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Artist Shu Lea Cheang to Represent Taiwan at 2019 Venice Biennale

The first woman artist to be selected since Taiwan began holding single-artist exhibitions at the Venice Biennale.

Shu Lea Cheng, “BRANDON”, (1998-1999). Collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Courtesy of the Artist.

Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) is delighted to announce Shu Lea Cheang as the sole artist, representing Taiwan at the 58th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale 2019. She is the first woman artist to be selected since Taiwan began holding single-artist exhibitions at the Venice Biennale.

Ping Lin, director of TFAM, remarks: “In recent years Taiwanese artists and art institutions have elevated their participation in the global art community, generating a more refined and complex network of connections. For this reason, the nominating committee employed a greater level of strategic thinking, coloring their artist recommendations with stronger overtones of global strategy. Shu Lea Cheang, a pioneer of net art, not only in Taiwan but around the world, emerged as the first choice.”

Cheang remarks: “Since my net art work BRANDON (1998-1999), a trajectory charged with detours and deviations has teleported me to Palazzo delle Prigioni, Venice, where crimes and punishment are revisited in a 16th century prison setting. To be representing Taiwan in its current complex state is a tremendous task, and I am grateful to be accompanied on this venture by the visionary curator Paul B. Preciado and the dedicated VB team at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum.”

Shu Lea Cheang (1954-) grew up in Taiwan and established her own distinctive perspective of art while living in the West, quickly carving out a terrain of her own in the internet world. Her work encompasses such forms as net art installation, feature-length films, and art actions, in which she explores and rethinks the middle ground between technology and humanity in the era of globalization, repeatedly engaging in dialectic on social and political issues such as gender and body politics, ethnic and cultural diversity, history, and the environment.

Paul B. Preciado (1970-) has been invited to curate the exhibition for Taiwan. Preciado earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Theory of Architecture from Princeton University and studied under Jacques Derrida in New York City. Preciado is today one of the leading thinkers in the fields of gender, sexuality, and body studies. He has taught at Université Paris VIII-Saint Denis and at New York University, served as Head of Research at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona, and was Curator of Public Programs for Documenta 14 in 2017. Preciado’s visionary projects dovetail with the Shu Lea Cheang’s creative background, lending the upcoming exhibition an interpretive approach able to penetrate the tension of the artworks.

Preciado remarks: “The political and poetic potentiality of this moment is as big as the risks of building new forms of oppression and exclusion. We need new grammars and new images in order to forge a new subjectivity, to invent new ways of feeling and desiring. I see Shu Lea Cheang’s work as one of the most powerful creative and experimental tools to navigate this transition.”