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    The body, politics and rebellion in Taiwanese arts from the 1980s to the mid-1990s

    Yu, Wei (2020) The body, politics and rebellion in Taiwanese arts from the 1980s to the mid-1990s. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    This thesis examines the way in which a specific kind of body-centred subversive arts and avant-garde movement developed in Taiwan from the 1980s to the mid-1990s, a period that spanned roughly five years before the lifting of martial law (1987) to five years after the Wild Lily Student Movement (1990). These two socio-political events formed a seminal backdrop for both avant-garde art and subversive arts practices. This was also the period that witnessed the institutionalisation of Taiwan’s art world, the rise of ‘Taiwan Consciousness’ (Taiwan yishi), the Nativist Movement (bentuhua yungdong) and the emergence of a society moving towards neoliberal capitalism. In this period of transition, the subversive arts experienced complicated changes in terms of their objects and approaches, which shifted from explicit socio-political subjects to abstract institutions. Rather than undertaking a comprehensive historical investigation, what I present in this thesis is five interwoven narratives from the cultural and artistic landscape of this specific period. First, that of the Conceptual Performing Arts scene in the early 1980s, represented by the artists Chen Chieh-jen, Lee Ming-sheng, Hou Chun-ming and the River-Lo Concept Expression group. Second, that of the body politics-focused subversive arts practices derived from the Wild Lily Student Movement, as exemplified by the art group Taiwan Documenta, underground zines such as Toilet Paperand Da-bien News, and the left-wing cultural journal, Isle Margin. Third, the story of the engagement between fine art circles and underground scenes in the early 1990s, in particular the curator-orientated, environmental art-focused thematic exhibitions, as shown at the Taipei County Culture Centre and the revisions of the Taipei County Fine Arts Exhibition from 1993 to 1995. Fourth, the emergence of an ‘underground noise scene’ in the early 1990s, as represented by the noise bands LTK Commune and Z.S.L.O., and two editions of the Taipei Broken Life Festival. Fifth, an image narrative of roaming, drifting and floating presented in the works of Hou Chun-ming and Yao Jui-chung in the 1990s, which suggested a specific kind of frustrated and frustrating subject of rebellion that echoed the aesthetic gesture of the avant-garde and subversive arts at that time. By examining these five narratives and the way they were intertwined, this thesis argues that a specific kind of body-centred artistic practice shaped the overlapping history between the avant-garde and subversive arts in Taiwan from the 1980s to the mid-1990s.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2021 16:31
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 15:00


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