Taishin Arts Award 2020/21


About 2020 - The 19th Taishin Arts Award

About 2020 - The 19th Taishin Arts Award

The 19th Taishin Arts Award Announces for the First Time its Three Laureates via Live Stream without an In-person Award Ceremony

Taipei Robot Man 2.0: Infodemic Is a Metaphor for the Society in Pandemic.

The House Behind the Wall and Dances for Wu-Kang Chen Respectively by the Married Couple YEH Ming-Hwa and CHEN Wu-Kang Bring Home the Awards

The award ceremony of the 19th Taishin Arts Award this year, due to the pandemic in Taiwan and the multiple extensions of the level-3 alert, has been postponed once. On July 10, the in-person “award ceremony” is eventually replaced by the first-ever “livestream announcement of award laureates,” in which three laureates among fifteen finalists are announced. The laureates taking home the Visual Arts Award and the Performing Arts Award laureates are respectively awarded a NT$ 1 million monetary prize, and the Grand Prize laureate is awarded a NT$ 1.5 million monetary prize, bringing the prize money to a total of NT$ 3.5 million.

The Grand Prize: YEH Ming-Hwa, The House Behind the Wall – Wang Da Hong House Theatre X Ming Hwa Yeh (NT$ 1.5 million monetary prize)

The Visual Arts Award: CHANG Ting-Tong, CHENG Hsien-Yu and Dino, Taipei Robot Man 2.0: Infodemic (NT$ 1 million monetary prize)

The Performing Arts Award: CHEN Wu-Kang X Jérôme BEL, Dances for Wu-Kang Chen—2020 Taipei Arts Festival (NT$ 1 million monetary prize)

The Taishin Arts Award organized by the Taishin Bank Foundation for Arts and Culture has supported the creation of contemporary visual arts, performing arts and interdisciplinary arts throughout the years and enters its nineteenth year this year. Taking a retrospective look on the first half of the year 2020, many events and activities were halted due to the impact of the pandemic before numerous exhibition and performance projects were swiftly revived and presented during the second half of the year. The award’s nomination work, however, has remained ceaseless. From more than a hundred nominees, fifteen finalists have been named before three award laureates are to be selected. Affected by the pandemic, the final selection jury of this edition is once again formed by Taiwanese jurors. With theater director LI Huan-Hsiung serving as the chair, the final selection jury includes poet and theater director-playwright Hung Hung, art historian CHEN Kuang-Yi, artist KAO Jun-Honn, curator and art critic LU Pei-Yi, the artistic director of the Digital Art Foundation WANG Po-Wei, and the CEO of the International Organisation of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians (OISTAT) WEI Wan-Jung.

The Visual Arts Award is presented to Taipei Robot Man 2.0: Infodemic by CHANG Ting-Tong, CHENG Hsien-Yu and Dino, which was showcased at both TheCube Project Space and Longquan Market. Utilizing the white box space and the real wet market, the work uses digital technologies to reuse online trolls and fake news as creative materials to power mechanical installations and create sound performances, reflecting the social landscape amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The jury gives the following comment—

“Learning from the subaltern as the starting point, the work straddles typical and atypical exhibition spaces: in the Cube Project Space, junk messages about the pandemic on the internet are converted into electric signals for the recycled objects on site and linked with the sound artist’s performance; and in Longquan Market, the smell, light and narrative transform our imagination of the humid place. Both are connected to the metaphor of viral hotbeds. The work explores the cycle and regeneration of internet phenomenon, electronic waste and spatial memory. The artists are highly sensitive to contemporary issues and use the agency of artistic creation to expose the incendiary power of explosive messages and the naked fragility of human beings in the midst of a pandemic that no one can predict its termination.”

The Performing Arts Award is presented to Dances for Wu-Kang Chen, debuted in the 2020 Taipei Arts Festival. Creatively conceived by French artist Jérôme BEL, who assigns topics to each segment of the work, Taiwanese dancer-choreographer CHEN Wu-Kang serves as the director and solo performer of the piece. The jury gives the following comment—

“Dances for Wu-Kang Chen is composed of 10 dance/non-dance sections, which pose the question "what is dance" while exploring the core of the performer’s life. The work of Jérôme BEL’s aesthetic propositions in collaboration with Wu-Kang CHEN’s directing and performance reflects CHEN's life experiences and his interpretation of creative propositions through various forms of performance. Instead of being constrained by the conceptual framework, the performance embodies the richness of life, highlighting the traces left in the performer's body by his artistic formation and career development. The work is a successful demonstration of the creative quality of performance in constructing the uniqueness of an individual.”

Selected from fifteen finalists, the Grand Prize is presented to YEH Ming-Hwa, who was invited by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum to tailor-make The House Behind the Wall for Wang Da Hong House Theatre. Yeh converts the life journey of architect WANG Da-Hong into a performance in three episodes, interlacing dance, traditional theater, performance and video to revisit and retrace Wang’s career as an architect and his everyday life. The jury gives the following comment—

“This project is a site-specific performance in the Wang Da Hong House Theatre, an extended space of the Taipei Museum of Fine Arts. It consists of three episodes Above/Strolling/Living that develop from outside to inside. Physically the performance grows from outside the wall to inside the house, and psychologically the audience’s role shifts from watching a performance to participation. YEH Ming-Hwa explores the complex significance of Wang Da Hong House Theatre in a clear and layered manner, and deals with the various dimensions of body, space, theatre, performance and life in a delicate and balanced approach. Through the interplay between architecture, contemporary dance, Chinese opera and video art, she creates a unique experience for the audience while advancing the artistic practice of interdisciplinary exploration.”

The well-known dancer-choreographer couple CHEN Wu-Kang and YEH Ming-Hwa first made the list of the finalists with their respective productions and eventually brought home the Performing Arts Award and the Grand Prize, writing the ever-first and indeed a joyous record in the nineteen-year history of the Taishin Arts Award.

In his speech, the chairman of the Taishin Bank Foundation for Arts and Culture, Mr. Simon CHENG states that “although an in-person award ceremony is not available at the moment, we believe what is more important is the encouragement to the artists. The million-dollar prize money for the laureates and the hundred-thousand-dollar monetary incentive for other finalists are surely a timely and needed aid for all the artists and arts teams.”

In his speech, the chair of the final selection jury, theater director LI Huan-Hsiung describes the artists as “humble and confident, assiduous but rich, subaltern yet surpassing, disadvantaged but courageous,” and expresses that he feels honored to be a member of such a community. To conclude the ceremony, the Executive Director of the Foundation, CHENG Yali says that “the year of 2021 is a greater challenge for us all, but it is our belief that any and every situation we experience has its merit. Art demonstrates a greater power when encountering restraints and difficulties.”

After the laureates are announced, the awarded artists also immediately give their appreciation remarks online. Please visit the official website of the 19th Taishin Arts Award to watch the livestreamed ceremony. We invite all to follow the finalists and laureates to get a deeper understanding of their works.

■ Official Website of the 19th Taishin Arts Award: http://19award.taishinart.org.tw/

■ Facebook fan page of the Taishin Bank Foundation for Arts and Culture: https://www.facebook.com/TAISHINART/

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