2019 The 6th Suwon International Photo Festival Taiwanese Artists' Group Exhibition

Challenges in the Republic

Curator: Feng-yi Chu (Waley Art, Taipei)

Invited artists: Jui-chung Yao, Ching-yao Chen, Sean Wang, Yi-lun Lu, Yen-wen Wang, and Aming Lee 


[中文] The very famous Suwon International Photo Festival welcomes its 6th year in 2019. Since this year is the centennial anniversary of the Sam-il (3-1) Movement, one of the most momentous incidents for the following establishment of the Republic of Korea (ROK) in 1948, the festival sets its theme as “Independent Republic,” inviting prominent works of photographers around the world with regards to the ideas of republic, democracy, nation, and state. 


Indeed, the Republic of China (ROC) has a close connection with the birth of the ROK. On March 1st, 1991, a group of activists in Seoul protested against Japanese colonization, declaiming the Korean Declaration of Independence. The activity led to a huge, nationwide movement on the peninsula, in which more than two million people joined. Soon in April, the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea, arguably the predecessor of the ROK, was founded in Shanghai, China. Meanwhile, the Sam-il Movement is also believed to have encouraged the famous May Fourth Movement occurred in China in the same year.

Establishing republic regimes and demolishing monocracies are great milestones for human’s modernization at the political aspect. However, the historical developments both of the ROC and of the ROK seem to ironically remind us: the modern task of men’s emancipation has never been fulfilled just because of the establishment of republics. The cruel February 28 Incident occurred only three years after the ROC took over Taiwan, resulting from the Kuomintang (KMT) government’s economic exploitation and discrimination against the islanders. Before long, the KMT was defeated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and retreated to Taiwan, commencing decades of years’ dictatorship and White Terror. Not until the martial law was lifted in 1987, and the direct election of the precedent was practiced in 1996, Taiwan moved further steps toward real democracy. On the other side, the ROK was officially established in 1948, bordered by 38th latitude. Due to men’s greed for power, the newly born state suffered two military coups, experienced the April Revolution in 1960 and the Gwangju uprising in 1980, and established six republics in total. These struggles tell the lesson that liberty, democracy, and equality can never be achieved at once. After the establishment of republic, serious challenges arise.  


Setting “Challenges in the Republic” as the theme, Waley Art invites six outstanding Taiwanese photographers to participate the 2019 Suwon International Photo Festival. They are: Jui-chung Yao, Ching-yao Chen, Sean Wang, Yi-lun Lu, Wen-yen Wang, and Aming Lee. The works of these artists explore various issues in Taiwanese society. Jui-chung Yao’s work, Liberating Taiwan, depicts the significant background that frames the economic, social, and political developments both of the ROC and the ROK in the modern history—the Cold War. It causes the current quasi-war situations in the two regions: on the Korean Peninsula and across the Taiwan Strait. In Liberating Taiwan, a man wearing sunglasses and CCP’s traditional military clothes, rigidly jumping up in front of the miniatures of various famous authority locations in Taiwan. This rude act in taking photos refers to the violent nature of CCP’s unification by force. The works of Ching-yao Chen and Sean Wang explore the developments of different nationalisms in Taiwan. In modern history, at least three nationalist ideologies had been promoted on the island: the Japanese imperial nationalism, Chinese (ROC) nationalism, and Taiwanese nationalism. Chen’s work, Emulating Y.S. Lin’s Handing over Horses, addresses the transition between the previous two. The original painting of Lin’s Handing over Horses, which was made in the Japanese colonial period of Taiwan, drew a native Taiwanese soldier wearing Japanese military clothes and handing over two war horses. When the 228 Incidence occurred, the artist had to change Japanese flags on the horses to ROC flags, in order to show his firm support, if not loyalty, for the new nation. By means of photography, Chen emulates Lin’s famous painting and further highlights the ambiguity of nationalist identities with settings. Chen’s second work, The Perfect Family, uses Chiang Kai-shek’s family as elements, exploring a particular type of Chinese “life politics.” The work relates Chinese nationalism and the Confucianist imagination of family in the society, and reveals the ideological demand that “you should love our national leader as your father.” 

