Promoting Creativity

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The first LGBTQ exhibition in an art museum in Asia will debut at MOCA Taipei

(Hong Kong, 20 June 2017) Co-hosted by Sunpride Foundation and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei (MOCA), “Spectrosynthesis - Asian LGBTQ Issues and Art Now” (Spectrosynthesis) will be held at MOCA from 9 September to 5 November 2017. This groundbreaking show will be the first exhibition dedicated to LGBTQ themes to go on show at an art museum in Asia. Around 50 works created by 22 artists from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mainland China, Singapore, and also ethnic Chinese artists based in the United States and Canada will be presented. Works by a diverse range of modern and contemporary artists will be featured including, HO Chun Ming (b.1963, Taiwan), Jimmy ONG (b.1964, Singapore), SHIY De Jinn (1923-1981, Taiwan), Wu TSANG (b.1982, USA), TSENG Kwong Chi (1950-1990, Hong Kong), WANG Jun Jieh (b.1963, Taiwan), WANG Liang Yin (b.1979, Taiwan), Martin WONG (1946-1999, USA), Xiyadie (b.1963, Mainland China), YAN Xing (b.1986, Mainland China), Samson YOUNG (b.1979, Hong Kong), and more. Celebrated Singaporean artist Ming WONG (b. 1971) and Taiwanese artist YU Cheng-ta (b. 1983) will co-present a live performance during the opening on 8 September 2017 and a video documenting the performance will be shown later in the exhibition.

Titled “Spectrosynthesis”, which combines two words “spectrum” and “photosynthesis” and explores “spectrum of light” as a central theme, the exhibition will shine a light on the LGBTQ community’s rich and diverse history. The rainbow, as seen in a spectrum, is a symbol of the LGBTQ community, representing its diversification. Light is a fundamental source of energy for life on Earth, nurturing all living species fairly and equally, and offering them life, hope and a future. Such qualities are synonymous with the principle purpose of the exhibition’s co-organizer Sunpride Foundation, which supports artistic practice and promotes equal rights for LGBTQ individuals through meticulous research and discourse on contemporary art.

As the very first thematic exhibition on LGBTQ issues at a government-run art museum in a Chinese society, “Spectrosynthesis” features works of art that span nearly half a century of creation. Brought together under the vision of independent curator Sean HU from Taiwan, the exhibition presents a slice of art history particularly looking at the life stories and related issues of the post-war Chinese LGBTQ community. The exhibits touch upon a profusion of subject matters such as identity, equality, mass media’s propensity to hunt for novelty, social oppression, stigmatization, lust, as well as life and death. The works focus not only on the real predicaments that LGBTQ people may be caught in on a daily basis, but also provide a comment on the evolving social structure which is very likely to change in the foreseeable future.

Some of the highlight works in the show will include “Muted Situation #5: Muted Chorus”, presented by Hong Kong sound artist Samson YOUNG. This single-channel HD video work will present a stage performance of the entirety of a choral composition without projecting the musical notes, suppressing the conscious sound-producing constituent of the performance. As a result other sounds will be revealed, such as the inhale of the singers, the sound that their bodies produce, and the rattling of the music scores. A similar work of Samson YOUNG is currently on view at the Venice Biennale, co-presented by M+ and Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC), representing Hong Kong. Taiwanese artist HO Chun-ming will present a selection of 13 sets of paintings (2 drawings per set) from his series “Man Hole”, resulted from a series of interviews he has been conducting since 2014. During the interviews, he invites the participants to draw on white background paper, telling their own stories, and the artist then draws his response to them on black background paper. The “Man Hole” series represents and reveals people’s memories, desires, secrets, losses and explorations. In addition, four pieces of works will be newly created for the show by Ming WONG, CHUANG Chih-Wei, CHEN Chien-Pei and Jun-Jieh WANG.

The exhibition builds on from similar thematic exhibitions that are beginning to become more commonplace in the West. In 2017, Tate Modern and Tate Britain, two prestigious British museums, both organized large-scale thematic exhibitions of several LGBTQ artists to honour and highlight their artistic achievements without discrimination due to their sexual orientation, well-reflecting the British society’s long-term efforts and accomplishments in promoting human rights. However, such exhibitions and research projects have been conspicuously absent from the Chinese art scene, and this is the first presentation of an exhibition of this kind in a government-run museum in Asia. Taiwan is widely recognized as the most progressive and supportive centre of LBGTQ rights in the region and is highly likely to become the first Asian territory to legalize same-sex marriage. Spectrosynthesis” is therefore a timely presentation of LGBTQ art at MOCA Taipei and provides not only a parallel movement in response to the concurrent European counterparts, but also marks a historical event in itself with paramount social significance in Asia.