NIU Jun Qiang, Kuo Yu-Ping , and Jian Yi-Hong
“RIVERRUN” @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Exhibition Dates:March 18 to June 4, 2017
Venue:Gallery 2A&2B, TFAM
Curator: Kat Siao


The exhibition title 伏流 (Fu-Liu, A subterranean stream) indicates a mental state hidden beneath the surface. The English title “riverrun” comes from Finnegans Wake, the experimental novel by James Joyce, who started from a dreamland and created a different world with his writing. Joyce used stream of consciousness and dream language to create his continuous writing.
In the novel, Joyce used sentence structures that are difficult to understand and no punctuation, but in art and literature, liberating and diverging are all permitted, and can even be raised to the level of inspiration. This suggests the possibility of using psychoanalysis to investigate the meaning of an artwork. Art is vast and inclusive because of this freedom.
Linking social and historical contexts to mental states, we see that the national violence of the white terror period in Taiwan filled society with dread and indifference, and broke the spirit of individual victims. Some switched on self-protection mechanisms, transforming themselves to avoid physical harm. As Foucault said, history is broken or discontinuous. Aftereffects of discontinuity include the disappearance of history, rupture of recollections, disruptions in life, and spiritual difficulties. Since the event is in the past, nothing can dispel the aftereffects, and in lieu of a cure, there is vague anxiety. These individuals try to connect those unknown, untaught, unexplained events by searching, recalling, excavating, and collecting. They throw themselves into fieldwork, organize documents, and patch things together in order to mend their torn memories. Using different media, they also write about history, reconstruct memories, piece together and transform information, present points of view, and interpret issues that concern them.
Consequently, the exhibition is titled RIVERRUN dis/continuous writing on history, memory and spirit, and presents artists’ works that concern history, memories, and spirit, and explore continuity and discontinuity in society, history, and the abundant variations in individual and collective consciousness and unconsciousness. Interactions between documentation and imagination effect a spiritual self cure that mends the breaks, finds ways out of spiritual difficulties, and presents a broad view.


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