Visualisation and Globalisation in the Asia-Pacific Region: The Taipei Biennial 1996-2008

By Ming Turner.

Published by The Arts Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Whilst globalisation, urbanisation and explosive expansion of urban spaces are the most dynamic and challenging issues in the Asia-Pacific region today, modernisation and cultural re-interpretation are also taking place at a rapid speed. Asia-Pacific metropolises, combining most of their nations’ population and resources, are at the centre of its globalisation process and intend to create their own characters whilst information and fashion have been moving between territories. Taipei, being the capital of Taiwan, has been the spotlight of the Taiwanese government’s policy and social resources distribution. The Taipei Biennial is organised under this kind of ideology, to seek a Taiwanese identity in terms of history, nation, politics and culture in the spheres of globalisation, westernisation, industrialisation and postcoloniality. The Taipei Biennial (commencing in 1998) has thus become an agent for embodying the government’s strategy for confronting globalisation and the changing world situation.

In this paper, I will explore the previous Taipei Biennials held between 1998 and 2008. I argue that with rapid social change and the surge in economic growth, the Taiwanese people should endeavour to reposition those aspects of their ethnic and cultural inheritance which are authentic and local, to avoid being culturally colonised by the trends of globalisation and westernisation. By comparing the shift in themes across these six biennials, I will examine the re-consideration and visualisation of the hybridised and transformed culture of present-day Taiwanese society. Finally, through analysing different curatorial themes of the exhibitions and some selected artists’ works, I aim to demonstrate that the perspectives of contemporary Taiwanese art have shifted from seeking Taiwan’s political identity to juxtaposing itself with its competitors in the international art scene, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.

Keywords: Taipei Biennial, Identity Issues, Globalisation, Westernisation, Postcoloniality

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.291-302. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.524MB).

Dr. Ming Turner

Lecturer, De Montfort University, UK

Dr. Ming Turner received her PhD in Art History and Theory at Loughborough University in Britain in 2008. Her doctoral project (funded by an ORS Award from the British Government) investigates contemporary Taiwanese women’s art with specific focuses on postcolonial and feminist theories. In 2005, she co-edited an art historians’ careers guide published by the Association of Art Historians (AAH) in London. Her research has been published internationally, including the newsletter of The International Institute for Asian Studies (2006) and the Inferno: Art History (2007), published by the University of St Andrews. She has delivered a dozen of research papers to international conferences regarding her research, and She currently lectures at De Montfort University in Leicester in the UK.

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