As Taiwanese society was coming to terms with a new political reality in the 1970s and 1980s, many artists and intellectuals looked anew at issues of locality, history and cultural identity.
Despite the pressure on civil society, visual culture flourished, with photography emerging as a key visual medium. Pioneering photographers produced groundbreaking works ranging from experimental art to photojournalism.
The Australian Centre on China in the World is pleased to announce the exhibition project Wayfaring: Photography in 1970s–80s Taiwan 找路：1970–80年代的臺灣攝影, curated by Olivier Krischer and Shuxia Chen. The exhibition will take place at the Australian Centre on China in the World Gallery between 30 July and 28 October 2021.
Opening in July 2021, the exhibition features 35 photographs by 12 artists, curated from the collection of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Republic of China (Taiwan). With many of the exhibited works shown for the first time in Australia, the Wayfaring exhibition contributes to the limited English-language knowledge on Taiwan visual culture of the 1970s–1980s.
The exhibition title takes the concept of ‘wayfaring’ from the phrase ‘找路 (zhao lu)’, which Chang Chao-tang 張照堂 has often referred to when discussing his photography over these decades. This term to 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.
The works in this exhibition reflect on the shifting experiences in everyday Taiwanese life and culture during these decades, featuring work by seminal practitioners such as Chien Yun-ping 簡永彬, Chang Chao-tang 張照堂, Juan I-jong 阮義忠, Chuang Ling莊靈, Hsieh Chun-te 謝春德, Ho Ching-tai何經泰, Hsieh San-tai謝三泰, Wang Hsin王信, Hou Tsung-Hui侯聰慧, Kao Chung-li高重黎, Yeh Ching-fang 葉清芳, and Lien Hui-ling 連慧玲.
To better appreciate the photography landscape and political and cultural developments in 1970s – 80s Taiwan, a public program, including film screenings and a panel discussion, has been curated to accompany the exhibition. Wayfaring will also coincide with the Centre’s Remembering Taiwan’s Martial Law Conference, which explores the experiences of Martial Law relived through arts and literature, language and politics, and everyday minutiae.
Yeh Ching-Fang, Towards the End of Martial Law Series, 1982. © National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, 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.