Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Taiwan, a sub-tropical island, is full of paradoxes: high-tech in some sectors, and developing in others. Vagueness and ambiguities abound. Affordable living, connection with nature and urbansity, and the availability of up-to-date technologies make Taiwan an artist’s paradise.

There are so many good contemporary artists to choose from and this list is far from inclusive. This book highlights approximately 100 Taiwanese artists. New artists appear on the scene regularly while new spaces open and others close. Because things are constantly in flux, it is impossible to have a concise overview. So this is a general overview that focuses on Taiwanese artists who were exhibiting regularly and showing up on the radar screen.

At the beginning of the 21st century, more artists from abroad including Japan, North America and Europe started calling Taiwan home. Since the Taiwan identity is somewhat fragile, the art scene is not yet as inclusive as say Berlin or New York’s. However, it will change in due time. The low cost of living and mild climate are salient features for artists.

In addition to artists and art spaces around the island, two chapters focus on the Taiwan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and the Taipei Biennial at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum as these two particular exhibitions are Taiwan’s foray with the contemporary international art scene.


Contemporary art in Taiwan is varied, diverse, encompassing and unfortunately is not as widely known globally as it deserves. It is with this hope that this publication can be a bridge to let more people know about the dynamic art that happens in Taiwan.

Over the years I’ve met many visiting curators, museum directors, critics, artists and basically art lovers who really wanted to learn more about what Taiwan had to offer and were frustrated that reliable information just wasn’t available. These visitors would often be taken by well-meaning guides to puppet shows, Chinese opera performances or tea ceremonies, which are nice in itself, but was frustrating when the visitors really wanted to learn about the avant-garde, the experimental, and to encounter the outspoken art works of the performance and digital worlds.

There seems to be a preconception in Taiwan, by Taiwanese arts administrators, that North American and European art visitors want to see puppet shows and go to a ceramics town. I have met many of these visitors who wanted to learn about Taiwanese contemporary art. Hopefully this book can help change some of these preconceptions.

Surprisingly there were no English books available looking at Taiwanese contemporary art after the post-martial law period. Anytime I tried researching an artist on the internet, it would often be one of my articles would show up in the search. After writing about Taiwanese artists for close to 10 years, I realized that I did know a lot of information and can now share it with you, the reader. I had great difficulty in sparking interest in local publishers so decided to start posting this information on a blog.

This (un-yet published book) acts as a guidebook, as a sort of a who’s who, to get first-time visitors acquainted with Taiwan’s diverse and vibrant art scene in an easy digestible format. This book serves to whet the appetite and is by no means an art historical tome. It just captures a moment in time to give an overview of contemporary art in Taiwan.

This book focuses on artists who define themselves as Taiwanese so does not include artists of other nationalities who create art in Taiwan, such as myself. The artists included in this book have had a certain level of visibility over the years.

It is my hope that this brief introduction will serve as a cultural bridge between Taiwan’s artists with the rest of the world.

Chinese names are listed as surname first, followed by the hyphenated first name and with an English name in parenthesis if applicable. The character is printed to help identify the artist.

- Susan Kendzulak, 2008