The role of the past can be seen all around us, especially in cities. The exhibition ‘Beneath the Surface’ in the Chiayi Art Museum in Taiwan helps the spectator by giving new perspectives on the connections around us. It teaches that by looking at the past, we can better understand the future ahead of us.
One of the connections it spotlights is between past and present, inspired by the Fountain Circle, a real fountain found in the city of Chiayi. In this exhibition, it becomes the starting point of different artworks. The fountain changes from a high-tech object available in the public space to something spiritual and unapproachable, that can only be appreciated from afar. This is visualized by hanging a symbolic fountain upside down and out of reach, and by arranging pebbles and green gems in a circle that represents the initial fountain, creating a contrast between past and present.
The exhibition aims to make visitors aware of the connections that shape our lives. By featuring everyday objects, visitors can relate to collective memories, to the past and the future, fact and fiction. Another artwork visualizes the connection between humans and nature, and how in the city the boundaries between them blur through city parks.
The exhibition aims to make the visitors think about conventional things in unconventional ways, by using ready-made objects as base materials for furniture. Another example is given by MISPLACE, an interactive digital artwork that allows the visitor to imagine themselves as water from the Hongmao Well, the oldest heritage site in Chiayi City. It encourages the visitor to see things from different angles, showing historical poems about the well, picturing the abstract notion of time and the convergence between yesterday and tomorrow. Water becomes the perfect starting point for the exhibition, as it is an element rich in nutrients from the past, essential to nurturing the future: just as the exhibition.
The ‘Beneath the Surface’ exhibition is organized by Taiwan Designers’ Web at the Chiayi Art Museum, in conjunction with Taiwan Design Expo 2021. The works are on display between December 18, 2021, and February 27, 2022.