CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

About History Press Release Sessions Schedule Activities Participants Venue Discussion Registration Closed


LU Pei-yi
Exhibition as Identity Making: Environmental Art (1994) and Resurgence on the Tanshui River (1995) as Case Studies

Session 6 Politics of Identity: Tradition and Origin

National Taipei University of Education


The lifting of martial law in 1987 in Taiwan was seen as a milestone on the road to democracy, and its impact triggered a series of social-political-cultural reforms, widespread social movement and changes in the 1990s. Two main features of this political change may be observed: a shift from a single-party (KMT) centralized political system towards democracy and from a predominantly Chinese ideology to a more specifically local identity. In these circumstances, on the one hand, the new political freedoms generated the possibility of the appearance of a public realm and of the use of public spaces as venues for art, and on the other hand, localism came into being as a collective movement in the 1990s. With the convergence of these forces, what artistic phenomenon might emerge?  What role might the exhibitions could play? If we see an exhibition as a public platform, could the local issues be raised that generate the imagination of identity? The exhibitions of Environmental Art (1994) and Resurgence on the Tanshui River (1995) will be good examples to examine the direct connection between the exhibitions and the social-political circumstances, in particular responding to localism. Taking place along the bank of the Tanshui River, this river not only served as an exhibition venue but also furnished the concept for Environmental Art. In this essay, I argue that the development of exhibitions outside the museum/gallery spaces in the 1990s as a complex and peculiar phenomenon reflects a remarkable socio-political change, and also became part of the process of localization in the 1990s.



LU Peiyi

LU Pei-Yi is a curator, researcher and art critic, based in Taipei. She awarded PhD from University of London (2010). Her research interests are off-site art, museum studies and curating in theory and practice. A research-based book edited by her Contemporary Art Curating in Taiwan (1992-2012) was awarded the nominated prize, the 10th AAC (Award of China Art). Her publications include Off-Site Art curating and the edited book Creating Spaces- Post Alternative Spaces in Asia. She was an associate curator of 8th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale “We Have Not Participated” (2014) and curator of "Micro Micro Revolution"(2015) for Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA). In 2016, she curates Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition-Negative Horizon in Hong-Gah Museum, Taipei. She is assistant professor of Department of Cultural Creative Industry, National Taipei University of Education.