Posts Tagged ‘exhibitions’

finds: new taichung food and art places | part two: z gallery

August 8, 2010

Part two of a three part series of images, in this post you can explore the inside of Z Gallery. The gallery is located in an old covered market that independents are slowly converting into a series of artist spaces and shops.

At the moment there are five establishments nestled under the corrugated iron roof of the market: a contemporary art gallery, an independent film production studio and screening room, what looks like a literary space for writers, a vintage shop and a contemporary photography gallery and studio. The rent is super cheap in the area and because it’s so old, it looks like people can do what they want with their rented spaces. As a side note, the film studio plays screens independently produced short films from around the world every Saturday night. Entry is NT$50 per session.

Currently on display at Z Gallery are contemporary ink works by three Taiwanese artists, Lin Fan-wei, Tsai Yi-ru and Jung Jiang-je. I particularly love the art created by Tsai Yi-run.

Z Gallery.

Z Gallery.

Z Gallery. First floor.

Z Gallery. First floor.

Z Gallery. Window box.

Z Gallery. Window box.

Z Gallery. Third floor.

Z Gallery. Third floor.

Z Gallery. Another window box.

Z Gallery. Another window box.

Z Gallery. The bathroom.

Z Gallery. The bathroom.

Z Gallery.

Z Gallery.

Address: I’m not going to tell you. Part of the fun of this place is trying to hunt it down. I will say, however, that it’s somewhere near the corner of the art museum parkway (beside the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts) and Wuquan Street. Bring a fan with you as the whole place is unbelievably hot in summer.

Read part one of this series
Read part three of this series

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Copyright © 2010. This website is for personal non-commercial use only. All written work and imagery copyright to jar of buttons unless otherwise stated.

critique: is taichung soulless?

March 22, 2010

Can we really say that Taichung is a soulless city? Well, I kinda think yes.

A recent article is doing the rounds of all the English language newspapers in Taiwan. It discusses the possibility that Taichung is a soulless city, a city searching for it’s identity. After having lived here for a year, I must say that I think it is. It seems that there was once potential for it to become a culturally active city, but I feel that it has let those opportunities pass, or hasn’t promoted what it already has.

Stock 20

Being an inland, centrally positioned city often has its disadvantages and Taichung is not quite near the coast and not quite near the mountains. While the Dakeng Scenic Area is only a short scooter drive from Taichung’s Beitun District and is a really nice hiking trail area, the coastal areas near Taichung Port are underdeveloped and lacking promotion. In the same regard, central Taichung (the area around Taichung Train Station) has fallen into disrepair: “it would take at least five to six years to complete urban regeneration of the downtown area, the city’s earliest developed region which has lost its luster after business activities had moved elsewhere as Taichung developed into a multi-core city.”

Art Street

The article in the China Post goes into more detail regarding the past, present and future-planned developments of Taichung so I’ll let you read it for yourself here.

There are really only a handful of great places to eat, drink, view art and listen to music but overall, I feel there is a slim picking of cultural events, particularly public cultural events, to choose from each year. Perhaps I feel this way because I can’t access information in Chinese but I feel that after living here for a year and a bit I would know about at least the big events.

Sunday movies at Cat Lair

Of course, I don’t think the city is completely without soul. Here’s a quick list of my cultural, soul-growing spots and events:

Cat Lair (I just discovered that on Sundays they play movies outdoors just after the sun sets)
Stock 20
National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts
Art Street – particularly the shop Hukurou
Taiyuan Flea Market
Taichung Jazz Festival
Taichung International Food and Music Festival

Let me know if you know of any other eateries, bars, galleries or events by leaving a comment. I’d LOVE to learn more about the city. Prove Taichung’s soul to me!

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write up: viewpoints and viewing points – 2009 asian art biennale

January 17, 2010

I had two objectives in mind today. One: take a gander at Viewpoints and Viewing Points, the 2009 Asian Art Biennale, currently exhibiting at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. Two: try out a couple of the awesome new free bus routes that Taichung City have kindly supplied public transport users with.

Yes, you read it right, tons of art combined with free public transport. What a day! You can read all about then new free bus routes here.

So, onto the exhibition.

It was just wonderful to start my day knowing that I would soon be surrounded by artwork spanning three galleries, created by 56 of Asia’s best artists. And what a show it was. Every sense was stimulated as there was every kind of art form on display, from painting and sculpture to film and photography and everything in between.

Viewpoints & Viewing Points - 2009 Asian Art Biennial, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts

My favourite pieces, in no particular order, included: Takehito Koganezawa‘s Propagation of Electric Current, all the works by Mia Wen-Hsuan Liu, a Taiwanese artist, and Bloated City and Skinny Language by Hung Keung.

The latter struck me with its beauty when I first entered the space and looked across to see what I assume to be stylised Chinese characters floating across the wall via projection equipment.

However, it became a whole new experience when a man and his very small daughter realised that if you stand at a certain point in the room the characters gently swarm around you and move with you as you move. It was beautiful to watch them interacting with the piece.

He picked his little girl up and they swung around the room together; she was giggling away the whole time. Then, as she was placed back on the floor, she reached up both her hands until they were just visible at the bottom of the wall. The characters clustered around her hands and she grasped for them like they were bubbles floating in a park.

Hung Keung


Propagation of Electric Current left me gasping for breath. A huge wall was covered in evenly spaced fluorescent light tubes; all were lit up when I came upon the piece. I stared at it, wondering if the few bars that weren’t lit had some significance.

