New exhibition to light up Taichung starts Christmas Day

Light-themed art events have become popular across Taiwan in recent years as city governments seek to attract tourists, but curator Tseng Yu-chuan (???) decided it was time to make a change when she started working on the third-edition of the Taiwan International Light Festival in Taichung this year.

"We'd been thinking about how to make a breakthrough in producing a light festival with a different curatorial approach," Tseng told CNA Wednesday. "There are just too many light festivals out there."

In addition to festivals held across Taiwan during Lantern Festival, there have been several exhibitions and events dedicated to lights. From the overnight Nuit Blanche and Treasure Hill Light Festival in Taipei to the Light Coming Festival in Hsinchu, most feature a series of light installations and projection mapping shows, with the intention of dazzling visitors and spectators.

For the upcoming exhibition, Play & Playing Light & Shadow, which kicks off on Christmas Day, Tseng has invited local and overseas artists to build nine large-scale "performative installations" that will be displayed in the outdoor area of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day until Feb. 28, 2022.

Light always comes with shadow, and when the two elements interact, they create a flow of movement," Tseng said. "Visitors coming to the exhibition will be able to interact with the installations and dance to the movement of the lights, thus becoming part of the artworks."

Visitors can walk around or through different installations, Tseng said, mentioning in particular the work "Interval of Scenery" created by Taiwanese artist Chiang Iuan-hau (???).

Chiang's work includes several pillars of different sizes and heights. The surface of the pillars is covered with materials that refract rays of light.

Speaking at a press conference in Taipei on Wednesday, Chiang talked about his attempt to bring storytelling techniques to his work and thus imbue it with a theatrical element.

"I treat light as a character in my work," said Chiang. "I have focused on how to make this character interact with visitors so they become part of the work."

Tseng noted that in the realm of performative installations, what artists essentially do is create a scenario and process in which visitors can immerse themselves.

"Every visitor will have his or her own unique experience as long as they walk close to the installations," Tseng added.

Meanwhile, Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te (???) said he hopes the exhibition, which has been held for two consecutive years in Taichung, will become one of the city's most important art events.

The ministry will continue to support the infrastructure needed for new arts while fostering artists who work with different media, Lee added.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel