It is the objective of the Ministry of Culture to establish a national museum of comics. Therefore, many projects have been launched and are now underway to actively research and study Taiwanese and international histories of comics. These projects aim to collect, sustainably preserve and promote valuable historical materials and assets of Taiwanese comics. They demonstrate the efforts of constructing the history of Taiwanese comics and preparing the establishment of a national museum of comics. As a first-class arts and cultural institution under the Ministry of Culture, the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (Ntmofa) understands that comics has become one of the most circulated, influential forms of cultural communication and artistic creation, and many major art museums in the world have now defined comics as the “ninth art.” In May of last year, the British Museum presented The Citi Exhibition Manga マンガ, which has been the largest international exhibition of comics to date as well as the second major exhibition that featured comics in a museum with international prestige after the Louvre in France. This exhibition presented by the British Museum not only explored how comic art, as a unique creative form, has taken root and grown in Japan, but also traced the trajectory of Japanese manga in the world, examining how it has swept the globe, given rise to extensively popular cultural phenomena and deeply impacted contemporary art. In response to the thinking wave and perspectives, Ntmofa has endeavored in exploring and examining the interweaving histories of Taiwanese comics and Taiwanese modern and contemporary art while surveying the influence of Taiwan’s comic culture on the society today. The objective of this endeavor is to map out the relationship between contemporary art and the anime/comic culture through analysis and research. To do so, curator Lo He-Ling is commissioned to research on the topic of Permeable Dimension Wall: Taiwan – Japan Comic Aesthetics and Contemporary Art Exhibition and curate a homonymous special exhibition based on his research results to enhance the public’s perception and participation in the art of comics.
This exhibition extracts samples from Taiwanese comics and Japanese manga, and rethinks the intersections in the current anime/comic culture through various phenomena on the internet while forming a comparison between Taiwan and Japan to examine the influence of Japanese anime/manga culture on the development of Taiwan’s comics. Anime/comic culture has become one of the most important cultural forms of entertainment around the globe. After the emergence of social media, the anime/comic culture has produced various phenomena, which enable comics to move beyond the authorial framework and facilitate the “encounter” between comic works and their readers. Such encounter, like it is discussed in Nicolas Bourriaud’s theory of relational aesthetics,” leads to the activity of “recreation” by readers or those who appreciate comics, engendering various types of translation, co-creation or derivative work. Because of online communities, comics begins to permeate the dimension wall, rendering the two-dimensional world reachable; and in the future, one might even be able to traverse the barrier of the dimension wall. This exhibition features twenty-eight comic and contemporary artists from Taiwan and eleven ones from Japan. Moreover, three large installations are co-created by three groups of paired comic artists and new media artists. It is hoped that the diverse and enriched forms of exhibition can break down the boundary between NTMFA’s different audience groups, and in addition to exploring the permeation of dimension wall in the anime/comic culture, dissolve the dividing frameworks between popular culture and contemporary art for all to re-imagine the possible future of Taiwanese comic culture.
Director of Ntmofa
Early autumn of 2020