The Atlas Group
Jeanne van Heeswijk
Raqs Media Collective
Do You Believe in Reality? The 2004 edition responds to an urgent call. Artists, filmmakers and intellectuals all over the world are grappling with the profound transformations currently sweeping society, and are attempting to formulate aesthetic and cultural responses to their new reality.
Do You Believe in Reality?
The 2004 Taipei Biennial responds to an urgent call. Artists, filmmakers and intellectuals all over the world are grappling with the profound transformations currently sweeping society, and are attempting to formulate aesthetic and cultural responses to their new reality. This major exhibition of international contemporary art brings together forty participants who use the concrete world in which they live as their primary material. Far from pursuing abstractions or grandiose ideals, they welcome us back to reality, revealing new ways of looking at the changing world around us.
The exhibition's title, "Do You Believe in Reality?", may seem to pose a paradoxical question, since reality is usually thought to refer to everything that exists in the world, and to be inseparable from truth. But the concept has long provoked philosophical debates about how we come to know this reality and how it can be authenticated as 'truth'. For instance, what we deem to be real in contemporary Western society is hugely influenced by the overwhelming abundance of images produced by the media each day. The artists in this exhibition question the claim of this type of imagery to fully represent the decisive transformations that are taking place in the contemporary world. Through a range of widely differing tactics, they put forward alternative ways of representing the 'real'. The impact of their works lies in their capacity to translate their critical and social observations into imaginative and poetic aesthetic forms.
The exhibition includes a diverse group of artists, some of whom are just beginning their careers, while others like Yoko Ono and AgnEs Varda are internationally renowned. They are brought together from a wide range of countries, and their varied practices bridge a broad array of disciplines from architectural projects, photographic studies, performance pieces, fictive reconstructions, documentary films, archival ventures, collective paintings, as well as community and activist projects. Through these forms, they reveal how such social issues as globalization, labor economies and urban infrastructure are profoundly affecting contemporary life.
Initiated by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum in 1998, the Taipei Biennial was the first large-scale international art event to be organized in Taiwan. It aims to highlight the inseparable links between cultural production and society, as well as to reflect the full diversity of contemporary art. The first edition, entitled Sites of Desire and curated by Fumio Nanjo from Japan, initiated the Biennial with a focus on contemporary Asian artists. Following this highly successful launch, The Sky is the Limit, co-curated by Jerome Sans from France and Manray Hsu from Taiwan in 2000, and Great Theater of the World, co-curated by Bartomeu Mari from Spain and Chia-Chi Jason Wang from Taiwan in 2002, confirmed the importance of the Taipei Biennial and expanded its international ambition and scope.
Apotik Komik (Indonesia); The Atlas Group (Lebanon/New York); Chang Yung-ho (China); Chen Chieh-jen (Taiwan); David Claerbout (Belgium); Jeremy Deller (Great Britain); Heri Dono (Indonesia); Naoya Hatakeyama (Japan); Jeanne van Heeswijk with Rolf Engelen, Siebe Thissen, Frans Vermeer and Innbetween (The Netherlands); Samuel Indratma (Indonesia); The Kingpins (Australia); Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis, with Madelon Vriesendorp and Zoe Zenghelis (The Netherlands); Kuo I-chen (Taiwan); Franciska Lambrechts and HonorÃ© d'O (Belgium); Leong Sze-tsung (United States/Great Britain); Hongjohn Lin (Taiwan); Long March (China); Steve McQueen (Great Britain/The Netherlands); Jean-Luc Moulene (France); Otobong Nkanga (Nigeria/The Netherlands); Yoko Ono (Japan/United States); Gabriel Orozco (Mexico/United States); Pratchaya Phinthong (Thailand); Raqs Media Collective (India); Martha Rosler (United States); Anri Sala (Albania/France); Maruch Santiz-Gomez (Mexico); Tsui Kuang-yu (Taiwan); Agnes Varda (Belgium/France); Wang Bing (China); Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand); Yang Fu-dong (China) ; Yeh Wei-li and Liu Ho-jang (Taiwan)
Barbara Vanderlinden is an independent curator based in Brussels and is founding director of Roomade, an independent collaborative art organization. In 1998 she curated a major show at the World Exhibition in Lisbon and was one of the co-curators of Manifesta 2, Luxemburg. She also initiated and co-curated Laboratorium in Antwerp (1999), co-editing its accompanying publication. Author of numerous essays on contemporary art and exhibition practice, she has initiated several long-term projects, including most recently, Revolution/Restoration, an exhibition series at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, co-curated with Dirk Snauwaert.
Amy Cheng, who lives and works both in Vancouver and Taipei, is a freelance writer and curator. She writes for various art magazines published in Taiwan and China, including Modern Art and ARTCO. Most recently she curated Invisible City, held at the Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (2004) and Ruins and Civilization at the Eslite Art Space, Taipei (2004).
Two publications will accompany the 2004 Taipei Biennial. The first will include an introduction to the artists along with explanatory texts and images. The second, which will be published in December 2004 will include transcripts of the conference lectures as well full installation shots of the exhibition.
Press Conference: 23rd October, 2004, 2:30 p.m.
Inauguration (Preview): 23rd October, 2004, 7:30 p.m.
Lecture Panels: 23rd -24 th October, 2004, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m
A two-day symposium addressing issues related to the exhibition will be held at the museum on October 23-24.
All lectures are free with admission and subject to change.
Image: Gabriel Orozco, Untitled Photographs from 'Gabriel Orozco-Triunfo de la Libertad No. 18
Tlalpan, C.P. 14000', 1995
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