press release

Kuandu Biennale 2018
6th edition: "Seven Questions for Asia"
05.10.2018 - 06.01.2019

Opening Reception: 05.10.2018 18:00

For the past decade, Kuangdu Museum, affiliated with Taipei National University of the Arts, has been working on the topic of Asia for the past five editions. The 6th edition of Kuandu Biennial, hosted by Director Hongjohn Lin, is turning attention on the reflexivity in looking what an Asian biennial can do and cannot do. Therefore the genealogy of Asia needs to be questioned and interrogated. The Greek word Ἀσία (Asia) etymologically refers to “the land of sunrise,” where colonies were established and were majorly inhabited by other people. “Asia,” the eastern land, was first a coherent and distinct concept for the “other” in relation to Europe. Indeed, the entity of Asia cannot do without generalization and abstraction, because in reality Asia is contestant and heterogeneous and links to Europe and Africa geographically. Facing modernity and colonialism, most nation states in Asia have undergone twisted histories, tensioning traditions, coarse democracy and uneven urbanization. Wars, conflicts, crises, and diasporas are endemic symptoms of Asia from within and without.

In the past Pan-Asianism has always been an excuse for politico-militant interests. Okakura Tenshin’s military agenda of “The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere"; Sun Yat-Sen’s assertion of an Asian united front through Chinese nationalism; and Jawahalal Nehru’s promotion in fostering newly independent Asian countries were all good examples. Interestingly, the first Asian Art Exhibition was held in 1947 in the Asia Relations Conference in New Delhi. Until now, different plays of Asia have never exhausted in its contemporary variations, either in China’s “One Belt One Road” or Trump’s version of “the Indo-pacific.”

We are living in times when there are more answers than questions. The Kuangdu Biennial renders a critical picture of Asia in order to untangle twisted histories and to project possible futures. The plural form “Asias,” thus can be apprehended to get close to the real biosphere. These sets of questions asked by our invited curators, respective artists’ works, events and screenings altogether are to be recognized as discursive endeavors to disclose singularities from the easily ignored and the underrepresented in making Asias to be seen.