Yuan Goang-Ming to Represent Taiwan at the 60th Venice Biennale With “Everyday War”

The Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM), artist Yuan Goang-Ming, and curator Abby Chen are pleased to announce Everyday War, the exhibition representing Taiwan at the 60th Venice Biennale in 2024. Yuan will use video art to create a space with an “everyday” domestic feel, contemplating the present-day realities of life and the hidden threats that underlie “the difficulty of dwelling poetically.”

Everyday War is expected to include five video artworks and a kinetic installation, of which two are new and four were previously released by the artist. The exhibition expands on Yuan’s signature audio-visual vocabulary, exploring themes such as home, dwelling, and an uncanny tomorrow as seen in “Dwelling” (2014), “Tomorrowland” (2018), and “Everyday Manuever” (2018). Employing a prosaic view with an air of warning, intended to magnify a sense of unanticipated crises, these works project anxieties about the current political and social environment. There is a state of eerie suspense due to escalating geopolitical tensions surrounding the Pacific island chain, across the straits, and around the world.

This solo exhibition will try to metaphorically explore the hidden fears of and threats to Taiwan in its current state of existence, and by asking questions about the future, it will re-examine the realities of the present, considering “war as part of normal life” and “war becoming the new normal”.

Yuan Goang-Ming

Yuan’s new piece, “Everyday War”, from which the exhibition takes its title, is a single-channel video work featuring before-and-after scans of domestic space. Glass shatters loudly as warplanes fly in one after another, destroying the objects in the room. Eventually, all the aircraft annihilate one another, leaving the entire house in ruins in the aftermath of battle. The camera pans back and forth in a straight, steady line, gradually bathing the entire interior in lights and shadows. The collapsed home slowly returns to its original, unscathed appearance, announcing a surreal prophecy with profound tension.

Yuan Goang-Ming’s observations and portrayals of Taiwan’s state of affairs aim to emphasize that contemporary warfare has evolved from the actual firing of artillery to subtle, invisible expressions: “War as part of normal life,” post-capitalist unequal distribution, contagion, cyber attacks, and the oppression of various religious and ethnic groups. War has become the “new normal” within the dwelling.

The intertwining multitudes of home encompass host and guest, private and public spheres, physical and virtual realms, the imagined and lived experiences. It reflects an artist’s competing reality of living in Taiwan, where fear coexists with courage. In an era of great uncertainty and division, Yuan’s declaration of one’s own vulnerability is the very fortitude and truth that transforms into empathy and shared connectedness.

The universal human condition of conflict perpetuates, so does the persistent search for the poetic essence. It is never settled in any dwelling. It lies in the moments of bravery, by those pursuing and acting.

Abby Chen, curator

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