Art Taipei, Asia’s oldest art fair, returns this week for its 23rd edition. The fair, which opens to the public this Saturday at the Taipei World Trade Center, welcomes 150 domestic and international galleries, showcasing more than 3,000 works of classical and contemporary art from both the East and the West. Below, we highlight eight works to collect at the fair, from an abstract landscape by Hanoi-based artist Ha Manh Thang to a photograph by Taiwanese conceptual artist Chen Chieh-Jen.
In his colorful yet sparse landscapes, Taiwanese artist Chih-Hung Kuo fuses Western oil-painting techniques with the aesthetics of Chinese literati ink painting. Here, broad areas of negative space, as well as the vertical format and plunging perspective, recall ancient ink scroll paintings, while the brushwork and vivid color contrasts fall under the modernist landscape tradition. As alluded to in the work’s title, the viewer might imagine standing at the foot of these mountains in solitude, immersed in the sublime of nature.
Chen Chieh-Jen, Realm of Reverberations: The Ritual of Film Screening, 2015
In the 1980s, Che Chieh-Jen staged underground exhibitions, public interventions, and guerrilla performances to protest Taiwan’s martial law as well as its conservative art scene. Shifting his focus to video work in 2002, the Taipei-based conceptual artist has since gained international acclaim for his near-silent works focusing on the lives and histories of marginalized individuals and communities in Taiwan and elsewhere. “One of my methods of resistance is to view each film I make as an act of connection, linking together the history of people who have been excluded from the dominant discourse, the real-life situations of areas that are being ignored, and ‘others’ who are being isolated,” he has said. This recent black-and-white photograph depicts a film screening against a vast urban backdrop, one nearly empty of human activity—perhaps a reflection on the troubling forgetfulness, or negligence, of a fast-moving consumer society.
Ha Manh Thang’s seemingly abstract, painterly canvases are actually obscured views of nature and urban life, as in his series of iconic buildings across Vietnam. Beginning with an impasto foundation in pastel colors, the Vietnamese artist reduces these structures to their most essential forms, resulting in ambiguous scenes that reflect the waning significance of tradition in modern times. In his latest series, “The Lake” (2015–present), he investigates the significance of water—which is often located at the foot of a pagoda or temple—in Feng-Shui philosophy.
Brigitta Rossetti, Seven days of thanks living, 2015
Italian artist and poet Brigitta Rossetti finds inspiration in the Piacenza countryside, where she was born and continues to live and work. In her studio, converted from an old barn, “the rhythms of time are marked by nature, and my eyes and my sensibility are fed by the vibrant energy of the trees, the delicacy of flowers, open skies and azure, white wings of butterflies and the subtle textures of spiders,” as she has lyrically expressed. Rossetti’s floral canvases, often rendered in a subdued palette and layered with sheet music or pages from an old book, reflect her wistful attitude toward nature amid the clatter and commotion of modern urbanization. Here, a row of seven old bakery shovels, scattered with various personal items, alludes to a week of “thanks living”—a representation of simpler times and what she calls the “natural poetry of being.”
Makoto Fujimura, Walking on Water- Azurite II, 2016
and trained in the Nihonga (or “Japanese-style”) tradition, Japanese-American artist Makoto Fujimura incorporates gold flakes, stone-ground minerals, Kumohada paper, and ancient ink in his awe-inspiring paintings and works on paper. In a solo booth at Art Taipei, Fujimura presents his latest iteration from the “Walking on Water” series (2012–present), an elegy to the victims of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, powerfully evoked here in this large-scale blue-and-white canvas.
Sourced from his travels around the world, Lee Han-Ching’s collection of memorabilia includes a plaster bust of a doctor picked up in a Venetian marketplace and toy soldiers found in a Japanese antique shop. The Taipei-born artist breathes new life into these forgotten objects by depicting them individually as subjects in his large-scale paintings. In Gaze-01, from his most recent series, a nearly photorealistic ornate gold mirror eerily lacks a reflection, revealing sheer darkness in place of the artist or viewer.
“I define myself as an UFA, an Unidentified Free Artist,” writes Invader on his website. “I chose Invader as my pseudonym and I always appear behind a mask.” Beginning in 1998, the anonymous French artist has covertly covered the streets of Paris—and now cities across the globe—with his signature mosaic Space Invaders, which he considers the “perfect icons” of our digital-obsessed era. This glowing version sees the character protruding from a pixelated LED screen, as if emerging from a vintage video game.
in New York. Nevertheless, Hsiao continued to incorporate aspects of his native artistic culture, most notably calligraphy, as evidenced by the broad strokes and splatterings of black acrylic paint in this early work.