Meet three more artists residing in Taichung’s revamped train warehouses, the art complex Stock 20. In the last issue we profiled artists that work with brush, paint and pen, now a trio who work off the canvas. Two use metal and wood to create sculptures and objects small or large and one explores human communication through performance art.
Niu-Yue Ji (紀紐約)
Ji was born in Kaohsiung in 1983 but has lived in six different cities. Free rent, interaction with other artists and a quiet environment in which to create are behind his decision to reside at Stock 20. Painting was Ji’s major, but only because choices were limited. For his masters he chose installation art and now works mostly in performance art. For Ji, life is art. “I don’t like high art,” he says. He believes that art should not last forever and that it doesn’t need a hefty price tag.
Food, especially traditional Taiwanese fare, features heavily in all his works. For Ji, sharing food with others is a kind of language: “When you fall in love, [there is] no language, just touch. [My work is] the same.” He performed and exhibited works using food at New York’s Da Gallery in 2009 and this year exhibited a number of works at Inart Space in Tainan, these ones utilising humour and the elements of distraction and surprise. “I don’t like my performances to be like a show. I like to be in the background, part of the audience.”
Ji Niu Yue is currently working hard to finish his thesis so his studio is not open to the public.
Zhen-Wei Wang (王振 瑋 )
It took a long time for Master Wang, born in 1966, to really feel comfortable saying that he was “an artist, not just a person who is good at art.” At 17 he decided to wait until he was married and financially stable before committing himself to being an artist. He began sculpting at 34.
“Life is not constant; you don’t know when it will end,” he thought at the time. “If I want to do art I need to do it straightaway.”
Master Wang has been at Stock 20 the longest of all current resident artists, spending the last four years in the same studio. “I’m here everyday, I love it here.”
Inspiration for his sculptures comes from his surroundings. “It’s a beautiful accident. I see something that inspires me and I use it.”
He often has to “compromise with reality.” With little money available for materials he uses recycled items, driftwood, “things that are good for the environment.”
“If people are excited by my work it makes me very happy. Actually, I want to make something that will make people cry but I’m so happy that I can’t make a sad piece.” Despite winning a number of national prizes for his art, Master Wang is humble: “The world is too kind to artists. The world thinks artists are special so artists think they are special. But really, they are ordinary people.”
Master Wang was recently invited by MOCA Taipei (Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei) to recreate an outdoor sculpture in WanHua 406 Square in Taipei, a major achievement.
The amiable Master Wang would love to show you his studio and his work. Drop by Monday to Friday between 10 am and 6 pm for a tour and a chat.
Zamama is a somewhat nomadic metal work studio run by a group of five artists: Candy Tseng (曾永玲), Hsi-Hsia Yang (楊夕霞), Ming-Yu Hsiao (蕭明瑜), Yu-Chuan Chen (陳煜權) and Yu-Xuan Chen (陳郁璇).
It started life ten years ago as a small gallery space in Taichung’s Art Street. The rent went up and the group moved to the Taiwan Architecture, Design and Art Center (TADA). This year, they took up residency in a huge studio at Stock 20. The artists all specialize in different areas of metal work and work on their own projects as well as those that benefit the group, such as commissions from local construction companies for lighting or sculpture. Their levels of experience vary: Candy Tseng has studied metal working abroad and currently teaches at TungHai and Chaoyang universities while Yu-Chuan Chen comes from an architectural background and only started working as a metal smith three years ago. Some in the group have been heard to say that they are working to bring about a metal arts renaissance in Taiwan, but generally the members are waiting to see what will happen next in a field that is struggling to make itself heard in Taiwan’s contemporary art world.
Zamama are open Monday to Friday, 10 am to 6 pm.