Home Arts Taipei Dangdai ‘deliberately regional’ fair suggests Taiwan’s art market is slowly recovering from pandemic

Taipei Dangdai ‘deliberately regional’ fair suggests Taiwan’s art market is slowly recovering from pandemic

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Taiwanese dealers and collectors are quick to point out that it’s normal to sell slowly during the opening days of Taipei art fairs. And so it is at fourth edition of Taipei Dangdai (until May 14), where despite positive energy and crowded hallways at the Nangang Exhibition Center, most dealers reported promising trades, but few big initial sales. This is the first edition of the fair since the East Asian island reopened its borders, and it sees some 90 galleries participating, including nearly 30 for the first time; more than 60% of exhibitors have a space in Asia Pacific.

“Collectors here are very caring, conversations can take longer although we have already placed some great works by Erwin Wurm and Chantal Joffe,” says Lehmann Maupin director Shasha Tittmann. “It’s great to see young collectors stimulating the appetite for contemporary art here.”

Yesterday’s preview attracted collectors from Taiwan such as Jenny Yeh, Rudy Tseng and Maggie Tsai, while those overseas included Alan Lo, Timothy Tan, Yurina Roche and Jackson See.

Local collectors have invaded the aisles of the Nangang exhibition center

But the relatively slow pace of preview day sales can be attributed to more than local picking culture: Taiwan’s economy contracted 3.02% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023, and like much of the world, it sees the cost of living soar. relative to income. While Taiwan’s economy is still expected to grow 2.01% for the full year, this marks a decline from 2.5% in 2022 and 6.3% in 2021. Some traders also speculated that the calendar of Taipei Dangdai, shortly after Art Basel in Hong Kong and contradictory with the fortnight of spring fairs in New York, also has an impact on sales.

Painting dominates the exhibition hall, with modern and contemporary inks nodding to Taiwan’s appreciation of traditional Asian forms. From Hong Kong, Lucie Chang Fine Arts brought the famous street calligraphy of protest by the late foreign artist Tsang Tsou-Choi – better known as the “King of Kowloon” – and Hanart TZ, also from Hong Kong, brought works by the artist overlooked by critics. the late ink master Yeh Shih-Chiang, as well as documentation and photographer Yeh Weili’s book on the painter. At the Galerie du Monde, the charged policy of Greater China finds expression in the 2023 painting by Tang Kwong San paper planesabout a Hongkonger dreaming of an elusive Taiwanese migration visa, and the photograph of Guanyu Xu in 2022 RK-08282018-01142022sound part Resident foreigners series about Chinese nationals who found themselves stranded overseas during the pandemic years.

At Tang Kwong San paper planes (2023)

Courtesy of the artist and the Galerie du Monde

A few galleries had good opening sales, including Galleria Continua, which sold Antony Gormley’s cast iron work in 2012. Join between £450,000 and £500,000. The De Sarthe gallery also sold the painting 2023 by Wang Jiajia It will never get old, not in my soul for £20,000 to a private collector in China. Jack Bell Gallery sold Andrew Maughan’s 2022 painting Preparer for £10,000.

“Sales from local collectors are stabilizing,” says Huang Yaji, founder and director of Taipei Each Modern gallery. By the end of the second day of the fair, the gallery had sold Antonia Kuo’s chemical and luminous painting of 2023 Night for $20,000 and Wu Mei-Chi’s 2023 digital c-print with Diasec 2 Garden 2 for $4,000, both to Taiwanese collectors. She says the network of Asian fairs run by Taipei Dangdai’s founders, The Art Assembly, helps attract collectors from across East and Southeast Asia to the event.

Participating galleries primarily focus on Taiwanese collectors, says fair co-director Magnus Renfrew, but natural interactions with Japan and South Korea occur due to the nations’ proximity and shared colonial histories. Collectors and exhibitors in mainland China have been reeling from visa restrictions, although representation from Hong Kong has remained energetic. The Taiwanese art market is “regional by design”, says Renfrew. “I think regional shouldn’t be a dirty word. It’s a big region. Asia is home to half of the world’s population.

Renfrew observes a curious young generation of collectors in Taiwan, “very involved and very curious”. He says the pandemic has accelerated a generational shift of young Taiwanese taking the reins of family businesses and a transition of power and wealth, alongside a “great acceleration towards Asia”.

The local market remains “quite vibrant” for more traditional art forms, says Chi-Wen Huang, who founded his eponymous gallery of videos, installations and performances in Taipei in 2004. The gallery does not participate in Taipei. Dangdai. It is currently planned How was history hurt, which includes films by Yu Cheng-Ta, Wang Jun-Jieh and Cheang Shu-Lea. Chi-Wen says she won’t attend the fair because she wants to focus on international audiences and institutions. Escalating rhetoric between America and China over Taiwan, which the mainland claims territorially, has also heightened global interest in Taiwan’s bustling vanguard. “Due to the current geopolitical situation in Taiwan, we are seeing an increased interest in Taiwanese film and video, which we see as a unique opportunity to showcase Taiwanese film and video art internationally,” a- she declared.

Nevertheless, “in Taiwan itself,” Renfrew says, “people feel like nothing has happened.” Despite perceptions abroad, “the reality on the ground here is that everyone has been grappling with Taiwan’s uncertain status for 80 years. It’s just territory that everyone has been used to navigating” .

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