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Cohort Reunion

 

Artist: Su Meng-Hung、You Meng-Shu、Chen Shiau-Peng、Tu Wei-Cheng、Lee Ming-Hsueh

Curator: JIAN Li-Ting

Exhibition Time:2018.01.03(Wed.)~ 2018.02.07(Wed.)

Opening Party:2018.01.06(Sat.)

Exhibition Introduction :

There are hundreds of methodologies of art studies: from long-ago anecdotes, the Biography in 16th century, cultural history, formal analysis, and iconology in 19th century, to the New Art History influenced by other subjects in the 1970s. Many subjects such as sociology, anthropology, psychoanalysis interact with methodologies of art studies, which provides us various points of view on art.

Shiau-Peng Chen, Meng-Shu You, Weu-Cheng Tu, Meng-Hung Su, and Ming-Hsueh Lee are invited to exhibit at "Cohort Reunion." This exhibition plans to observe Taiwan artists from a sociological aspect. They are not fellow classmates, otherwise the exhibition would have been called School Reunion. All of them are active contemporary artists and each have their own style. They either taught or teach in Yuan Ze University, and some of their terms are not the same. Their relationship differs from that of a painting society/group. It is not based on a specific area nor an art idea or any similar art style/creation technique. The reason why they can connect is that they are artists by occupation.  

We usually imagine that an artist creates full-time, but in fact, the main, steady income for artists in Taiwan is teaching. The causes are complex.   

First, the scale and taste of Taiwan art market. Taiwan art market is relatively small in scale. It is indisputable that the average piece price is lower than the other art markets. A different taste in Taiwan art market is more significant because it motivates art buyers to invest much more in “concrete objects,” i.e. paintings and sculptures. For this reason, it is quite hard for some contemporary art forms to be popular in the market so those artists have no choice but to seek other employment such as projects from public funding and/or teaching positions.  

Second, due to the specialization of the contemporary art, its tendency to become knowledge-based field, and a higher average educational level of artists, the artists must throw their energies into schools, but the only thing they learned is art, which leads them naturally into finding teaching jobs.  

However, although the artists might teach in colleges, there is a huge gap between full-time and part-time teachers’ salaries and welfare under the current education system in Taiwan. In addition, requirements for applications for teaching positions at public colleges and private ones are different. It seems an inevitable career path for Taiwan artists: being part-time teachers and then full-time teachers, staying in private colleges and then public colleges, and finally going back to private colleges after retiring from public colleges...  

Fortunately, the life of an artist taking part-time teaching job is not as tragic as the above description. Artistic creation is able to continue and accumulate and not likely to be excluded even though technology keeps developing. On the other hand, a ‘non-art’ income sometimes ensures artists’ artistic autonomy, which is just like the situation that the 1960s avant-garde artists were in. From this point of view, this “reunion” represents not only a gathering of teachers from the same university, but also a gathering of like-minded artists with artistic freedom.