Refracted Modernity

Refracted Modernity: Visual Culture and Identity in Colonial Taiwan has developed from the international conference ‘Refracted Colonial Modernity in the Art and Design of Taiwan’ (2001: National Museum of History, Taipei). Led by Dr Yuko Kikuchi, TrAIN Senior Research Fellow, the project includes a further eight national and international participants:

Professor Chao-ching [Chaoqing] Fu (National Cheng Kung University), Dr Chia-yu Hu (National Taiwan University), Dr Kaoru Kojima (Jissen Women’s University), Ming-chu [Mingzhu] Lai (Chung-yuan University), Dr Hsin-tien Liao (Taiwan National University of Arts), Dr Naoko Shimazu (Birkbeck College, University of London), Professor Toshio Watanabe (TrAIN), Dr Chuan-ying Yen (Academia Sinica)

The Study of Taiwanese art as an independent disciplinary entity that is separate from Chinese art is a recent phenomenon. In the context of postcolonial studies Taiwan’s case is unique on account of its experience of colonization by a non-western country: Japan.

Taiwan adds different dimensions and complexities to current studies on colonialism in relation to modernity, which have been established primarily on the model of non-western countries colonized by Euroamerican countries. Modernity and identity in Taiwanese visual culture emerged in the cross-cultural complexity that Japanese colonization engendered. Their formation involves a range of interdependent cultural transfers and appropriations between Europe, Japan and Taiwan.

A collection of essays by project participants, edited by Yuko Kikuchi, was published by the University of Hawai’i Press in August 2007.

An exhibition takes place in Taipei in 2008.