Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chang Tsai, Fine Art Museum of Taiwan

We started the day with a visit to Taipei's Museum of Fine Art. Unlike when we visited at Christmas, Cai Guo and his exploding car extravaganza was not in situ; not was the hot tub full of strangers. Given the weather was chilly and damp, perhaps the second absence was a good thing.

There was an exhibition of work by Chang Tsai, a Taiwanese photographer, on the third floor; he'd spent several years in Shanghai after the second world war and it gave me a frisson of something odd to see photographs of the Metropole, when I'd stood in the same position less than a year ago. Some things don't change, despite the rush of development elsewhere.

And other things do; there's a photo he took of blackmarket chickens in Shanghai, poking their heads through the sides of a basket. I always knew better than to trust poultry; you turn your back for one minute and they start engaging in all sorts of fowl business practices. Thankfully the Chinese government has stamped out these corrupt chicken-based activities now, and it's been years since anything shady happened in China involving chickens.

Er. As long as you don't count the fake eggs in Shenzhen, of course.

He'd also taken a lot of photos of Taiwan's aboriginal people, including a rather strange one where the men are "wearing silver helmets".

Helmets usually sit on the head. These guys had enormous silver cones which covered all the way down to their shoulders, with a couple of small holes cut to look out of. I couldn't figure out if they were part of the Taiwanese Ned Kelly Appreciation Society, or if it was an early live-action pilot for Robostory. I had to buy a portfolio of the guy's work to be sure I wasn't imagining it all.

Later, we went to Danshiu, which I enjoyed, although I was so tired I forgot what country I was in. We saw lots of dogs and a man eating a meat cone; a delicious looking combination of a waffle cone and a heap of spaghetti bolognaise and cheese. That'll be good for you.

Master of all he surveys

Now we're trundling down to Shilin, where hopefully I won't lose my parents in the night market.


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