Artsy Fartsy Afternoons

During my winter holidays, I had some visits, like I mentioned before. In between, however, I had some fun doing some indoors activities in cold, wintery, rainy Taipei. In this update I will show you a lot of quite modern (or post-modern?) artworks I got to see (read: ‘lots of pictures’). So, let’s start with a nice January 28 afternoon that I spent exploring the buildings at the Nanhai Xueyuan 南海學園 “Nanhai Academy” site, situated between the MRT stations of Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall (see last post) and Xiaonanmen. After that, there are a few more works I want to show, as well as the major piece of evidence that witches are among us.

National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute

The National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute 國立臺灣工藝研究發展中心 is housed in a building that is made to resemble the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.

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Inside there are a few floors that display exhibitions of arts and crafts and design made by Taiwanese people. If material culture is your thing, this may be a good place to go, even though it is not exactly an A-list attraction (yet?). This may be because it was under construction for a long time (last time I came here - 1.5 years ago, it wasn’t, even though my Lonely Planet promised it would be).

Writing calligraphy at National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute 國立臺灣工藝研究發展中心

Classic modern interior at National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute 國立臺灣工藝研究發展中心

I really liked the atmosphere of this place: the people were friendly, it was free to get into, the view was nice and the works displayed were somewhat interesting. I even went to the gift shop :) .

50 shades of blue at National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute 國立臺灣工藝研究發展中心

gourd at National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute 國立臺灣工藝研究發展中心

帥哥 at National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute 國立臺灣工藝研究發展中心

National Museum of History

Taiwan’s National Museum of History 國立歷史博物館 lies right next to the Arts and Crafts building. It was built in 1956 in a traditional Ming-Qing style, with lots of wooden beams and green and red colours. They have a steady collection of older items, most of it originating from the Henan museum in China. I would like to feature two exhibitions that were going on at the time of my visit: the Keith Haring exhibition and the Wang Nong exhibition.

Keith Haring: Multiplexism

I don’t think American artist Keith Haring needs a lot of introduction, especially if I show these iconic images.

Keith Haring at National Museum of History 國立歷史博物館

Keith Haring at National Museum of History 國立歷史博物館

There were also some funny works, or rather, works I had fun with.

Keith Haring at National Museum of History 國立歷史博物館

Keith Haring at National Museum of History 國立歷史博物館

This last one I really like - it was a pop-up artwork. Visitors of the exhibition could add their own stuff to a Keith Haring inspired mural, just like he made his works in the New York subway. Ten points for whoever can find what I wrote. I’ll give you guys a hint: I’ve circled it.

Wang Nong 王農

The exhibition “An Artist’s Journey in Ink and Water: A Memorial Exhibition of Wang Nong in His Ninetieth” features the previously unknown to me artist Wang Nong, who has a passion for painting horses.

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It kind of reminds me of Xu Beihong 徐悲鴻, whose museum I tried visiting multiple times every time I was in Beijing, but apparently the builders were working not fast enough to open it for me. Anyway, Wang Nong was also a student of Xu Beihong, and it shows. In his ink style, he uses light touches to suggest form rather than depict it. I am quite fond of this kind of painting, and it should be one of the main differences between photography and painting - as an amateur (ex-)painter, I also feel that you can put more into a painting than into a picture. Although with modern photoshop technology that may prove to be an invalid argument. Let us put the reflections aside and just look at some pictures.

Wang Nong 王農 at National Museum of History 國立歷史博物館

Wang Nong 王農 at National Museum of History 國立歷史博物館

Wang Nong 王農 at National Museum of History 國立歷史博物館

Wang Nong 王農 at National Museum of History 國立歷史博物館

Wang Nong 王農 at National Museum of History 國立歷史博物館

Wang Nong 王農 at National Museum of History 國立歷史博物館

National Taiwan Arts Education Center

The National Taiwan Arts Education Center 國立臺灣藝術教育館 is housed in a building complex that looks equally splendid.

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I saw two exhibitions, by accident, for it wasn’t really planned that I should come here. The first was an exhibition that featured prize-winners of Taiwanese art schools for students (from primary school to college level). Here are some works that made an impression on me.

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The second exhibition here shows some very interesting works that combine different materials. The artist who made them was present, but I can’t find his name anymore. When I first stepped in accidentally, I was prompted by two women to sign my attendance in the guestbook. After this, they showed me around the small expo, telling me about the works of the man. To give some credit to him, here is a picture.

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And here is some of his work.

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Botanical garden

It’s funny, in Leuven I never went to the botanical garden. I planned to, on multiple occasions, but I just never did. Here, however, I have been already multiple times. I like to walk between the trees and plants and just get some fresh air. The Botanical Garden of Taipei 台北植物園 has a lot of interesting spots, but I think I am most into the architecture of this greenhouse. Please also pay attention to the scantily clad woman on the left who is getting pictures taken by a shady fellow.

greenhouse @ Botanical Garden of Taipei 台北植物園

The Botanical Garden also houses the Qing Dynasty Taiwan Provincial Administration Hall 臺灣布政使司衙門 - a hall that was erected at the turn of the century (well, more than one century ago) for Chinese (and later Japanese?) officials to stay in when they came to inspect Taiwan.

臺灣布政使司衙門 @ Botanical Garden of Taipei 台北植物園

臺灣布政使司衙門 @ Botanical Garden of Taipei 台北植物園

Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Thematically similar, yet chronologically unfit, is my visit to the Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館. Well, second visit, as avid readers of this blog no doubt remember how I talked about it last time as well. This time I went with my Spanish friend Guillermo.

MADE IN TAIWAN: A Retrospective of Yang Mao Lin

The first exhibition features Yang Mao Lin. He started as a painter.

Yang Mao Lin @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館

Yang Mao Lin @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館

Yang Mao Lin @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館

Yang Mao Lin @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館

Later he included Western cultural references (or maybe it is better to say comic book inspired references) into his paintings. And v-jayjays.

Yang Mao Lin @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館

Yang Mao Lin @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館

Yang Mao Lin @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館

Yang Mao Lin @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館

Yang Mao Lin @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館

And even later he left the medium of paint to focus more on 3D. Here are some works that seem to combine Buddhist works with pop culture elements.

Yang Mao Lin @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館

Yang Mao Lin @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館

And even an Alice outside Wonderland, in a museum:

Yang Mao Lin @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館

Yang Mao Lin @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館

Other than that, we went to see the same exhibitions as in my last update. So, no more text or explanation, only funny images, like ‘Spaniard lost in mist’

The way things go @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館

Or the guy who proves that I should take my workout to the supermarket, although the woman at the register does not seem that happy with such a turn of events:

@ Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館

@ Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館

Or, and this is super important evidence, the three pictures that prove that witches are among us:

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witches @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館

witches @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館

So, I have come to the end of my artsy fartsy afternoon - it also took me about an afternoon to make this post, so I hope you enjoy it. Feedback is, as always, welcome below or on facebook. Or twitter, whatever.

(Not you, spammer guys, you seem to need to be reminded and deserve kletsen op de blote poep!)

Next time, I will tell you all about my visits from Japan and how I spent Chinese New Year.

Also, Belgian friends who are interested in art should definitely check out the Ithaka arts festival in Leuven! It runs from 7-13 March 2016 and is organized by students of my old university.

<3

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Thomas Van Hoey
PhD Candidate in Linguistics

My research interests include ideophones, (Premodern) Chinese, historical linguistics, Cognitive Linguistics, and lexical semantics.

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