4 artists who mirror the contemporary art scene in Taiwan today

Wu Tien-Chang, Chin Chih Yang, Kuo-Chun Chiu and Lee Kuei-Chih mirror the flourishingly contemporary art scene in Taiwan today. Modern Taiwanese artists have spread out in an astonishing variety of creative directions, emphasizing into such fields as art video, sculpture, multimedia installations as well as design.  Diversity characterizes the multicultural scene of Taiwan which has undergone great influences from other Asian countries and mainly from China. Nowadays, the contemporary artists in Taipei engage with a multifarious number of themes such as minority discourse, human rights, freedom of expression, environmental awareness as well as current political issues. Therefore, their artistic achievements capture the world’s attention and gain further admiration in this island’s art scene.

Wu Tien-Chang (b.1956) is one prolific artist whose international impact has been established thanks to his oil painting and photography while making socio-political critique through his work. His aesthetic production as an artist spans over three decades; he became famous as an oil painter, but he turned up being a mix media and photography artist. Four Eras (1990), A Dream of Spring Night (1994), Show the Mutual Concern of the People in the Same Boat (2002), Luan (2010) or Beloved (2013) are some remarkable art pieces of his career. Furthermore, his recent artworks are based on digital art while some new art installations integrate videos. His latest art project, entitled Never Say Goodbye including three video installations, is currently representing the Taiwanese Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale. As Wu Tien-Chang noted, he hopes “to create a powerful visual impact with Taiwan’s highly recognizable unique visual aesthetics and universal human spirit to break barriers between ethnicities and countries”.

Wu Tien Chang, Never Say Goodbye, video installation,2015, source:u-in-u
Wu Tien Chang, Never Say Goodbye, image source:tfam.museum

Chin Chih Yang is a multidisciplinary artist who mostly lives and works in New York. His work has been exhibited in a broad range of museums and other institutions around the globe such as the United Nations, the Taipei Art Fair, the Union Square Park, the Chelsea Museum and Queens Museum based in New York.  Kill me or Change(2012) is one of this latest large-scale art project in which he buried 30,000 aluminum cans inviting the audience to explore the side effects of the over-consumption today. Yang seems to invest on interactive installations where he can gain a greater people’s engagement with his art. Yang is also an artist who strives to collaborate variable art practices such as performances, video installations and even his body to enhance his project’s impact. Remarkably, The Control of Fear (2005-) is an art project in progress in which his performance is about how ordinary people cope with chaotic situations in everyday life as an attempt to examine people’s capability to communicate with the environment.


Chin Chih Yang, Kill me or Die project, image source:lmmc.netChin Chih Yang, Queens Musiem, NYC 11/9/13

On the other hand, photography as a media form conceivably dominates the modern Taiwanese art; Kuo-Chun Chiu is one of the most recognisable mixed media Taiwanese artists. His academic, as well as artistic record, is rich and among others he completed an MFA at New Paltz in New York and currently is an associate professor at the College of Creative Media, Kun Shan University in Taiwan. Last year, he received the Kaohsiung Culture and Arts Award from the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts which highlighted Chiu as an outstanding Taiwanese artist. Taken the Taiwanese religious celebrations as his main inspiration for this competition, he surprisingly mixed digital photography with embroidery indicating a purely innovative way to create art.

Kuo-Chun Chiu, Land of Deities,no.1, 2012, image source:artnet.com
Kuo-Chun Chiu, Land of Deities,no.4, 2013, image source: artnet.com

Another important artist is Lee Kuei-Chih, who is well known for his outdoor installations. His art projects are mainly mixed media sculptures in open spaces where he incites a diverse range of artistic mediums. Lately, he was an artist in residence in Japan at the Shinano Primitive Sense Art Festival constructing Water Aura, an eco-friendly outdoor sculpture installation which embraces natural sources- water and wind- as active agents for this project. In September 2015, he will join the Guandu International Outdoor Sculpture Festival in Taipei.

Lee Kuei-Chih, Ripples, image source:mask9.com
Lee Kuei-Chih, Ripples

For the future, Taiwan’s artists will be transformed more international in perspective, while establishing new standards in regards to the contemporary scene and exploring novel, creative styles and art themes. At this level of the Taiwanese contemporary art, I would argue, that it can be a challenging opportunity for Taiwanese modern artists to dismiss the western influence on their cultural production broadly while emphasizing even more on their native cultural roots.

This text was written by Yannis Kostarias and firstly published at:

Why These 4 Taiwanese Contemporary Artists Should Sprout Globally


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