The artist will be present to invite visitors to intervene in the installation from 12:00 to 16:30. September 10, 17; October 15, 22; November 19, 26; December 3, 17; and January 7, 21. Preregistration online at https://goo.gl/forms/ZFEV6CTmCaI9JuLb2
Happy Paradise, a site-specific installation based on Taipei Fine Arts Museum’s urban location, is one in a series by Li-Hui Huang addressing the positions of the individual relative to the landscape.
The Yuanshan area that radiates outward from TFAM has served as an official political, military, cultural, and educational arena in multiple capacities during a period of over a century in Taiwan’s modern historical development. In addition to prehistoric civilizations evidenced by the Yuanshan Archaeological Site, the area was home to railway infrastructure built by Governor-Generals of Taiwan (now the Tamshui MRT Line) and to the Taiwan Grand Shrine and Yuanshan Garden (present-day Grand Hotel) during the Japanese colonial period, followed by other institutions, including the Taipei Headquarters Support Activity for the U.S. Military (now the Taipei Expo Park); Radio Taiwan International, and the now-relocated Taipei Zoo and Children’s Amusement Park.
Over time, these official arenas have been overlaid and rewritten by the powers that be, as have the interior spaces at the TFAM. Huang makes use of the large panoramic windows in the museum’s first floor lobby on which she mounts three historical images relevant to this space: Prince Hirohito’s procession along the Imperial Messenger Road; Eisenhower waving to the crowds; and the relocation of the zoo. Digits on the images indicate the distance in time between the events and TFAM in 2016. Unlabeled events are annotated on the lobby floor in a corresponding spatiotemporal map.
The audience is invited to leave their silhouettes on the mounted images, to the accompaniment of music playing on speakers from the song “Happy Paradise” written three decades ago for the zoo’s relocation. In the process of peeling off these silhouettes made with a layer of silicon paint from the window glass, existing insulating film on the glass is simultaneously removed, creating a visual effect that suggests two metaphors: the ambiguous reappearance of history; and the floating forms of individuals now absent. The pile of discarded human shapes echoes the stratified history of official arenas and midden heaps excavated from the Yuanshan Archaeological Site.