In-Conversation with Yao Jui-Chung 姚瑞中 & Sophie McIntyre: 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. Although Yao did not directly experience the traumatic effects of martial law, his generation was the last educated under the old KMT regime’s political ideology and cultural doctrine. In this talk, Yao Jui-chung and Dr. Sophie McIntyre will discuss the effects of martial law in education and the arts, and the relationship between history, memory, mythmaking, and monuments through a select body of work created by the artist over the past three decades. The discussion will draw on aspects of the forthcoming book focusing on Yao Jui-Chung’s art practice, which includes an extended essay by Sophie McIntyre, and an interview between the artist and prominent Chinese curator and writer, Hou Hanru (Scheidegger and Spiess).

This in-conversation was moderated by Dr Olivier Krischer.


Yao Jui-Chung 姚瑞中 was born in 1969 and lives and works in Taipei. He graduated from the Taipei National University of the Arts with a degree in Art Theory in 1994, and he is now one of Taiwan’s most prominent contemporary artists. His art practice spans photography, video, installation and painting and his artworks have been included in major international exhibitions including: the Venice Biennale (1997), the Asia-Pacific Triennial (2009), the Taipei Biennale (2010), Shanghai Biennale (2012, 2018), and the Sydney Biennale (2016). Yao’s work is held in numerous public and private collections internationally; and he has been awarded several prizes, including Singapore’s Asia-Pacific Art Prize (2014) and the Taishin Art Prize (2018). He has also undertaken international artist residencies in San Francisco (Headlands Center for the Arts), London (Gasworks), New York (ISCP), and Scotland (Glenfiddich). In addition to being an artist, Yao Jui-Chung is a curator and art writer, and he has published several books focusing on Taiwan art. He is also an Associate Professor at the National Taiwan Normal University Department of Fine Arts and is on the National Culture and Arts Foundation Board of Directors.

Sophie McIntyre is a Senior Lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology, and a curator and writer specialising in Asian art, especially from Taiwan. She is the author of *Imagining Taiwan: the Role of Art in Taiwan’s Quest for Identity* (Brill, 2018), which was based on her PhD from the Australian National University, and her research on Taiwan contemporary and Indigenous art, cultural diplomacy, museums and exhibition practices has been widely published in books, international journals, and exhibition catalogues. Over the past 20 years, she has curated numerous touring exhibitions focusing on Taiwan art (several of which featured Yao Jui-chung’s work). These include: Ink Remix: contemporary art from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong (2015-2017); Penumbra: New Media Art from Taiwan (2007); Islanded: Contemporary art from New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan (2005 – co-curated with Lee Weng Choy and Eugene Tan); and Face to Face: contemporary art from Taiwan (1999-2000). She has received awards and grants for her academic and curatorial projects, including the inaugural ‘Sir Edward Weary Dunlop Asia Fellowship’ and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, and she has been a visiting research fellow in universities in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Image caption: Yao Jui-Chung, Museum of History, Beijing from ‘Recover Mainland China “Action” series’ (1997), performance, photograph.

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