Date of Degree

9-2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Art History

Advisor

Claire Bishop

Committee Members

Mona Hadler

Siona Wilson

An-Yi Pan

Subject Categories

Contemporary Art

Keywords

globalism, Taiwanese contemporary art, post-national contemporary, Asian American

Abstract

Taiwanese contemporary art emerged in the 1980s and rapidly flourished in the 1990s, nourished by the process of democratization and the construction of Taiwanese consciousness prompted by the lifting of martial law in 1987. This dissertation makes two claims. Firstly, that Taiwanese contemporary art after 2000 can be understood as “post-national,” due to the country’s marginal position in the world and contentious status as a nation-state. Secondly, that Taiwanese post-national art differentiates itself from postcolonial/post-martial law art of the late 1980s and 1990s on the basis of its globalism. The three artists surveyed by the dissertation each exemplify different strategies of globalism: perpetual exile (Tehching Hsieh), an aesthetics of the multitude (Chen Chieh-Jen), and cosmopolitan hospitality (Lee Mingwei). Respectively, their works disavow, critique, and transcend the nation-state. The final chapter offers an analysis of two major biennial institutions organized by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum: the Taiwan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (1995 onwards) and the Taipei Biennial (1992 onwards). The changes in curatorial themes of both institutions from the mid-1990s to the late 2010s manifests the dialectic between the national and the global that characterizes Taiwanese post-nationality. By postulating Taiwanese contemporary art as post-national, I argue that its significance lies in its counter-hegemonic role as a troublemaker, complicating and critiquing the concept of nation that continues to be dominant and ubiquitous in both curatorial practice and art history.

Manuscript Version

1

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