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The Herstory of Abstraction in East Asia

20191202145025845712 (1)Publisher: TFAM
Category:Exhibition Catalogs
Published Date: 2019/09
ISSN: 978-986-54-1207-4



Throughout the course of history, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan have concurrently experienced the Cold War, globalization, and also Western-centric art developments. The struggles and the perseverance witnessed from a geopolitical and biopolitical perspective seem to echo with how the genre of abstract painting has progressed. Beyond the various regional features observed, the cultural connections unfolding internally also deserve to be rediscovered. The Herstory of Abstraction in East Asia takes the audience on a journey revisiting the art histories of Taiwan and East Asia, but in addition to being history-oriented, focus is also placed on perspectives departing from social and psychological studies.
Through the curatorial approach employed, the objective is also to create a way to examine historiography and to provide different possible ways of seeing. Please allow me to share with you a period in time from my own personal history, which involved an encounter I had at the end of the 1980s when I was in the United States pursing my creative career. I met a group of East Asian female artists during this time, and meeting them prompted me to reevaluate the relationship between my own culture and history. This marks the origin of this exhibition.
This group of East Asian women, myself included, had taken a detour away from Asia, where we were originally geographically closer to one another, and we had serendipitously met on the other side of the world. Overlooking the fact that Abstract Expressionism was fading away from the limelight in the mainstream Western world, we collectively pursued after our shared desire of using the language of abstraction and to create large-scale works of art. What was it that fascinated us about such nonfigurative form of expression?
Throughout the years since my return to Taiwan, issues relating to cultural diversity, post-colonial discourse, and gender studies have time and time again taken effect, and I suddenly see that I've come full circle and realized that similar life experiences and cultural contexts are shared between me and certain East Asian artists, and there exists a sense of closeness between us due to issues dealing with gender differences and also a sense of spirituality, and this closeness transcends beyond just our geographical background.
Against such backdrop, I've proceeded to invite two guest curators to join in realizing this exhibition, as we seek to create a feasible point-of-entry for decoding history and contemporary transregional studies. The artworks on view in the exhibition are contextually connected to one another, with a cultural and historical dialogue seemingly flowing between them. As a woman artist turned museum director, I find immense comfort in the fact that this exhibition profoundly examines life in intimate, up-close ways, and it also digs deep into the depth of history. The Taipei Fine Arts Museum has recently undergone a 9-month hiatus due to renovation of the museum's air conditioning system, and at the same time, the museum still has other major on-going constructions with building the museum's collection vault and expansion into the Fine Arts Park. Compared to these hardware projects that will shape the future of the museum, software developments taking place during this transitional period could provide everyone with opportunities to foresee the museum's historical purpose and also its epochal evolution. The Herstory of Abstraction in East Asia continues to fortify the museum's exhibition space on the second floor, which is being restructured into a designated area for "historical studies." Perhaps the exhibition, Oil Painting in the East Asia: Its Awakening and Development, presented by the museum in 2000 could serve as a starting point for tracing the studies conducted by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum on the development of East Asian art.
We would like to thank all the female artists that have contributed to this exhibition, the curators, Mon Jung-Hee from Korea and Wang Pin-Hua from Taiwan, Japanese scholar Shigeo Chiba, and other experts that have helped with the realization of this exhibition. Moreover, the exhibition has also been made possible through the support and trust of several major international institutions, including the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa; and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea. These museums have loaned out important works from their collections for this exhibition, and with this opportunity to revisit history and to reconstruct contemporaneity, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum is immensely grateful to them.

Director of Taipei Fine Arts Museum  Lin Ping

Artist and Work
 └ KUSAMA Yayoi
 └ TANAKA Atsuko
 └ TATSUNO Toeko

 └ TSUGAMI Miyuki

 └ CHOI Wook-Kyung
 └ YANG Kwanja


 └ CHANG Sang-Eui
 └ AHN Mija

 └ YANG Shih-Chih
 └ HSUEH Pao-Shia

 └ CHEN Hsing-Wan
 └ HUNG Yi-Chen


 Walking in Front of the Painterly Space — On Abstract Paintings by Japanese Women Artists/CHIBA Shigeo
 Asian Abstract Art and Korean Female Abstraction/MOON Jung-Hee
 Stepped Out: The Diversified Path of Taiwanese Female Abstract Painting/WANG Pin-Hua

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