Wayfaring: Photography in 1970s–80s Taiwan

Wayfaring: Photography in 1970s–80s Taiwan


Curated by Dr Shuxia Chen and Dr Olivier Krischer

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Opening Hours

9am-5pm, Monday-Friday
10:30am-3:30pm, 31 July, 28 August, and 25 September (refer to Public Program for guided tours)

-- 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 directly 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 阮義忠, Kao Chung-Li 高重黎, Lien Hui-Ling 連慧玲, Wang Hsin 王信, Yeh Ching-Fang 葉清芳.

Wayfaring builds on the 2015 exhibition Between – Picturing 1950-1960s Taiwan 間:臺灣五六十年代面影 , featuring over 40 photographs, prints and paintings curated from the collection of the National Museum of History, Taipei.

隨著臺灣社會在1970年代和1980年代逐漸適應新的政治現實,許多藝術家和學人重新審視關於臺彎在地性,歷史和文化認同等問題。《找路:1970-80年代的臺灣攝影》展覽從國立台灣美術館和藝術家私人典藏中精選出三十五件攝影及影像作品(從新聞攝影到實驗藝術),反映這兩個世代閒臺灣日常生活和文化經驗的轉變。臺灣先驅攝影家張照堂先生曾以「找路」兩字回顧自己的藝術生涯,《找路》展覽主題靈感即來源於此。「找路」意味著攝影家為捕捉人生冷暖與情感變遷而踏遍山河的旅程,以及通過攝影媒介上的創意和實驗,孜孜追尋新的前行之路。《找路》展為CIW 於2015年和國立歷史博物館合作的《間——臺灣五六十年代面影》展覽之續篇,再次以視覺藝術作品來探討和彰顯台彎現代社會和文化的變遷。

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.


Alt text

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.

Image credit

Yeh Ching-Fang, Towards the End of Martial Law Series, 1982. © National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan.


Film Screening: Detention 返校

103 mins, 2019 (M)
Directed by John Hsu 徐漢強


[Online] Rethinking Modernist and Realist Photography in 1970s Taiwan

This talk attempts to re-examine modernist as well as realist photography in Taiwan in the 1970s, two major photographic practices during the later period of Taiwan’s martial law era.


Photography publications of the 1970s-80s: Australia and East Asia compared

This panel takes the form of a comparative discussion about photography publications during the 1970s-80s in Australia, Taiwan, and across East Asia. What can we learn about the similar and distinct creative and social currents that fostered the printed image? contributed to the ways in which photographic art circulated in the form of photography magazines and photo books?


POSTPONED: Guided tour — Wayfaring: Photography in 1970s–80s Taiwan exhibition

This guided tour has been POSTPONED due to the extension of the lockdown in Canberra. CIW hopes to rearrange this event once lockdown restrictions have eased. Please keep an eye on CIW social media for further updates.

Yao Jui-Chung, Museum of History, Beijing from ‘Recover Mainland China “Action”  series’, 1997, performance, photograph.

In-Conversation: History, Memory, Mythmaking and Monuments

As an artist, curator, and writer, Yao Jui-chung is well-known for his incisive, provocative, and often humourous critiques on Taiwan’s contested and complex history and culture, and on the legacies of colonialism and authoritarianism.


[Postponed] Guided Tour

Due to COVID-19, this guided tour will be postponed until further notice.

This guided tour provides an overview of the exhibition themes and context, with more background into some of the individual artworks and trends at the time.

Registration opens two weeks prior to event.


[Postponed] Film Screening: GF*BF 女朋友。男朋友

Due to COVID-19, this film screening is postponed until further notice.

106mins, 2012 (M)
Directed by Yang Ya-che 楊雅喆


Special Screening: A Brighter Summer Day 牯嶺街少年殺人事件

237mins, 1991 (M)
Directed by Edward Yang 楊德昌

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