18 Nov 2023 - 24 Mar 2024

Taipei Biennial 2023: Small World

Taipei Fine Arts Museum


Taipei Biennial is pleased to unveil the full participating list of artists for its 13th edition, running from 18 November 2023 to 24 March 2024 at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM). Curated by curator Freya Chou, writer and editor Brian Kuan Wood, and curator Reem Shadid, this year’s iteration will bring together over 50 international and local artists and musicians, transforming the museum into a space of listening, gathering, improvising, and exploring alternative ways to perceive and apply what we learned from the recent pandemic. Ten new works and commissions will be featured at the Biennial, alongside installations, performances, and musical and cinematic experiences that question promises of the simple and sensual amidst increasing tension and complexity.

The title “Small World” suggests both a promise and a threat: a promise of greater control over one’s own life, and a threat of isolation from a larger community following a global pandemic. Our world can become smaller as we grow closer to one another, but also as we grow apart. This “Small World” takes place within such a suspended state of being unable to join together nor completely separate. Through a series of presentations that comprise sound, music, moving images, photography, video, paintings, sculptures and installations, “Small World” presents audiences with the dilemma faced by us and our societies.

The three curators stated that: “The ‘Small World’ is a lonely and entitled place that we have lost parts of ourselves and our societies to, but it may also be a place that welcomes strange acts of refusing to scale up or down, to amplify, unplug, move, or stay put. It might lure us towards illusions of impossible permanence and simplicity, towards absolute primacies and intoxicating authenticities that surpass all influences, but it also encourages us to betray the need to translate and be understood, to please others for some eventual benefit that never arrives.”

Highlights from Taipei Biennial 2023 includes:

Pio Abad’s new commission originated in a research trip to Lanyu, an island in Taiwan that is closely related to the Batanes and Babuyan islands of the northern Philippines, a region native to his Ivatan roots. The unexpected intimate familiarity Abad encountered when he arrived in Lanyu amounted to an experience that was psychedelic in its depth and immensity. Abad’s work reflects on the power and ephemerality of both text and soil in a large-scale installation.

• Situated in the courtyard of Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Natascha Sadr Haghighian’s new commission is a multi-channel installation that evokes the sound of disappearance and erasure. Intended as an anti-monument, the work is dedicated to the caretaker—a figure who, in the process of compensating for the frailty of another person, senses their own increasing vulnerability. For Sadr Haghighian, the work is an invitation to cross a threshold beyond the social, entering another realm where distinctions between selves and others dissolve into crueler and yet more abstract forms of relation.

• Taiwanese artist Li Yi Fan will present a new work. Employing a format that stands out from mass animation productions and special effect industries, Li creates video performances that are similar to anti-script, impromptu talk shows with his self-made video tools. He explores the logic and illogic of images in contemporary life with dark humor, and uses the immediacy of the game engine to generate casual and bizarre narratives.

• Artist duo Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme will present an immersive, multichannel sound and moving-image installation that examines how people bear witness to and narrate experiences of violence, loss, displacement, and forced migration through performance. Since the early 2010s, Abbas and Abou-Rahme have collected online recordings of everyday people singing and dancing in communal spaces in Iraq, Palestine, Syria, and Yemen. The work brings digital traces of these performing bodies together with new performances.

• The late Lebanese painter, sculptor, and fashion designer Huguette Caland (1931 – 2019) was known for her erotic abstract paintings and body landscapes challenging traditional conventions of beauty and desire. The Biennial will feature a selection of Caland’s self-portraits from the 1970s after she moved from Beirut to Paris to pursue her own practice and life—a time when she is said to have felt truly liberated at last from the burden of social expectations.

• A major figure of Japan’s 1960s avant-garde, Akasegawa Genpei (1937 – 2014) was a member of influential artist groups Hi-Red Center and Neo-Dada Organizers. Earlier this year, over 40,000 unpublished prints were discovered by Akasegawa’s family, of which the Biennial will present a large selection for the first time in a public museum, reinvigorating Akasegawa’s artistic legacy and reminding us of the power of his observation.

The 13th Taipei Biennial will also transform a gallery within Taipei Fine Arts Museum into a music room designed by Palestinian architects AAU ANASTAS Studio, founded by Elias and Yousef Anastas. Three groups of musicians and sound practitioners, including dj sniff, Julian Abraham (Togar) & Wok the Rock, and Ting Shuo Hear Say, will host public and semi-public programs dedicated to gathering, recording, jamming, and music programming from December 2023 to March 2024.

The full list of participating artists and musicians in alphabetical order with current location:

Pio Abad (London)
Julian Abraham ‘Togar’ & Wok the Rock (Yogyakarta)
Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou Rahme (Ramallah/New York)
Nadim Abbas (Hong Kong)
Genpei Akasegawa (1937 – 2014)
Edgar Arceneaux (Los Angeles)
Tekla Aslanishvili (Berlin/Tbilisi)
Huguette Caland (1931 – 2019)
Yin-Ju Chen (Taipei)
Chen Ching-Yuan (Taipei)
dj sniff (San Francisco/Tokyo)
Nikita Gale (Los Angeles)
Giorgi Gago Gagoshidze (Berlin)
Samia Halaby (New York)
Ting Shuo Hear Say (Tainan)
Hide & Seek Audiovisual Art (Taipei)
Hsu Tsun-Hsu (Taipei)
Takashi Ito (Fukuoka)
Kim Beom (Seoul)
Jacqueline Kiyomi Gork (Los Angeles)
Nesrine Khodr (Beirut)
Patricia L. Boyd (London)
Lai Chih-Sheng (Taipei)
Li Yi-Fan (Taipei)
Kim Lim (1936 – 1997)
Li Jun-Yang (Taichung)
Jen Liu (New York)
Jumana Manna (Berlin)
Basim Magdy (Basel)
Wietske Maas (Berlin)
I Gusti Ayu Kadek Murniasih (1966 – 2006)
Artemio Narro (Mexico City)
Bahar Noorizadeh (London)
Aditya Novali (Surakarta)
Ipeh Nur (Yogyakarta)
Arthur Ou (New York)
Ellen Pau (Hong Kong)
Riar Rizaldi (Yogyakarta)
Natascha Sadr Haghighian (Berlin/Tehran)
Massinissa Selmani (Tours/Tizi-Ouzou )
Seher Shah (Karachi)
Hema Shironi (Colombo)
John Smith (London)
So Wing-Po (Hong Kong)
Lara Tabet (Beirut/Marseille)
Wang Wei (Beijing)
Raed Yassin (Berlin/Beirut)
Yang Chi-Chuan (Taipei)
Yang Yooyun (Seoul)
C. Spencer Yeh (New York)
Zhou Tao (Guangzhou)

Press release from Taipei Fine Arts Museum