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2017 - The 16th Taishin Arts Award
About 2017 - The 16th Taishin Arts Award

Announcing the Winners of the 16th Taishin Arts Award

The establishment of the prestigious Taiwanese contemporary art award, the Taishin Arts Award, is to recognize outstanding exhibitions and performances of the year that encourage humanistic thoughts, honor contemporary spirit, and embody professional, aesthetic achievement. After a year-long process of observation, nomination and selection, the Award ceremony took place at Taishin Tower on June 2, 2018. In the ceremony, the winners of the 16th Taishin Arts Award, selected from the sixteen finalist artists and art groups, were announced. They are:

Taishin Visual Arts Award:Incarnation — YAO Jui-Chung Solo Exhibition (NT$ 1 million monetary award)

Taishin Performing Arts Award:Stay That Way – Bulareyaung Dance and Cultural Foundation (NT$ 1 million monetary award)

Taishin Annual Grand Prize:
Kau-Puê, Mutual Companionship in Near Future: 2017 Soulangh International Contemporary Art Festival – Chief curator GONG Jow-Jiun and the team of curators CHEN Po-I, Eric Chen, CHEN Yen-Ing and HUANG Chiung-Ying (NT$ 1.5 million monetary award)

The chairman of the Taishin Bank Foundation for Arts and Culture, Mr. Simon CHENG, gave an opening speech at the ceremony, stating that the sixteen finalists this year have demonstrated the vibrant and diversified creativity in Taiwan, and their keen critical spirit has provided direct reflections and cautions regarding issues about society, environment, religion and ethnic groups in their works. In other words, the finalist works have reflected the profound insights into the land and society of Taiwan and the re-examination of history in the art circle in recent years.

With the official website, ARTalks, as an open platform, the Taishin Arts Award initiates dialogues between different fields, and invites nine nominators to select sixteen annual finalists from more than one hundred nominated exhibitions and performances throughout last year. Then, the Foundation invites Taiwanese and international professionals to form the final selection jury committee, which includes Taiwanese jurors Chia Chi Jason Wang, LIN Yu-Pin, HUANG Hai-Ming, and LIU Shou-You as well as esteemed international jurors, including the Director the Centre Pompidou's Interdisciplinary Cultural Development Department, Kathryn WEIR, the Director of TPAM (Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama), Hiromi MARUOKA, and the Artistic Director of Tang Shu-Wing Theatre Studio from Hong Kong, TANG Shu-Wing. After three days of meetings and discussions, the final selection jurors have selected the winners of the three Awards, including the Taishin Annual Grand Prize, with NT$1.5 million (US$50,000) monetary prize, and the Taishin Visual Arts Award and Taishin Performing Arts Award, each with a NT$1 million (US$33,600) monetary prize.

In the ceremony, the first to be announced was the Visual Arts Award, which was presented to Incarnation, the solo exhibition of artist YAO Jui-Chung at TKG+. The exhibition featured three hundred photographs and image documentation created by the artist after visiting more than two hundred and thirty temples, graves and parks, where YAO photographed the religious statues and captured the cultural landscape and folk reality of Taiwanese society. The jury committee has given the following comment: “Incarnation contemplates and re-presents the bizarre spectacle of religious idols in Taiwan drawn variously from Buddhist, Taoist and even Animist iconography.  The large body of photographs produced by YAO Jui-Chung is complemented by a three-channel video installation that represents a new departure for the artist. In the video, the reading of the images is inflected by an eerie soundtrack made up of a “complex radio spectrum” of space recordings by NASA. The work points to a collective crisis of the “hollowing-out” of spiritual belief and a sense of living in a time of ruined hopes.  The jury recognizes the maturity of YAO Jui-chung’s approach to his art practice, and his ability to constantly renew his perspectives. Incarnation offers viewers the opportunity to reflect upon the space of “faith” and the complex motivations behind the creation and worship of these deity statues, while underlining the fluid navigation between materialism and spirituality in the Taiwanese context.

The winner of the Performing Arts Award was announced next, which was Stay That Way created by the Paiwan choreographer Bulareyaung. This dance is the third piece by the choreographer after he returned to his tribe in Taitung and founded Bulareyaung Dance Company. The jury committee has thus described this work: “Stay That Way employs gestures and situations from daily life to undermine preconceptions about indigenous dance. Its direct theatrical qualities convey dimensions of community life and personal expression, within a cosmology linking sky, earth, and particular location. The production makes palpable the spiritual root of indigenous people’s dance and song. The choreographer’s influences from different dance traditions have fallen away in this work where he establishes his own rhythm and vocabulary, creating a tension between land, body and contemporary dance language. In this reflexive work, Bulareyaung responds to the realities that indigenous people face with a unique artistic approach. Stay That Way embodies self-awakening and courage. Bulareyuang has emerged as a unique voice within the contemporary performing arts.  

The Taishin Annual Grand Prize was awarded to Kau-Puê, Mutual Companionship in Near Future: 2017 Soulangh International Contemporary Art Festival, which stood out from the sixteen finalists. This large-scale exhibition that took place at Soulangh Cultural Park in Tainan was curated by the chief curator GONG Jow-Jiun and the team of curators CHEN Po-I, Eric CHEN, CHEN Yen-Ing and HUANG Chiung-Ying. The jury committee has unanimously agreed that “Kau-Puê is an innovative long-term research-based and collaborative project instigated by curator GONG Jow-Jiun together with an interdisciplinary curatorial team. The group has developed a new format for cultural production inspired by ‘kau-puê’ temple networks, with their multiple ‘post-religious’ political, economic and social dimensions. Through this project, the curators and an expanding constellation of collaborators and participants have successfully forged a home-grown methodology based on anthropological and experiential understandings of Taiwanese culture. They have created an ongoing platform for exchange and cooperation that is able to generate many different forms of event (discussions, publications, exhibitions) based on networks of relationships and able to respond to local conditions as it moves from place to place. Taking as its starting point the history of photography in Taiwan, the project constructs an aesthetic dialogue between contemporary art, ‘folk culture’ and belief, demolishing the boundaries between art and craft. It creates a fresh line of inquiry into art and vernacular culture– a topic that generates abundant discussion – and enriches the landscape of contemporary art in Taiwan.

The founding members of the Formosa Aboriginal Song and Dance Troupe, the Rukai singer, Muagai, and the Paiwan singer, Ivi, have been invited to perform at this year’s ceremony. Their mesmerizing voices informed with life experience and rich emotions conveyed the diverse culture and arts that have been nourished and nurtured by this island. The entire Award ceremony can be viewed online now. We welcome all to visit our website to catch up on the latest news about the Award and view the documentations of the artists’ creative process!

Official website of the 16th Taishin Arts Award: http://16award.taishinart.org.tw/en-us

The 16th Taishin Arts Award: A Special Exhibition of the Finalists