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‘Riverrun,’ an Exhibition Centered on Artistic Language at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Like the process of self-psychotherapy, the exhibition RIVERRUN offers a broadly inclusive, all-encompassing view of the writing and reading of art.

The title RIVERRUN (March 18 to June 4, 2017) comes from the experimental novel Finnegans Wake by James Joyce. The book weaves a dreamscape, producing a stream of consciousness in dream language, full of obscure phrases that defy comprehension and contravene convention. In the act of creation, looseness, freedom, or deviance is permitted, and can even be sublimated as the nutrients of art. This also suggests the possibility of arranging creative meaning through a method approaching psychoanalysis. Because of such freedom, art is broad and inclusive. The exhibition RIVERRUN centers on artistic writing, at a level where history, memory, and spirit mingle.

Through searching and researching, artists explore the intermittent fluctuations of society and history, and the diverse possibilities of filling in the holes in reality. For example, Zheng Chong-Xiao begins with the lifting of martial law, and freely appropriates images to write the contemporary history of Taiwan. Yu-Ping Kuo and Vandy Rattana revisit hometowns or historical wounds, conveying archival writings that are both rational and emotional. Chia-Wei Hsu employs a multilayered method to write history and interpret legends. By writing a letter, Eric Baudelaire commences an unexpected conversation.

If art connects collective social systems and psychological milieus, it also seeks out both collective and individual grounding. For example, Che-Wei Chen focuses his concern on the mentally ill people who have been forgotten by their generation, directly pointing to the hidden psyche of society. With a sharp piquancy verging on neuroticism, the ink paintings of Jian Yi-Hong reveal the psychic manifestation of the moment. Liu Han-Chih’s series of “quasi-props” exposes private mental states, so that human nature attains both release and forgiveness. Niu Chun-Chiang‘s works gaze upon the individual in a poetic moment of suspension and self-contentment.

Through the alternating application of documentation and imagination, art expresses the abundant flux of mutual resonance between the conscious and the subconscious. Dora García documents the scene of a book club studying Finnegans Wake, revealing the extraordinarily meaningful intimacy between the soul and words. Hiraki Sawa floats between reality and imagination, slowly manipulating the slippery relationship between self and memory. In Night Fishing, PARKing CHANce (Park Chan-wook, Park Chan-kyong) depict the tangled emotions of human beings as they approach the boundary between life and death. And Apichatpong Weerasethakul presents a dreamscape engendered by war, where holes in reality one by one transform into the dreams of wounded soldiers.

Like the process of self-psychotherapy, the exhibition RIVERRUN offers a broadly inclusive, all-encompassing view of the writing and reading of art.

RIVERRUN continues at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (No. 181 Section 3, Zhongshan N Rd, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan) through June 4, 2017.