From The Concept of Social Sculpture to the Public Art in Taiwan: My Artistic Journey從社會雕塑到台灣公共藝術: 我的藝術歷程

Taiwan Academy Lecture

From The Concept of Social Sculpture to The Public Art in Taiwan-My Artistic Journey

Lecture by Artist Mali Wu

Chaired by Marko Daniel, Tate Modern

Ma-Li Wu (Mali Wu 吳瑪悧) lives and works in Kaohsiung and Taipei, Taiwan. After graduating from the National Art Academy, Dusseldorf, Wu returned to Taiwan in 1986 to a new environment and this inspired her to reconsider the artist’s role in society. As a conceptual artist, Mali Wu, creates both video and installation in response to the outside world. Always thought-provoking, her work is diverse in both subject matter and in medium.

吳瑪悧目前居住於台灣台北和高雄,並在兩地創作。從德國杜塞道夫(Dusseldorf)國立藝術學院雕塑系畢業,吳瑪悧在1985 年回到解嚴之前的台灣,開始思考藝術家在社會中的角色,發展了一系列從性別角度重新詮釋歷史的裝置和物件。

Mali Wu developed an interest in socially-engaged practice and started to make installations and objects that deal with historical narratives. Since 2000 she has been producing community-based projects such as Awake in Your Skin, 2000 – 2004 a collaboration with the Taipei Awakening Association, a feminist movement in Taiwan that uses fabric to explore the texture of women’s lives. In By the River, on the River, of the River, 2006, she worked with several community universities tracing the four rivers that surround Taipei. With the help of the county government she invited over 30 artists to reside in 20 villages and together they attempted to shape a learning community through art, the project Art as Environment—A Cultural Action on Tropic of Cancer, made between 2005-2007 in Chiayi County made a significant impact on local cultural policy and inspired people to consider different ways to activate community building. It also resulted in a series of conferences and dialogues organised by NGOs.

In 2008, Mali Wu unveiled “Taipei Tomorrow As Lake Again”, a garden installation alongside the Taipei Fine Arts Museum that visitors were invited to harvest. From 2010-2012, Wu and her collaborators, Bamboo Curtain Studio initiated the project, Art as Environment—A Cultural Action at the Plum Tree Creek, working closely with the communities around the stream on activities ranging from art classes for elementary school students to a community theatre. It won the Taishin Arts Award in 2013, and the prize of NT $1,000,000 (about USD $30,000) was used to set up a trust to enable future artists-in-residence at Bamboo Curtain Studio to continue making socially engaged works along Plum Tree Creek.

(Plum Tree Creek Project, May 2012. Photo by Mali Wu)

In the 1990s Wu’s art making had an antagonistic, critical flavor; in the recent decade and half, the core of her practice is to locate the problem and then search for possibilities to turn things around. For the past three decades, she has been the leading artist and theorist on community-based public art practice in Taiwan. More recently, her work has taken an eco-feminist turn in response to the impact of globalization. In 2013 the Plum Tree Creek project won the Taishin Visual Arts Award. She is the first female recipient of the National Culture and Arts Award in 2016. Her artworks have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Taipei Biennial, Asian Pacific Triennial, and Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial. Currently, she teaches at the Graduate Institute of Interdisciplinary Art, National Kaohsiung Normal University, Taiwan.

2000 年始,她受台北市婦女新知協會邀請,與玩布工作坊合作,進行〈從你的皮膚甦醒〉社群藝術計劃(Awake in Your Skin, 2000-2004),以翻轉傳統女紅概念,透過布與織縫來探討女性的生命歷程,看到藝術除了作為反思、批判、啟發的工具外,更可能帶來她人生命的改變,而更投入與社群協作的工作方式。

2009 年開始,她與竹圍工作室(Bamboo Curtain Studio)一起展開〈樹梅坑溪環境藝術行動〉(Art As Environment—a cultural action at the Plum Tree Creek),反映這十多年來她對於都市發展和環境課題的關注。結合社區資源與學校教育,透過工作坊、藝術行動與政府對話,希望對於環境的經營帶來不同的價值與思考。

這些介入到社區、與不同社群的工作,對於台灣公共藝術的發展也帶來一些撞擊。〈樹梅坑溪環境藝術行動〉於2013 年獲得台新藝術獎。吳瑪悧也於2016 年獲得台灣的國家文藝獎。