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Changing Landscape—Art Exhibitions for Two Centenaries in Taiwan’s History and their Political Connotations

Abstract

Art history in Taiwan is going through a turn of its course, as the consequence of the rising awareness of Taiwanese-ness and divergent discourses. Such a turn was particularly reflected in the curatorial direction of art exhibitions for two centenaries in Taiwan’s history, one for ROC’s 100th National Birthday, one for Taiwan Culture Association’s 100th anniversary. In the celebrating art events displaying landscape paintings, themes looking in the exploration of nature, the gazes of colonizers, and surveys of lands were first considered as a part of the national identity. This study first introduces the political climate during the time each of these centenaries was taking place. Then it brings out issues upon territorial claims in history and how these issues had been integrated into the themes of landscape paintings. This study also reviews how plein air painting, promoted as modern art by Japanese colonizers, became a way for Taiwanese artists’ pursuit of subjectivity. And after looking into artworks and curatorial statements of several art exhibitions in Taiwan, this thesis further analyzes how the curatorial tasks contextualized the nation’s aspiration to decolonize through developing national narrative other than Sino-centric view.