The Taiwan Biennial ”Subzoology” exhibition opened at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts in Taichung on October 17th, 2020.

The theme of the exhibition is based on the animal lives seen along the Six Paths of Buddhism.

Throughout the display, the works reflect on the long-term human plundering of natural creatures and then let us rethink ways of getting along with the world.

This exhibition explores the relationship between humans and animals and the animal nature of humans within seven themes, including “The First Genre: Sacrifice and Salvation”, ”The Second Genre: The Sub-history of (the) Wildlife Trade”, The Third Genre: Portrait of Unknown Hero”, ”The Fourth Genre: Laboratory/Operating Room/Specimen Room”, ”The Fifth Genre: Festivals/Sandbanks/Green Coverage Ratio”, ”The Sixth Genre: Beast “Mimic/Tortured Beastnoid” and ”The Seventh Genre: Habitat/Zoo/National Park”.

In addition to these themes, the scale of the exhibition has also been expanded to include satellite exhibitions and parallel exhibitions planned in Taipei, Tainan and Kaohsiung, along with a number of thematic lectures and multimedia performances to allow the public to participate in diverse ways.

The exhibition area of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts in Taiwan’s second city is primarily located on the first and second floors.

The works are very diverse.

In addition to the flat paintings, there are also many composite media, multimedia, and other items to take in.

As soon as you walk into the museum, you will see huge whales and fishing boats opening the exhibition feast.

This work was created by Chen Sheng-Wen, and combines discarded fishing nets and natural-colored wool woven into a huge whale. 

The combination of different materials seems to coexist peacefully, but it shows traces of damage.

However, the creatures tolerate the damage and try to co-exist with it.

As the first work developed, it seems to have encapsulated the core purpose of the exhibition.

In addition to the exhibition rooms on the first floor, there are also huge works in the corridors, such as Lai Chiu-Chen’s ‘The Last Judgment under the Rainbow’, which presents the association of heaven and hell in a popular style.

At the end of the exhibition area on the first floor is a multimedia and installation display area, each of which is also very interesting.

This work was created by Hsiao Sheng-Chien and is displayed both visually and audibly.

The work uses red lights to reflect the hanging installations.

The installations emit the sounds of birds singing and mechanical turning sounds along with lights to create the strange feeling given off by this work.

The work put into form by Sheryl Cheung sees plants displayed in an exhibition room bathed in contrasting blue and red lights.

Upon closer inspection, I found that the silhouettes of the plants under the lighting of the lights present a beautiful posture on the wall.

The contrasting colors present a deeper visual impact, which offers up an endless aftertaste.

The end of the exhibition on the second floor ends with Chen Sheng-Wen’s art. This series of works combines exquisite embroidery with discarded plastic discs.

Looking at the traditional patterned plastic discs selected for this work and the combination of discarded materials used in the creation, extracting the dragon and phoenix parts to create mirror-like works, there is a kind of contrast to this concept – in similar form to a fallen emperor bedecked in exquisite clothes. 

After seeing the main exhibition area, don’t forget that there are satellite exhibitions and other activities to enjoy!

For more information, please click on the official website link below for full details.

[Subzoology: 2020 Taiwan Biennial ]

Dates: 2020/10/17 – 2021/02/28

Venue: National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts in Taichung -101-108, 202 Gallery, Lobby, Gallery Street, Museum Outdoor Area, spaces in “satellite event” and “collateral events”

Curator: YAO Jui-Chung

Official website: here

all images supplied by the author

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