The Artist, his Collaborators, their Exhibition, and three Venues continues on from a series of solo exhibitions by Jun Yang that began in Seoul in 2018. The Overview Perspective at the Art Sonje Center was on the one hand an overview, but on the other a retrospective and a reflection on what it means for an artist to take a backward glance. With The Artist, the Work, and the Exhibition at Kunsthaus Graz in 2019, reflection shifted from the individual to systemic-institutional issues. As well as reflecting on what it means to be an artist, and what is expected of an artist and his work, the exhibition itself became an important theme. Finally, Yang’s solo exhibition in Graz turned into a collective undertaking with a large number of participators: Erwin Bauer, Mike Kelley/Paul Mc Carthy, siren eun young jung, Lee Kit, Oliver Klimpel, Michikazu Matsune, Yuuki Nishimura, Yuki Okumura, Koki Tanaka, Maja Vukoje and Bruce Yonemoto. The deconstruction of the solo exhibition became apparent when Yang invited his namesake from San Francisco to take part. This other Jun Yang is also an artist, but of Korean descent.
The exhibition The Artist, his Collaborators, their Exhibition, and three Venues continues in the collaborative spirit of the exhibition in Graz, extending its focus to three locations and their particular contexts. Localisation, architecture, history, institutional practices and politics do not only shape what happens in a place, but also have an enormous influence on the perception and meaning of what is exhibited. The Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts is associated with the university, the TKG+ gallery is an internationally operating commercial art gallery, and the MOCA Taipei is a public municipal museum. Each of the three has its own mission, its own reason for existing: on a university campus, in a new district or in the middle of the city. This involves different tasks and addressees. While the Kuandu Museum is mainly directed towards students and teachers, the main task of the TKG+ gallery is to bring contemporary art to the attention of buyers and collectors. Many school classes from the surrounding area come to the MOCA, and also tourists, partly because of the old building dating from the Japanese colonial era. These three institutions were willing to stage the “solo exhibition” featuring the artist Jun Yang. This is manifestly expressed in the artwork Jun Yang (Red Letters): here, the name of the artist appears in bold letters on or in front of each of the buildings, visible from afar. However, the spelling is different in each place: traditional Chinese at the Kuandu Museum, simplified Chinese at the MOCA and Latin letters at the TKG+ Projects. The connotations change along with the spelling – an artist born in the People’s Republic of China, a figure affiliated with the contemporary Taiwanese art scene, an internationally successful gallery artist.
The focus on the artist’s name follows on from The Monograph Project, a publication completed in 2018, when the exhibition series began. Various artists are featured in a total of six volumes: June Young, Yang Jun, Tun Yang, Jan Jung, Yi Chuan and Jun Yang. It is a monograph on the artist and his work, but at the same time – in a paradoxical reversal – it also challenges monographic conventions and biographical writing. Like the monograph, this retrospective is in itself the subject of artistic investigation, challenging the unique position of the artist on several levels: through the work itself, the participation of other artists and – this applies especially to Taipei – the decision to exhibit in three locations. The significance of the locations is already reflected in the title: it does not say at three venues, in three venues or in three institutions, but and three venues. The locations are a theme in themselves; they are part of the contents of the exhibition.
The Artist, his Collaborators, their Exhibition, and three Venues is therefore a solo and a group exhibition, a retrospective and even a biennale, because at the Kuandu Museum the exhibition runs within the framework of the biennale that takes place there every two years. It manifests itself differently in each of the three locations, working with the specific contexts and setting different priorities accordingly. Nevertheless, some artistic works appear at two of the venues, or at all three of them, establishing connections between them. Sometimes modified, sometimes fragmented or subject to a change in meaning due to the context. Even this publication links the individual parts of the exhibition together – it introduces the concept for The Artist, his Collaborators, their Exhibition, and three Venues and provides an insight into the implementation on site – even before the exhibitions open. Although the three presentations overlap, they do not take place completely simultaneously. Using sketch-up and 3D renderings the entire exhibition can be visited virtually, independently of the openings, and in a next step
it can be compared to the actual realisations.
In this publication, we also introduce co-curators and collaboration partners. We asked them to give us a text describing the location, the context and their relationship to the exhibiting artist. The texts were deliberately left unedited, with no standardisation of the spelling. The different ways of writing reflect the different approaches, interests and motives for participating in The Artist, his Collaborators, their Exhibition, and three Venues.
Many people have contributed to the realisation of this exhibition. We would like to thank
the artists and collaborators, Christopher Adams and Sophie Chiang, Erwin Bauer / buero bauer, siren eun young jung, Lee Kit, Oliver Klimpel, Michikazu Matsune, Yuuki Nishimura, Yuki Okumura, Koki Tanaka, Thousand Bird Arts, Topotek 1, Maja Vukoje, Jun Yang, Bruce Yonemoto. Many thanks to the co-curators and authors Huang Chien-Hung, the director of Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Hsu Fong-Ray, curator, and Megan Lan Yu-Hua from TKG+ Projects, and Chang Yu-Han, the vice-director of MOCA Taipei. We would also like to thank the coordinators and the staff at all three venues. Thanks to all the collectors and lenders for their kind support.
This book was designed by Oliver Klimpel, with whom we collaborated on The Monograph Project. He is also represented as an artist in this exhibition. Yining Shen and Louise Bromby have given us great support with their editing. Louise also translated some of the texts into English, and Yining completed the translations into Chinese. Special thanks to them!