Archive for the 'Taipei Fine Arts Museum' Category


Being Someone Else’s Grown-Up

Today I took my class to the Taipei Museum of Fine Arts, and craggy-voiced got them to tell the difference between 3D and 2D, discuss the colors, the shapes, and how they felt about them.  It’s a mixed class– the oldest child is in sixth grade, youngest in first, mixed English abilities as well.

We went to the calligraphy exhibition and discussed how the artists must have made the different kinds of lines– big and sweeping, versus fast, scribbly and little, airy brushed versus wet-brushed.  They made their own rubbings of pictograph-antecedents for modern Chinese characters (as someone studying Chinese characters, it was nice to see the evolution of some of them) at the children’s exhibit.  The line for the dragon was much longer and more stubborn than the fish, or the horse.

The first floor had modern dimly lit installations, and the kids had fun watching a video installation– two televisions with close-ups of a baby’s eye and a man’s eye apparently looking at each other, and then the baby’s mouth making noises to be copied by the man’s mouth.  My class did a bit of echoing cooing themselves.

B, a first-grader I met yesterday, held my hand and buried her head in my arm as we walked through the dimly lit galleries with odd noises from some installation in the back.  She whispered that it was scary– the noises, and some of the art.

It’s odd– I could identify with her response.  When I was in France and tip-toeing through the bottom gallery of the Pompidou with its video installations talking in the distance, rope trailing across the floor from another installation, and Marcel Duchamp’s up-ended unicycle pointing upwards, I missed having someone’s hand to hold and guide me through this separate world gone strange–  I think each piece was interesting and wouldn’t have intimidated me on its own, but the overlapping of such disparate visions was jarring, and being alone in the mostly empty (except for video-installation faces talking at me) gallery didn’t help.  Company helps in reinforcing reality of a kind–depending on the company I guess.

Anyway, I so often feel rather Piglet-ish– a very very small person in a very very big world, that it humbles me when a smaller hand than mine holds onto my little finger for consolation.  I used to find it frightening– being the grown up for my children.  I still do somewhat, but I guess I’ve learned from being my younger cousin’s pillow on long car rides, and teaching, that it’s something I can sort of do– pillow-service is easy– just stay still and try not to mind appendages falling asleep, though peed pants still freak me out, and my ability to perform stern reprimands still needs a bit more brimstone.

I held B’s hand through the rest of the exhibition until we came out into the light of the courtyard, descended the stairs and she cheered up with lunch.


Ink and Projections– Modern Art in Taipei

We planned to go to the National Palace Museum yesterday, but then ended up not going. So, last night, Midori and I agreed for certain to go to the NPM today. However, after some surfing, she changed her mind. So we went to the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and we caught the last day of this:

The picture that they use in the webpage is a good one, but not one of the many that really wowed me. Modern ink painting in Taiwan was the exhibit, which showed painters who often used traditional brush painting techniques to achieve some incredible pieces that could sometimes reach some stunning abstraction. I think if I were to ever truly go into contemporary painting properly, that would be the sort I ought to do– it fuses all of my loves– gesture, powerful color, and a certain control gone wild. There were textured landscapes of desire, an ethereal blue storm, suffused landscapes, bold suns suspended over chaos, and a huge variety of touches. Chinese brushwork can go from a delicate dance to powerful sweeping movements, and this exhibition showed its huge potential.

I was extremely disappointed that it was the last day of the exhibition, so my Bwe-e (the painter-flower-arranger-photographer artist extraordinaire) can’t come up to see it (I found a good chunk of the Chinese painting books she gave me in the basement bookstore). I have to wait for a few months before the catalogue of the exhibition becomes available, too.

Taipei Fine Arts Museum

The Taipei Fine Arts Museum (some of the footprints on the side were beginning to flap their toes).


The Dirty Yoga Taipei Biennale was interesting. There was a yarn-filled installation involving crocheted flowers, knit cacti, knitted blue US Mailbox, and fountains of green yarn. There were also some b&w photographs of scooter drivers at stoplights. One interesting series of photographs which involved some beautiful random scenes, like a woman with a hugely long purple scarf flowing in the wind from her neck in a field of flowers, and another one with a disco-ball moon over a dark beach. A couple of video installations– one which involved some cheap quintessential Taiwanese plastic bouncing, hitting each other, and rolling around– like the colorful green and red plastic brooms we have, or yellow hardhats, or the blue handled water ladles for bathing– all shown on television screens on the floor amidst all of the things featured in the videos. Another installation involved skateboarders zipping through an abandoned building. One had two park benches juxtaposed with scenes that seemed to almost interact with each other. Another installation was of the Israel Day Parade in New York City– people marching and dancing and holding up signs. One installation included sculpture and video about Sun Yat Sen– the founder of China. The coolest installation involved projectors that had a purple sea sloshing on the walls, which seemed to interact with passersby– staying still as we stood, or sloshing as people walked through– their shadows slipping from one projection to another.

The art books in the basement were quite tempting, but I restrained myself. Continue reading ‘Ink and Projections– Modern Art in Taipei’

Free Rice

June 2019
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