A Never-Ending Search for Identity National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts Initiating a Dialogue between Lithuanian and Taiwanese on Photography

The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (NTMoFA) is pleased to present two exhibitions "Uncoverings: the Search for Identity in Lithuanian Photography" curated by the Lithuanian National Museum of Art (LNDM) and “Covered Reality: Archival Orientation and Identity in Taiwanese Contemporary Photography" curated by the NTMoFA, an astounding collaboration of exhibitions in dialogue that initiates interactions in art and culture between the two countries. Both exhibitions will open on 9 April 2022, and a joint opening ceremony will be held on 10 April. For art and culture lovers, especially those with an interest in Lithuanian photography, this is a rare opportunity of international artistic exchange that should not be missed.

The opportunity for cross-national exchange between the two museums is a result of the friendship brought about by the plight of the COVID-19 pandemic. But perhaps the more important cause contributing to the successful organizing of the exhibition is the similarity between Lithuania and Taiwan's historical and international situation, as well as the shared belief in humanitarianism. In face of the tension created by the current war between Russia and Ukraine, Lithuania, which had struggled to emerge from the Soviet Union's Iron Curtain, has declared a state of emergency and condemned Russia through various diplomatic initiatives in support of Ukraine. The street of the Russian Embassy in Lithuania is even renamed as “Ukrainian Heroes' Street” to serve as an expression of their unshakable belief in freedom and peace, and as a tribute to the heroes who have resisted violence of the Russian authoritarian regime. Under this context, to present “Uncoverings: the Search for Identity in Lithuanian Photography” curated by the LNDM is now of great significance; it entails a profound scrutiny of the world's current changes in the light of historical images. The theme of the exhibition revolves around the search for the Lithuanian identity and related cultural issues. 87 works by 21 artists are featured, presenting a chronological account of the historical progress and development of photography in Lithuania from the 1950s to the present day. The exhibition highlights the transformation of Lithuanian photography from realism to conceptual expressionism; it spans the repression and resistance of the gloomy and metaphorical photographic ideologies of the Soviet era, the rise of political movements, the pursuit of liberal consciousness and emerging themes, and the conceptual exploration of photography in a free and open atmosphere. The three main themes traverse historical contexts and time, presenting the development of photography across three generations. The exhibition mainly features the museum's photography collection and will provide and enrich the audience's understanding not only of Lithuanian photography but also of its culture and history.

    In response to the collection of artworks and curatorial focus of “Uncoverings: the Search of Identity in Lithuanian Photography”, in-house curator Jay Chun-Chieh LAI at the NTMoFA curated “Covered Reality: Archival Orientation and Identity in Taiwanese Contemporary Photography" which also features mainly the collection of photography of the NTMoFA and the National Center of Photography and Images (NCPI). The exhibition invites 15 artists with artistic practice echoing the theme to exhibit their photography and mixed media works. The artworks on view are important works of contemporary Taiwanese art photography since the 1990s. It explores multiple and complex issues of cultural identity through “(un-)covering” image archives, exhibiting artworks such as Chen Chieh-Jen’s early digitally-edited works, Wu Tien-Chang's mixed media installations, and Mei Dean-E's digital print compiled using old photographs. Together with the diverse perspectives of the younger generation of artists confronting the theme of “identity”, this is a dialogue on the history of modern to contemporary photography in Lithuania, in the light of the current situation of contemporary photography in Taiwan.

“Uncoverings: the Search for Identity in Lithuanian Photography" and “Covered Reality: Archival Orientation and Identity in Taiwanese Contemporary Photography" at the NTMoFA will run until 3 July 2022, and will tour to the NCPI, Taipei, in September this year. The NTMoFA hopes that the interactions and exchanges explored through the two museums' collections and curatorial perspectives can establish a deeper and long-term artistic and cultural connection and conceive more possibilities for future exchanges as long-term partners.

For information on the exhibition and promotional activities, please refer to the official website of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts at http://www.ntmofa.gov.tw .