New York and Taiwanese culture come together in an intriguing show currently on view at the former Pfizer Pharmaceutical Plant in Williamsburg. The exhibition entitled Fully Loaded is an international residency collaboration between the Taiwanese American Arts Council; Tainan Cultural Affairs, Taiwan; and COPE NYC.
Curated by Hsu Yuan-Ta, the title of the show references fishing boats returning to their ports with a heavily stocked supply of goods while also alluding to the traditional lifestyles and vibrant culture of island inhabitants and the history of Dutch influence in both New York and Tainan that dates back to the 17th century.
The city of Tainan has major prominence in Taiwan’s history and showcases the Taiwanese culture of diversity. Tainan gracefully combines its rich cultural historical influence with complex global modern influence.
Fully Loaded features work by 12 artists from Taiwan and three from New York, who present drawings, paintings, sculptures and other installations that reflect different aspects of his or her culture.
Meng Lulu, for instance, is inspired by the similarities and differences between people and cultures and conveys that in her installation entitled Being. Scattered across the gallery floor are porcelain shoes that were reshaped into clay shoes and then were polished to be unique to represent a different person.
Chang Yu-Tien focuses on societal and family expectations placed on people as they navigate their way through the world. He does this a series of ceramic sculptures of animal heads placed on human bodies. One of his sculptures, Iron Cock, depicts a rooster’s head on the body of a human figure wearing a suit. The figure is pulling a leash attached to a dog-like creature on all four of his human hands and knees, also wearing a suit. Also of note is I Have Been… depicting an adult male human figure painting a picture of a smiling, purple rabbit. As he’s painting, he holds his canvas which is attached to the face of a young boy, while on the father’s face is a canvas with the very same image of the partially painted rabbit.
Kuo Ming-Jer examines the complexity of urban planning and urban systems with his eclectic installation Suburban Form, which consists of curvy, ornamental figures made from double-sided tape attached to wires hanging from the ceiling. Working with lens-based images such as aerial photographs, he captures and reveals urban patterns and information.
Another notable installation is Wang Wan-Ting’s Combined Mission I suspended from the ceiling and consisting of a large, white piece of cloth representing an unidentifiable figure, perhaps an animal of some kind, with three pairs of jeans attached to the bottom. Through the reconstruction of everyday objects and reactions to different life experiences, Wang uses everyday objects and life experience to symbolize the fact that each species has its own ecosystem and social mechanism and therefore, each species has a different relationship with other species. Wang’s much smaller installation entitled Combined Mission II consists of three square white boxes, each displaying a drawing of different parts of the mysterious creature, while a fourth box that’s separated from the other three displays a smaller, but similar creature.
COPE NYC (Creative Opportunities Promoting Equality) was founded in 2009. In addition to organizing multi-tiered events, COPE NYC provides consultation to artists about how to get their work out there. And, it links the art world with the community by connecting commercial artists, student artists, art educators, gallerists, and museums. Then on a macroscopic level, when COPE NYC connects the art world with academia, as well as, the community, something special transpires: dynamic moving parts come together to create a vibrant collaboration. In the fall, contributing artists of COPE NYC’s traveling exhibit An Inclusive World will be going to Tainan.
Fully Loaded is located on the first-floor gallery of the Pfizer Pharmaceutical Building, 630 Flushing Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The gallery is open Wed.—Fri. from 12-6 p.m., and other days by appointment.
Fully Loaded: New York – Tainan
July 26 – September 10, 2017
Special thanks to:
Acumen Capital Partners LLC
Cultural Affairs Bureau of Tainan City Government
Taiwanese American Arts Council
Photographs by Xingyi Li