Curated by Berlin-based curator and critic Anselm Franke, this eighth edition runs from September 29, 2012 to January 13, 2013, and takes place at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and further locations in the City of Taipei.
Based on the assumption that a common ground of the global art system is the experience and effects of modernization, the biennial centers on the way that artists across the globe are articulating and negotiating this experience and its coming-into-being. The re-visioning of modernity, the re-writing of its master narratives, and the re-drafting of its constitutional resources is a trans-disciplinary project of global scale. This activity is driven by the urge to find a vantage point and speaking position from which we can relate to the frontiers of modernization, their present forms and their long shadows, and the role of art in their current transformations.
David Der-Wei Wang, in his study of Chinese literature entitled “The Monster That Is History”, addresses the history of twentieth-century China and Taiwan, and the connection between its excesses of political violence—more often than not in the name of enlightenment, rationality and utopia—and imaginary production. History, in Wang’s book, is identified with the vicious ancient Chinese monster Taowu, which had the ability to see both future and past. When history has failed to convey the meaning of the past in the present, fiction becomes its substitute. This Biennial hence invokes the monster and the monstrous as fiction that is an objective correlative to the human account of past experience and to official memory, registering what is immemorial and yet unforgettable. It is through the politics and aesthetics of history’s monstrosity that the shape of the present can be imagined in the light of its horizon of possibility.
Working with several co-curators from both the larger region of Southeast Asia and elsewhere, the 2012 edition of the Taipei Biennial will be structured by a series of imaginary museums projecting speculative histories and possible futures.