Video Artist to Represent Taiwan in the Upcoming Venice Biennale
By Cheryl Kwan
The Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM), organizer of the Taiwan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, has selected pioneering video artist Yuan Goang-ming and curator Abby Chen to represent the country in the 60th edition of the international art festival, scheduled to run from April 20 to November 24, 2024.
For the Taiwan Pavilion, the artist-curator duo plans to focus on themes such as “map politics,” “war in the everyday,” and “the everyday in war.” Yuan and Chen have previously collaborated during the group exhibition “After Hope: Videos of Resistance” (2020–21) at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. Speaking of the Pavilion, Chen states that the pair “will work together to discuss time as the habitat of flux, and constancy as a form of resistance.”
Born and raised in Taipei, Yuan Goang-ming started creating video art in 1984 and obtained a master’s degree in media art from the Academy of Design in Karlsruhe after receiving a DAAD scholarship in 1993. Known as a prominent new media artist in 1990s Taiwan, Yuan developed his poetics and narratives through his extensive oeuvre of works, ranging from videos to multimedia installations. Through his art, he explores modern-day existence and the Taiwanese consciousness in an era of change. Yuan has also participated in numerous exhibitions, including most recently at the MAM Digital, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2021); Short Waves Festival, Poznan (2020); Aichi Triennale (2019); and Bangkok Art Biennale (2018). In 2003, Yuan also participated in the exhibition of the Taiwan Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale. Currently, Yuan works as a professor of new media art at the Taipei National University of the Arts.
Abby Chen, who is currently the head of contemporary art and senior curator at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, has been dedicated to introducing and highlighting the practices of Asian artists throughout her career. Based in the United States, Chen previously worked as the artistic director of the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco from 2006 to 2018 and has led many projects including the Xian Rui/Fresharp Artist Excellence Series, a program which celebrates mid-career Chinese-American artists.
The upcoming Venice Biennale, titled “Foreigners Everywhere,” pays tribute to the Turin collective of the same name who confronted racism and xenophobia in Italy in the early 2000s. According to Adriano Pedrosa, curator of the Biennale, the title hints at how deep inside, everyone is intrinsically a foreigner. The Biennale aims to celebrate “the foreign, the distant, the outsider, the queer, as well as the indigenous” and will focus on artists from diverse backgrounds.