Suddenly, there was a slight hum and all the lights shut off. It happened so quickly that I was left gasping for breath, my heart pounding, waiting. Again the short hum and the lights flicked on, not quite simultaneously, and I basked in the safety of that neon light once again.

Being plunged into semi-darkness is unnerving.

Takehito Koganezawa, Propagation of Electric Current, 2009


Mia Wen-Hsuan Liu‘s pieces were numerous and delicate. Wheels or circles, both large and small and constructed of folded Guggenhiem Museum tickets, revealed patterns and body parts which shifted in shape and design as you moved around the pieces.

From what I could tell, the patterns were created entirely by a folding and cutting process, ensuring the words on the tickets matched to create lines and shapes. Tiny hands and feet made, I assume, from white paper, stretched out from the folds ghoulishly and beautifully.

Her works reminded me of those snowflakes you can make by folding paper and cutting shapes into the folds. When you open the paper out again after cutting you find you’ve created your very own snowflake. Not to belittle her work in any way as her pieces were far more intricate and outstanding than any snowflake I made when I was seven. I did enjoy the nostalgia, however.

You can watch a video interview with Mia Liu Wen-Hsuan here.

The piece I found most disappointing was Australian artist Jon McCormack’s Eden. It promised in its description to be a work detailing the minute goings on of a self-generating, artificial ecosystem at a biological level. With its smoke machine fumes, soft projections of cellular structures and banal sound technique it was reminiscent of a mediocre VJ show.

I have read Impossible Nature: the art of Jon McCormack and found his work stimulating but this piece was a bit of a let down. Looking at the photographs on the Eden page of the Monash website I feel distinctly cheated. Why couldn’t I have had that experience?

Perhaps the virtual creatures were not very healthy or happy today. Would you be, with a ton of people a day watching you grow and develop?

Eden, Jon McCormack


I found the work of the Korean artists represented in the show reflected what I have heard stereotyped about Korean society. Their pieces seemed to contextualise the hypermodernity of Korean life or utilised it directly.

For example, Airan Kang’s The Space of Book – the Sublime.

The Space of Book – the Sublime, Airan Kang, 2009


I had actually seen a couple of the exhibited films before.

I really can’t remember where I’ve seen The Chess, a stop motion creation by Taiwanese filmmaker Po-Chin Chen. Perhaps it screened at Show Me Shorts? I wonder if the artist lived in Australia or New Zealand at some point? There was nothing in the credits to suggest this.

And a real treat for anyone who hasn’t seen it is the 90 minute film Waltz With Bashir. I saw this about a year ago at my friend’s cinema in New Zealand so I didn’t watch it again. However, it is an incredibly moving film that I would suggest everyone takes the time to go and see.

Waltz with Bashir, Ari Folman, 2008

I found myself viewing the exhibition from an outsider’s perspective, which of course is the way I view much of my daily life here in Taiwan.

It was a strange feeling, as most of the art I’ve been involved with in the past has been produced by my peers or artists from my own culture or one similar to my own. Therefore, I feel I had a greater cultural connection with their work.

Here, I felt somewhat alienated from the pieces that related directly to Asian cultural heritage and the changes Asian societies are currently undergoing. Of course, Asian society can’t really be bunched into one entity as the Asian region is hugely diverse. I’m sure there were other visitors that felt the same way while viewing works in which the motivation was outside their realm of experience.

I really appreciate and value highly this new insight and could also recognise international themes in many of the works. The organisers of the exhibition are living up to the expectations brought about by the title of this year’s biennale and highlighting the fact that everyone views the world differently and has different “ways of seeing.”

“…[this] encompasses our faculty of understanding, empathy, thinking and judgement, a complex process of using various senses to experience the world and make interpretations. The angle of seeing is always selective.” (source: museum exhibition pamphlet)

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Copyright © 2010. This website is for personal non-commercial use only. All written work and imagery copyright to jar of buttons unless otherwise stated.

news: changes are afoot

January 15, 2010

Just like the scrumptious treats I post about in baking teensy, there are some creations in the Internet oven.

I am now writing for Art Radar Asia and as a result have less time to spend on my beloved jar of buttons. However, this does not mean I’m deserting this space for greener pastures.

It does mean that I will be changing some of the content on the site, namely the weekly fixture get to it. From now on I will list one event in the categories of music, art and other, events that I would choose to go to over no other. This will cut down my posting time and, I think, it will also be better for you, the reader.

I am also going to revamp the look of JoB over the next few months. A new look is always a good thing. Suggestions are, of course, always welcome. Send your thoughts through to or leave a comment.

So is there anything for you, the reader, to look forward to? Of course there is.

  • I will be posting a new edition of baking teensy this weekend – a tasty vegetarian treat designed to get you toasty during these chilled winter months.
  • I hope to visit this on Sunday morning so should have a review up just after.
  • If you do need some reading material before the weekend, you can check out the new articles on Art Radar Asia.
  • Or peruse the lovely use of internet space that is The Renegade Bean.
  • If you want to get out of the house and explore the culture settings of your current hometown, take a look at Taiwan Culture Portal‘s list of events.
  • For the more adventurous of spirit, perhaps you fancy a hike in the snow? The pics in this story are amazing!

Whatever you do, I hope you have an absolutely awesome weekend. Don’t forget to check back soon.

JoB x

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Copyright © 2010. This website is for personal non-commercial use only. All written work and imagery copyright to jar of buttons unless otherwise stated.