2021.04.24－2021.09.05On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Brief Moment in Time
Yen Shui-long, Richard Lin, Ｍichael Lin, Guo Jau-lan, Lee Ambrozy If museums formerly dictated art history through exhibitions, museums have now become sites for social gatherings, public platforms for cultural debate, and places where audiences gather to collaborate in the unpremeditated writing of art history. Understanding art history as belonging to the public realm, MoNTUE seeks to use its space as a stage where this act can be performed together with the audience as co-conspirators, joining a linguistic, temporal and methodological performance of art history. “On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Brief Moment in Time'' is borrowed from Guy Debord’s 1959 second film, a short documentary combining footage of his friends with scenes from mass media. Invoking the Situationist International legacy here, this is a proposition for transhistorical approaches to exhibition making, colliding artworks from across the 20th century into a single space and unifying them under a broad umbrella of family and social relations. The artists juxtaposed here are Yen Shui-long (1903–1997) who studied in Tokyo and Paris in the 1930s, and who devoted his career to the exploration of craft, design, art education, and public art; Richard Lin (1933–2011), whose art matured in the European context steeped in post war abstraction, but who later turned to post-painterly abstraction; and Michael Lin (b. 1964), whose large scale architectural interventions have explored questions of audience, locality, and tradition in international art exhibitions since the late 1990s. In different times and mental spaces, these three artists shared motivations and intentions to expand artistic vocabularies, engaging architecture design, and the effects of the market economy in different ways. Their lives and art have in common a history of international migration and engagement with Taiwan. Our curatorial strategy draws on psychogeography, defined as the emotional connections people have to place. The Situationist International, of which Debord was a founding member, practiced psychogeography in reconceptualizing how cities are experienced and mapped. They created new visuals for imagining the geographies, and expanding Surrealist and Dadaist affinities with chance encounters. Similar to psychogeography, our trajectories and experiential paths through this exhibition enable the discovery of new associations. Through an act of historical compression, multiple lives and work are collapsed into a single space, one where the works are in dialogue with the exhibition’s design, and by extension, the architecture. By making transparent the material and sociohistorical structures that frame contemporary art, “On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Brief Moment in Time'' brings together artists as interlocutors and provocateurs, scholars as collaborators, and audience as agents. As much as this is a historical exhibition, it is very much a living work of contemporary art that seeks to probe and multiply our readings and understandings of the individual works presented here.