Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei has launched a new exhibition titled “Humus.” Six artists from the Czech Republic, Belgium, and Taiwan visited an Indigenous tribe in Hualien to investigate and create works based on their observations. Our reporter Stephany Yang takes us in for a look!
Czech artist Matej Machacek utilized a texture painting technique to create this artwork. He captured native dogs that he saw while climbing sacred mountains.
Along the way, he also captured trees and tribal community members. These artworks were all inspired by Machacek’s trip to a tribal village in Hualien.
The inspiration is basically because I really like nature and the landscape. It is based and the memories of my personal experience of staying in nature. I used the motif of this painting the huge scale of the dog, as an animal as a fragment of the really important friend or animal of the people in the village. I started to use large-scale rice paper and paint directly on the floor. After the painting is finished, I glued the painting on a canvas. On a cotton canvas. After it is dried, I stretched the complete painting on the wooden frame.
Taiwanese and Belgium artist Wang Aymei’s work drew inspiration from a documentary that investigated the cultural ownership of pillars and beams from an ancestral house in the Tafalong tribe. The Tafalong tribe asked Academia Sinica to return seven carved pillars to the tribe. They eventually reached a compromise where the tribal members brought the ancestral spirit in the pillars back to the tribe, and the museum got to keep the wooden pillars. Wang created porcelain fragments as well as nets.
I used the seven pillars and made a ceramic version of them. I wanted to reverse the process of the story from the community to the museum. This time make it reversed from the art gallery back into what people considered was the natural community for them. Visitors of the exhibition can come and see the artowrk and take the fragment to take them home. I wanted to work on this idea of having a net that gathers. Even if maybe people from multiple ethnicities you don’t really have a place you belong or you are not sure about your identity. You still have fragments of your ancestors or beliefs. I wanted to make them into a fish net or something that retains and both ties you to the land but also ties you to the culture that seems a bit fragmented.
The exhibition “Humus” is a long-term curatorial project that began in 2020. The curators and artists visited Cilangasan, a tribal mountain in Hualien, to explore and create artworks that bring to light the relationship between land and culture, as well as the artists’ interpretation of dealing with identity. The exhibition features the work of six artists from the Czech Republic, Belgium, and Taiwan. One featured Taiwanese artist is Kao An-bo. He drew animals from an Amis mystical tale, as well as clouds he saw at the tribe.
These three are ink paintings. They were inspired by our experience of following an Amis group to Cilangasan. I collected inspiration from the paths we took to paint these works. I also used local water sources such as Cilangasan water and rainwater, because it was raining at that time. I also mixed local soil to make different ink colors.
The exhibition will be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei till Oct. 15.