Artists’ web talk session with General director KITAGAWA Fram vol.7 ‘Possibilities of public spaces’
In this session we have invited Chuang Chih-Wei, an artist from Taiwan.
Mr. Chuang was planning to make two artworks. One of them would be at the information center at the east exit of Goi Station, which would be the entrance of Ichihara Art Mix. The other one would be at Yoro Keikoku Station, which would be the end of the art festival’s area, and the audience could write down their memories on this artwork.
Taiwan has been reported that a lot of measures in response to COVID-19 were taken smoothly. We asked the artist about the actual situation and how he spent his time during this time.
Chuang Chih-Wei, General Director KITAGAWA Fram
Director Fram Kitagawa (hereafter Director):
Mr. Chuang, where have you been staying? How is everything going?
Chuang Chih-Wei (hereafter Chuang):
I am in my studio in Taipei.
Actually, Taiwan has been affected by COVID-19 earlier this year, since around February. A lot of places had been closed from February to May, and basically, we had to wear masks when going outside.
I had this plan to make an artwork, collaborating with performance art. However, it has been forbidden to hold events with more than 20 people gathering, so the project was canceled. All my works have stopped, so do the exhibitions. I didn’t know what I should do.
The city has been closed, but we haven’t been affected so seriously by the virus itself. We could have meals with a small number of friends.
In this situation, I have noticed that before, I was deeply concentrating on my work in the studio and didn’t have much time accompanying my family and friends. From February to May, I had a lot of time to see my friends and stay with my family.
Recently, Taiwan’s measures to the pandemic have slowed down, and people can move freely now. Actually yesterday, I went to Yunlin County in the south of Taiwan, and watched the solar eclipse. I have visited many places abroad before, such as Japan and Bangkok, but because of this situation I could visit different places in Taiwan. It offered me a chance to learn more about the beauty of Taiwan.
I have heard that Taiwan has become a successful model in the fight against COVID-19, but I didn’t know you had been like this. Thank you for sharing such a precious experience.
There are no penalties in Japan, but we have to self-restrain from moving to other prefectures, holding events, having dinner with large groups since March. Now it is slowing down little by little.
In addition, we had rules to wear masks when taking the subway and to maintain a social distance of 1.5 meters in public space.
It is becoming possible to gather with a small number of people but the economy is getting worse, including the art and design industries. It has been affected seriously.
I am participating in the residency program of the National Taichung Theater, and I had been working on this program since the beginning of this year.
I didn’t decide what kind of development it would be. However, I started with my views on the building of opera house, as I was originally from the field of architecture and being attracted by the buildings designed by Toyo Ito.
I wanted to take a different approach to the opera house, which is a public building with the function of "watching operas". I am thinking about a mechanism that brings the audience to places that are not normally open to the public.
The idea is influenced by my interest in human relationships during this coronavirus pandemic. By drawing pictures and taking records, I want to explore a lot of possibilities that might be hidden in the opera house.
I am also thinking about exhibiting those pictures and records.
That sounds interesting.
The title of the exhibition is “taking a walk together”. I think, maybe it is impossible for an artist to change something by his/herself, but by walking through the space together, we can break those rules that used to belong to the space.
I have got many different ideas from a lot of people, and it changed the minds of those who run the theater. I think this may expand the possibility of performance there.
What about other projects? Are they going well?
I am working on the project which will be held at Taipei Pop Music Center in September. I was commissioned one year ago and this is my first time working as a curator.
I am a visual artist, but I am thinking about public art projects that combine various genres.
Speaking of Taiwan's conventional public art, it is to install a large sculpture somewhere, but I want to make a new definition of its publicity. I am preparing various projects, such as workshops, installations, concerts, etc.
The title is “longing is a song”. Such feelings are common to everyone. Places, people, and things that people miss can be turned into songs. This is the concept.
The workshop will start around July or August and I will write the lyrics. With pop musicians, I am going to talk about the things we miss at the workshop, and write the lyrics on the glass just like how we did in Ichihara, and then make an exhibition on it.
It will be held after pop singer Suming’s concert in September.
That’s an interesting attempt too!
Mr.Chuang also held a workshop at Ichihara Art Mix, making artworks with local people.
How did you feel about that? If you have any expectations for March 2021, please let us know.
Many people gathered at the workshop in Ichihara, which had an impact on my later artworks. I began to care about the relationship between people.
I heard that the place where my works will be shown may change next year. I am looking forward to the new sites. I am also very excited to show my artworks.
It would be great if we could organize something else at Art×Mix next year.
Thank you. I hope I can visit Japan soon and explore Japan more.
I am looking forward to meeting you soon.
Artists’ web talk session with General director KITAGAWA Fram
vol.1 ‘Hope artists have in the midst of the coronavirus disease outbreak’
vol.2 ‘Communication between two distant places’
vol.3 ‘Beyond borders’
vol.4 ‘Small changes in the daily life of the artist’
vol.5 ‘Time difference of 12 hours’
vol.6 ’Online Photo Session?'