1998 Taipei Biennial

“Site of Desire”

Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Taipei, Taiwan

June 13-September 6, 1998

The 1998 Taipei Biennial was held at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum from June 13 to September 6, 1998.

NANJO Fumio has been invited to serve as commissioner of the Biennial, which introduces over 30 artists from different parts of Northeast Asia, including Taiwan, China, South Korea, and Japan.

The theme of the 1998 Biennial is "desire." Since the first Biennial in 1992, the exhibition's contents have matured substantially; this marks the first international exhibition with foreign curators and artists.

The sudden shift from rapid economic growth and prosperity to deep economic crises and political unrest has deeply shaken the Northeast Asian region as the 21st century looms. Focusing its vision on desire as a generating force behind the society and world in which we live, the 1998 Biennial examines from various angles the changing chaotic shape and dynamism of today's cities, seeking new potential sources of energy for the future. Through the theme of desire, it also considers various contemporary social issues such as fashion, consumerism, identity, gender, and the conflict between tradition and modernity, while at the same time aiming to raise them to the level of universal questions regarding the true nature of culture and human existence.

The Biennial will be made up of works from a broad range of genres, and will include painting, sculpture, and media related work as well as installation pieces designed specifically for the exhibition space. The ages, experiences, and backgrounds of the artists too are diverse. The manner of displaying the works in the Biennial has two special characteristics. Firstly, the exhibition space is not limited to the 1st and 2nd floors, but is expanded to include the foyer, courtyard, and outside walls and outside museum spaces. Together, the number of works on display outside the building alters the external look of the museum. Secondly, regarding the exhibition rooms inside the museum, separate space has been allocated to teach artist as far as possible by respecting each artist's creative world.

We believe that the Biennial will lead to a reaffirmation of the historical and cultural ties shared by the different parts of Northeast Asia, which have formed unique cultures under the strong influence of modern West and the heritage of Asian thoughts, as well as promote further mutual understanding and cooperation among these regions.

Commissioner's Statement

A Century of Desire

Asia is aglow today.

Asia destructs, constructs, and transforms.

Asias cities are seeking a new post-colonial identity as they sculpt modernity. It economies have grown, heated up and contracted. Its politics are in turmoil and its democracies are beginning to take on unique shapes. All of these aspects are also a sign of Asias dynamism. Tradition is being re-examined and reborn as well as being creatively transmitted. Western modernity is learned from, studied, copied, and denied.

Behind the dynamism and motivation to advance lies mankinds insatiable desire. Desire sparks the pursuit of new fashions, automobiles, modern homes, computers in short, a pleasant life.

Desire lies at the root of all things. The desires of human beings, state, and ethnic groups or races triggered major wars in the 20th century. Desire also led mankind to great inventions and discoveries. The collapse of communism and the prosperity brought by capitalism are also an inevitable result of human desire. Desire changes daily life, changes cities, and even changes economics and politics. From a religious perspective, it represents worldly attachment, as well as karma. But it is also a wellspring for human progress and potential.

Focusing on desire as a driving force behind Asia's cities and peoples, a force that is transforming the region, the Biennial introduces contemporary Northeast Asian art that depicts Asia today. (by NANJO Fumio, Commissioner)

Outline of the exhibition

Exhibition title: 1998 Taipei Biennial “Site of Desire”

Dates: June 13-September 6, 1998 (Public view)

Press Opening: June 12, 1998

Place: Taipei Fine Arts Museum

181, ZhongShan N. Road, Sec. 3, Taipei, Taiwan

Organized by: Taipei Fine Arts Museum

General Commissioner: LIN Munlee

Commissioner: NANJO Fumio

Associate Curators: MIKI Akiko, CHANG Fangwei


Artists and Works

More than thirty artists from around Northeast Asia, including Taiwan, South Korea, China, and Japan are scheduled to take part. No restrictions were placed on the age, experience or background of the participants, and so the exhibition includes prominent artists who have participated in numerous international shows and younger artists whose work is being shown internationally for the first time. The genres include not only painting, and the media related works, but also billboards, banners, and balloons, as well as specially commissioned photographs for the exhibition. Some of the works may be installed around Taipei City. Moreover, a special project involving some of the artist is planning as an opening event.


A bilingual catalogue was published. Essays from critics or scholars about issues connected with the exhibition's theme was included.

For Further information, please contact:


181, ZhongShan N. RD., Sec. 3,

Taipei, Taiwan

Tel: 886-2-2595-7656



Twin Bldg. Daikanyama B-102, 30-8 Sarugaku-cho

Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150 JAPAN

Tel: 81-3-3780-0491

Fax: 81-3-3780-0753

Participating Artists (alphabetical order / As of March 25, 1998. Subject to change)


CAI Guoqiang

GU Dexin

LIN Yilin

WANG Qingsong

XU Bing

XU Tan


and others


ARAKI Nobuyoshi

OZAWA Tsuyoshi





SUDA Yoshihiro


YANAGI Yukinori



CHOI Jeongwha

JUNG Bocsu

KIM Beom

KIM Sora

OH Hyoungkuhn

YUN Suknam

and others


CHEN Chiehjen


HO Chungming

HUANG Chinho

LIU Shihfen

TSAI Hairu

WANG Junjieh

WU Mali

WU Tienchang

and others