Posts Tagged ‘Taipei’

JoB likes: ENTHRALLING INTERVIEWS WITH RENOWNED ARTISTS

July 18, 2010

My interview with Taiwanese artist Tsong Pu was enthralling and a great start to my exploration of the Taiwanese contemporary art industry.

On Friday, I was privileged to interview Taiwanese old-generation contemporary painter and installation artist, Tsong Pu. Teacher Tsong doesn’t speak English (actually, he does have a grasp of a little English but not enough to conduct an interview), so his friend, Taiwanese artist agent Lawrence Chuang, attended the interview as translator. I was a little nervous as I’ve never conducted an interview with translator before and wasn’t sure how the interview would flow. It turns out Tsong Pu is very amiable.

Tsong Pu, 'One Comes from Emptiness' 2009. Image courtesy of the artist.

Tsong Pu, 'One Comes from Emptiness' 2009. Image courtesy of the artist.

Tsong Pu has an incredibly engaging presence – the rhythm of his speech is enrapturing. Even though he was speaking Chinese and I couldn’t understand a word of it, I couldn’t help but listen intently to what he was saying. It made me desperately wish I could speak his language. I was lucky enough to conduct the interview in his studio in the Da’an district of Taipei City (he has two studios; the other is in the mountains on the edges of the city) where I could view some of his newest paintings as well as early pieces and installation models. Interviewing artists in their place of work is invaluable – you immediately have a better understanding of their process.

Unfortunately, I ran out of time to get to his current exhibition, on at TFAM, and was also unable to visit the Taipei gallery Tsong Pu founded with others 20 years ago, IT Park. I hope to get up to Taipei in the near future to make these visits.

I came away from the interview feeling genuinely privileged to have spoken with such an influential Taiwanese artist. I could have talked with him for hours more, there is just so much to explore in his thirty-odd year career that one and a half hours just didn’t do it justice. Well, there was an offer of drinking, dinner and crashing at his studio for the night, so there’s always next time.

Keep an eye on Art Radar Asia for my interview and Soundslide with Tsong Pu – up there in a couple of weeks.

Read more of my stories on contemporary Asian art on Art Radar Asia.

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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.

write up: waterfall, 2009 summer issue function

February 3, 2010

Eating, sleeping, making babies, or music, writing, selling, re-enacting famous battle scenes. What’s your function in life?

Function is a word normally applied to inanimate objects: a chair’s function is to provide a place for a person to sit; a cup’s function is to be a vessel from which a person can drink fluid. How does this change when we apply it to people?

I came across the 2009 Summer issue function of waterfall when shopping in Elite’s Chong Yo branch here in Taichung. You may remember the post. It was an exciting find and I was waiting till just the right time to open the magazine, a time when I could dedicate my full attention to it’s pages. And that time came this morning. Here are my thoughts…


What’s your function in life? waterfall‘s attempt to answer this intimidating question is both poignant and clumsy; some of their writers and photographers really do demonstrate an ability to capture this theme while others fall into a chasm of ramblings and cliché imagery.

The issue is divided roughly into three sections: Youth, Love and Microcosmos. A brilliant written piece by Shauba Chang really embodies the Love category for me. It’s melancholy (but not angst-ridden) tone reminded me of long lonely rainy Sundays when you’re stuck inside with too much time on your hands to think coupled with a stuffy brain.

Love of another? Or love of what you do? Or both? Is that perhaps, your function?

Many people have a day job that they don’t enjoy but do it most of the time; is that their function in life? I’d like to think it lies in the other things they do as well, the things they enjoy to do, their “hobbies”. There is a series of images on pages 126 to 129, by Tammy Mercure, that shows people in their own unique and happiest habitats. This series, for me, epitomized the theme Microcosmos, and really made me think about my own miniature world.

waterfall’s 2009 Summer issue function doesn’t exactly answer the question it poses but I don’t think it can be expected to. It does succeed in making you ponder the subject, giving you a lot of food, perhaps bacon, or maybe a burger, for thought. Even if you do have to occasionally wade through some terribly edited English-as-a-second-language writing.

I can’t seem to find when their next issue will hit the shelves and they are still advertising this, their summer edition, as their current issue. Explore their website. See what you can hunt down.

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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.