Young and Experienced Collectors Shake Up Taiwan’s Art Scene at Taipei Dangdai 2023
May 10, 2023 2:10PM
Interior view of Taipei Dangdai, 2022. Courtesy of Taipei Dangdai.
As the lunisolar calendar passes the “Lixia” solar term, the beginning of summer has officially begun in Taiwan—though the local “plum rain season” cools things down a bit. Known for its global chip manufacturing dominance, this densely populated island state is welcoming its busiest art season of the year, with six art fairs in May, and four this week alone: Taipei Dangdai Art & Ideas, RE: AND Art and Design Fair, Night Art Fair Taipei, and Fine Art Taipei.
After rescheduling to earlier in May, Taipei Dangdai returns to the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center this week for its fourth edition, with a smaller presentation than in years past. The fair will open its doors on Wednesday, Thursday the 11th, and runs until Sunday, May 14th.
Some 90 galleries from across the globe are taking part, including 30 first-time participants, and 70 with spaces in Asia Pacific. This edition also marks the first mask-free and large-scale art fair since COVID regulations were lifted in April, and borders have also been opened to visitors from Hong Kong and Macau.
Installation view of “Dasein – Born to Be Human” at Jut Art Museum, 2023. Courtesy of Jut Art Museum.
“We are thrilled to be back to full format and to once again welcome international visitors. Taipei has evolved so much in the past few years and I’m very excited we’re finally able to show it off,” said fair co-director Robin Peckham, a resident of Taipei who is also an editor and curator. “There were robust sales made to the local market during the pandemic, which highlights the extremely active collector base in Taiwan on which this fair was built.”
Taiwan is an island with a long history of art collecting in Asia. “Taipei Dangdai is built on the strength of the Taiwanese market, as Taiwan has one of the most solid collector bases in Asia,” said Peckham. Several well-known Taiwanese top collectors include Pierre Chen, whose YAGEO Foundation has an upcoming exhibition, “Capturing the Moment,” in collaboration with Tate Modern; and Maggie Tsai, who is the CEO of the nearly completed, Renzo Piano–designed Fubon Art Museum in Xinyi District—the central business district of Taipei.
Other collectors have also founded nonprofit organizations, and operate public art museums to increase local access to the arts. These include Aaron Lee, whose JUT Art Museum is currently showing a group show, “Dasein – Born to Be Human,” including works by Antony Gormley; and Jenny Yeh, whose Winsin Art Place is currently showing works by American artist Roni Horn.
Roni Horn, installation view at Winsing Art Place, 2023. Courtesy of Winsing Art Place.
Younger collectors are getting involved in the local art scene in new and exciting ways, too. “Younger collectors in particular have really begun to shake things up in the last few years,” said Peckham.
Several projects and initiatives demonstrate how the younger generation is pushing the boundaries of traditional art spaces and exploring new ways of curating and presenting art. Chen Projects, founded by the daughters of Pierre Chen, takes a more active role in presenting art through pop-up exhibitions. Meanwhile, museums such as ALIEN art center in Kaohsiung, and stores such as Lightwell in Taipei, are also exploring new formats for art spaces, blending retail and gallery spaces to create a unique experience for younger visitors. Lightwell’s latest exhibition is curated by veteran auction professional Phillys Kao and aims at promoting the appreciation of art.
It’s an exciting time for the art world in Taiwan, as younger generations continue to innovate and bring fresh perspectives to the scene. In recognition of this growth, Taipei Dangdai will also host its first Young Patron Assembly this year. According to Peckham, this will be an international platform connecting a new generation of young patrons and collectors around the region, presenting opportunities for engagement, development, and sharing among like-minded individuals.
Highlights from Taipei Dangdai 2023
Interior view of Taipei Dangdai, 2022. Courtesy of Taipei Dangdai.
There are four sections in this year’s edition of Taipei Dangdai. Alongside the main Galleries section, Edge focuses on solo presentations of emerging art; Engage hosts thoughtfully curated shows with a historical bent; and Node returns to host public art installations, including a new site-specific installation by paper distributor Fenko Catalysis Chamber.
The fair will also hold an Ideas Forum with the theme “The Extraterritorial,” which will assemble a group of prominent curators and researchers to share their work from the cutting edge of art today, touching on issues of regional and cultural belonging. “The Taiwanese art scene is deeply intellectual,” said Pekham. “Taipei is a place where people can come and have real, substantive conversations outside of the market proper.”
Lehmann Maupin, which presented a seasonal Taipei pop-up in 2021, returns to Taipei Dangdai for the third time, showcasing new paintings, sculptures, photographs, and installations. The gallery will bring a new work by Lari Pittman alongside a historical work by the artist.
Shasha Tittmann, director of Lehmann Maupin, emphasized the virtue of returning to a face-to-face fair: “The complexity and craftsmanship of [Pittman’s] paintings can only truly be appreciated in person,” she told Artsy. “Fairs play an integral role in connecting local collectors with the larger international art scene. Many galleries and artists have not been able to show work in real life here for years because of the pandemic.” The gallery will also present a special installation by Erwin Wurm, who had a major solo at Taipei Fine Arts Museum in 2020. Prices for Wurm’s and Pittman’s works range from $70,000–$175,000.
Wei Jia, Three Youngsters, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Michael Ku Gallery.
Also in the Galleries sector, local gallerist Michael Ku will show a booth of strong expressions across paintings and sculptures, including by Taiwanese artists Yi-Hong Jian, Luo Jr-shin, Kuo Yuping, and Chinese artists Wu Junyong and Wei Jia, with prices ranging from $2,000–$120,000. “Taipei Dangdai offers an opportunity for young artists who can exhibit in the same fairground with established international artists,” said Ku, who has exhibited at the fair since its inception. “This is such a great encouragement for local artists.”
The Engage section—new for 2023—recognizes Taipei’s extraordinary cross-disciplinary talent and offers a unique opportunity to focus on solo or dual presentations by historically significant artists and thematic presentations. Having recently opened its second gallery space in New York, the Taipei-based Nunu Fine Art will present works by American artist Petah Coyne. “We are honored and confident to showcase four large hanging sculptures in this exhibition, and believe that a solo booth in Taipei Dangdai is the most effective way to highlight and pay tribute to Petah’s artwork,” said Nunu Hung, the gallery’s founder.
Peckham noted that the fair is situated in the richer context of its local art scene, which makes it such a unique destination on the art world circuit. “Taipei Dangdai continues its mission to present a survey of Asia’s diverse and rich contemporary art scene, whilst showcasing global talent in Taipei.”