Sean Wang’s work, Taiwan Holy Mountains, addresses itself to a park with the same name that locates in the mountain area of Nantou County. The park consecrates the victims killed in the period of White Terror, and claims “Taiwanese should only worship Taiwanese gods and spirits.” Wang uses Internet as source and platform for his works, discusses how photos can be detached from original scenes and re-created into nationalist icons. Photographers Yi-lun Lu, Wen-yen Wang, and Aming Lee focus on the situations of the minorities sacrificed for the republic. Lu’s work, Romance of Wasteland, takes abandoned military villages as its theme. These villages are the residences of Chinese diaspora who came to and settled in Taiwan with the retreating KMT government in the end of 1940s. Because of engaging in the civil war and fighting for the ROC, these people were forced to migrate to Taiwan and to sever connection with their families on the mainland for decades. Wen-yen Wang’s work, Changing Wind, Lanyu, demonstrates the living condition of Taiwanese aboriginals, and thus questions the component as well as the essence of Taiwanese national identity. When Taiwanese identity is mainly constructed and referred to the largest ethnic Han group in Taiwan, Taiwanese aboriginals are considerably marginalized, if not excluded, from the nationalist discourses, and sacrificed in the developments of economy, politics, education, culture, and so on. Aming Lee’s work, Here is no God, pays attention on another minority that is usually excluded from the discourse of nationalist identity and also from society—migrant workers. If slavery used to be a necessary measure for democratic poleis, subordinated workers—especially those from foreign countries—certainly are dispensable slaves that offer basic labors for modern republic regimes. 

After establishing republics, after bringing down tyrants and retrieving sovereign from autocrats, we, people of a republic and the majority of a society, are still severely tested on the road to democracy and human equality. Waley Art’s curating project takes Taiwan’s historical and social developments as references, presenting a humble birthday gift to the Republic of Korea. Happy birthday! We sincerely and delightedly wish you another splendor centennium!



2019 年第六屆南韓水原國際攝影節台灣藝術家聯展



參展藝術家:姚瑞中、陳擎耀、呂易倫 、汪正翔、 王文彥、李阿明


享譽國際的南韓水原國際攝影節即將於2019邁入第六屆。今年適逢「三一獨立運動」一百週年,主辦單位特別訂定攝影節主題為「Independent Republic」,邀請世界各地以共和、民主、國族、國家為主題的優秀攝影作品參展。對當今韓國具有深遠影響的三一獨立運動,在歷史上與中華民國關係甚深。1919年3月1日,日本帝國併吞大韓帝國近十年後,一群韓國獨立人士在京城府(今首爾)塔洞公園宣讀《獨立宣言書》,引發韓國近兩百萬人參與的大規模反日遊行示威。此運動促成現今大韓民國之前身,「大韓民國臨時政府」,於同年在中國上海法租界成立,而該年五月、至今亦正好百年的五四運動,也認為是受到三一運動的鼓舞。




這次攝影節台灣展的策展主題,即訂為《共和之後》,其宗旨在以台灣作為對象、藉由諸位攝影藝術家的觀察及紀錄作品,揭露在共和建立之後我們面對的各種難題與挑戰。本策展預計邀請藝術家為(依策展論述為序): 姚瑞中(作品《解放台灣行動》)、陳擎耀(作品《仿林玉山-獻馬圖》與《完美家庭》)、呂易倫(作品《廢地羅曼史》)、汪正翔(作品名稱《台灣聖山》[暫訂])、王文彥(作品《轉風蘭嶼》、李阿明(作品《這裡沒有神》)。展覽論述以姚瑞中作品《解放台灣行動》開題、鋪陳東亞特殊的歷史脈絡及地緣政治為背景。台灣與南韓縱然建立共和,卻因國際冷戰體系而至今仍不得不持續面對各自的戰爭遺緒:台灣面對的是中國武力解放威脅,南韓則是面對北韓核武戰爭的挑釁。這個歷史背景深刻影響台灣及南韓的國際角色、經濟發展模型、與國內政治演變。在《解放台灣行動》作品裡,一位身著中國共產黨傳統衣帽、戴墨鏡的男子,垂直跳躍騰空於台灣各具權威屬性知名景點的縮小模型前,直指中國多年不願放棄且近年不斷強調的武統暴力本質。