-- Journeys of self and society at the end of martial law --
As Taiwanese society was coming to terms with a new political reality in the 1970s and 1980s, many artists and intellectuals addressed issues of locality, history and cultural identity. Despite the pressure on civil society, Taiwan’s visual culture flourished, with photography playing a key role as a visual medium that intersected many creative practices and platforms. Pioneering photographers produced groundbreaking works across these decades, from experimental art to photojournalism and much in between.
The exhibition adopts the concept of ‘wayfaring’ from the phrase ‘找路’, used by the seminal figure Chang Chao-Tang 張照堂 to discuss his work in these decades. Here, the term lyrically evokes both the actual journeys that artists undertook, searching for the real-life experiences and sentiments of their subjects, as well as their personal, introspective searches for a way forward, a new path, through creative experimentation with the photographic medium.
Drawn from the collection of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, with some additional works loaned directy from the artists, this broad selection of photographs reflects the diversity and shifting experiences of Taiwanese society and culture at this pivotal time. Wayfaring features 35 still images by 12 artists, including Chang Chao-Tang 張照堂, Chien Yun-Ping 簡永彬, Chuang Ling 莊靈, Ho Ching-Tai 何經泰, Hou Tsung-Hui 侯聰慧, Hsieh Chun-Te 謝春德, Hsieh San-Tai 謝三泰, Juan I-Jong 阮忠義, Kao Chung-Li 高重黎, Lien Hui-Ling 連慧玲, Wang Hsin 王信, Yeh Ching-Fang 葉清芳.
Shuxia Chen is an art historian and curator of Asian art. Her research focuses on modern and contemporary Chinese photography and artistic collaboration. Shuxia's research has been published in books, peer-reviewed journals, exhibition catalogues and art magazines. Shuxia is working on two book projects: A Home for Photography Learning: the Friday Salon, 1977-1980 (Shanghai, 2021), and Chinese Toggles: Culture in Miniature (Sydney, 2023). She is currently a curator at the University of Sydney Chau Chak Wing Museum, as well as a sessional lecturer at UNSW Art and Design and the National Art School.
Olivier Krischer is a historian of Asian art and visual culture interested in the creative navigation of social, political and environmental transformation. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University and an Honorary Associate at the University of Sydney, where he convenes the Sydney Asian Art Series. From 2018-2020, he was Deputy and Acting Director of the University of Sydney China Studies Centre, and in 2017 was a Visiting Fellow in the Institute for Modern History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan.
The Australian Centre on China in the World acknowledges the generous loan of works from the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Republic of China (Taiwan) and participating artists, as well as the support of the Ministry of Education, Republic of China (Taiwan) under the auspices of the ANU Taiwan Studies Program. We also acknowledge Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture for their support in the research development of Wayfaring.