05 Taiwan-based Ke-Yuan Gallery opted to put the spotlight on works by local painter Wu Yi-Tze. Soul Landscape, a piece rendered in oil, appears to touch upon the psychological dimension of an uncharacteristic urban setting.
06 Simple yet quietly unnerving, Horse 1, a bold watercolour work by young Chinese artist Ye Ling-Han incorporates both formal and representational concerns. Ye is represented by YAT first-timer, Vanguard Gallery.
07 A graduate of University of Wollongong’s Visual Arts programme, multidisciplinary artist Dara Gill’s work delves into “the nature of anxiety through situational based research.” In his video installation, NOW Counter (Current Birthrate/Deathrate – Four Births Per Second, Two Deaths Per Second) (above), the word “NOW” flashes repeatedly on two separate LCD screens, forcing viewers to confront the present and acknowledge its everlasting urgency.
08 One of three winners of YAT12’s prestigious Young Artist Award, Japanese artist Atsuko Goto’s painstakingly crafted watercolour work, Monster, was achieved by applying azure stone pigment on cotton.
09 Emerging Chinese artist Chen I-Feng was another talented participant who scooped up a Young Artist Award. The winning work, a photorealist painting simply depicting a pile of neatly folded linens, highlights Chen’s penchant for eking out the beauty of a banal scenario.
10 YAT12 attendees gazed in wonderment at the work of the third Young Artist Award winner, Tseng Chien-Ying. The winning painting featured contrasting themes, specifically grimacing black children fighting one another against the backdrop of an idyllic, colourful paradise.
The fourth edition of Young Art Taipei is set to put emerging local talents on the map.
A heavy air of mystery surrounds the strange entity known as the Taiwanese art scene. It is a domain that remains seemingly impenetrable to outsiders, its charms particularly elusive to anglophones with little talent for mastering the Chinese tongue. Like the country itself, which has meandered through its fair share of political grey areas in search of a national identity, the arts community has long appeared to many as a complex organism that thrived in near-isolation, humming nonchalantly to its own tune.
This is an impression that the organisers of Young Art Taipei had hoped to dispel, particularly with the introduction of several ambitious serial events at this year’s edition. It has also made the move to a more prominent venue amidst the expansive premises of the capital city’s Sheraton Hotel.
Founded in 2000, the annual art fair recently underwent its three-day run from May 11 to 13 as a viable platform for emerging artists under 45. While the ongoing objective is in promoting greater awareness of Taiwan’s burgeoning creative talents, the YAT organising committee also strove to garner increased participation from international galleries, especially those bent on aiding younger artists in their ongoing plight for acknowledgement and exposure.
“Taiwan is a place with many mature collectors, but for most of them, collecting young Taiwanese artists is still not a first choice,” laments Nina Lin, a rep for the organising committee. “[This trend] will affect our future art market in a negative way. [There is] too much invested in the artworks of established and well-known artists and too little attention paid to [lesser known] artists [with potential].”
Lin says that while financial efforts have been made on the part of the Taiwanese government to encourage creative cultural events such as YAT, not enough effort is spent on nurturing local talent, leaving young artists in the lurch. “It’s hard for emerging artists to get sponsors on their own,” says Lin. This is a situation that YAT is currently aspiring to remedy by enabling participating artists the rare opportunity of sharing a prolific stage with international creatives who are turning the artistic tide in their respective homelands.
Nearly 60 galleries showcased their wares at this year’s event, exhibiting works that range from Australian artist Jess MacNeil’s painterly video art to a collection of edgy works from B Gallery, an artistic initiative founded by Japanese fashion brand BEAMS. Represented by Taiwan’s Gallery Grand Siecle, local rising media artist Din Chin-Chung showed projects that delve into the relationship between structure, rotation and space, using sound and video as emotional conduits. Din was also the winner of a Taipei Art Award last year. Presenting works that address the theme of “desire,” art gallery and housewares retailer Aki Gallery featured two young artists, Kuo Chi-Hong and Wu Yi-Han.
Making good on their promise to divert the focus to YAT’s young hopefuls, several serial events were held in conjunction with the event’s festivities, including a Young Art Award, which honours three up-and-coming participants, and an online-based “audience choice prize” democratically dubbed Vote, One Voice.
But it is perhaps the YAT graffiti event that is most reflective of the trials and tribulations presently faced by Taiwan’s artistic progeny. Operating under the theme “Age of Unrest,” local graffiti artists engaged in a friendly “street battle” as they struggle to outdo one another, aided only by spray paint and an individual sense of creative prowess. Improvised and explosive, the event brought forth unexpected visual perceptions that changed at any given notice, in turn, stimulating a hearty dialogue between art and life.