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An Open Ending: Huang Hua-Cheng

20201112165714009116 (1)Publisher: TFAM
Category:Exhibition Catalogs
Published Date: 2020/09
ISSN: 978-986-54-5919-2



It is always challenging to conduct historical studies when there is a lack of original museum exhibits. However, this perspective is also rather paradoxical, because original exhibit and archival representation are where historical narratives are constructed. Material existence is not a guarantee for authenticity, and artifact remakes that reveal points of views may better help us connect with the value and cultural significance behind what is real and authentic. “An Open Ending: Huang Hua-Cheng” is a retrospective on an artist that is no longer with us, and there are only three original pieces by him that still exist in the world. Through the eyes of Huang's contemporary, Chang Chao-Tang, the organization and arrangement made by contemporary visual image researcher, Chang Shih-Lun, and along with field research, the studying and gathering of audio-visual archival materials, replicas and remakes of artworks and artifacts, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum is able to present again Huang Hua-Cheng's much talked-about and legendary creative journey.

Huang Hua-Cheng, who was active during the Cold War era, a time when American culture was forcefully influential, had left a very unique mark in the art history of Taiwan. He was not only a transdisciplinary pioneer, but more precisely, his art was unrestricted by any existing genres or formats. He was set out to manipulate concepts and overturn any symbols or icons. Huang did not belong in any art groups, but he was the sole member of “École de Great Taipei”, which he founded in 1966. The art concepts that he presented and expressed further positioned him at the forefront of Taiwan's avantgarde art movement. Although I had always kept in mind and eagerly looked forward to presenting Huang in a museum setting, however, the lack of historical material and with archives and documents that are considered unofficial, it was a feat that was rather impossible to overcome. Fortunately, we were able to gain the trust of Chang Chao-Tang last year. He had provided us with many historical materials from that period in time and had expressed his willingness to share and recreate the spatial and temporal backdrop of the era. Step by step, the planning and historical research for this exhibition slowly came to light. At the same time, Chang Shih-Lun, who has been studying for years the designs, theatrical works, and conceptual artworks created by Huang Hua-Cheng and has collected over a hundred book covers designed by Huang, began to sort through and gather more clues and information to map out the unique and multifaceted genealogy of Huang diverse oeuvre, which includes his artworks, literary works, designs, screenplays, theatrical performances, and other creative endeavors. Under this foundation, it is with great honor that the museum invites Chang Shih-Lun as a guest curator, and through uncovering and replicating historical materials and through organizing and editing a narrative discourse, Huang Hua-Cheng's art is able to be presented once again. Coincidentally, throughout the research process, three artworks by Huang that he had donated to his alma mater, the only surviving artworks by him, became the origin of this exhibition and led to a series of events retracting Huang Hua-Cheng's career.

We want to give curatorial consultant Chang Chao-Tang and guest curator Chang Shih-Lun our utmost gratitude for the realization of this exhibition. “An Open Ending: Huang Hua-Cheng” would not be presented for the world to see without the research contributions they have made. Moreover, we also want to express our appreciation to several important institutions in Taiwan. Thank you to the National Museum of Taiwan Literature, National Chengchi University, Chilin Foundation, Wu San-Lien Foundation For Taiwan Historical Materials and Taiwan International Documentary Festival for loaning their historical materials to show in this exhibition. Without their trust and generosity, it would be impossible for us to make up for the critical missing pieces of history. Lastly, we want to thank the National Taiwan Normal University for agreeing to prioritize the restoration work of the existing original artworks by Huang Hua-Cheng. This is the first time for these artworks to be put on display after the passing of the artist. Our deepest gratitude for their help with preserving Huang Hua-Cheng's legacy. 

Ping Lin

Director of Taipei Fine Arts Museum