Tzeng Yi-hsin, Olympia, 2014.

Taiwan’s First-Ever LGBTQ Art Exhibition Opens in Wake of Country’s Legalization of Gay Marriage

Lisa Movius of the Art Newspaper reports that the group exhibition “Spectrosynthesis: Asian LGBTQ Issues and Art Now,” currently on view at the state-run Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art, is the first-ever exhibition in the island nation to focus on the work of queer artists. The show is a poignant offering in the wake of Taiwan’s legalization of gay marriage on May 24 of this year. It opened on September 9 and runs until November 5, 2017.

Sean Hu, the curator of “Spectrosynthesis,” said, “It [was] not easy to look for artists or artworks that deal with LGBTQ issue[s] in Asia. So in the past three years we spent time doing field research, artist studio visits, and talking to artists’ agents.” Hu was also very careful to not pressure anyone to participate, as there are both laws and societal taboos in various Asian countries that limit queer people from expressing their sexual orientation freely. The show features twenty-two LGBTQ artists—in addition to straight artists examining queer themes—from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and mainland China, among other places.

Some of the earliest works in the show date to the 1960s, from artists such as Fu-sheng Ku and Shiy De-Jinn. Chuang Chih-Wei offers up a suite of interactive light boxes, while Ming Wong, an artist from Singapore, has contributed the video Life and Death in Venice, 2010. He also performed with Taiwanese artist Yu Cheng-ta Watermelon Love at the exhibition’s opening. “I know there have been attempts in several other countries in Asia to [legalize gay marriage],” said Wong, “and that hasn’t happened . . . so Taiwan could be paving the way for other countries to follow. So it’s an important year, and for me this exhibition is kind of a celebration of the kind of forward-thinking of the country.”