International Relations – A Trip to Art Taipei

Nov 27, 2023 |

By Ho Sou Ping

Representing Art Galleries Association Singapore (AGAS), I had the privilege of visiting Taipei for ART TAIPEI, hosted by the Taiwan Art Gallery Association (TAGA). The journey commenced with a warm welcome pack in my hotel room. On the next day of my arrival, we visited the Jut Art Museum and had a delightful lunch after.

Exploring the Jut Art Museum unveiled a diverse array of art forms, from digital to installations, reshaping my perception of art from a mere focus on aesthetics to a broader consideration of humanities.

This experience underscored Taiwan's advanced Art Ecosystem, revealing areas where Singapore can enhance its standing. Particularly intriguing was how some artists made their livelihood, relying on commissions and exhibitions, unlike what I’m familiar with, which is a system of private patronage through purchase of works. Noteworthy was the museum's owner, a property developer ingeniously integrating art into public spaces, posing challenges in programming and marketing. This prompts reflection on potential innovative collaborations and creative space utilisation for Singaporean corporations in the art sector.

At Art Taipei, I noticed a notable shift in curation from my previous visits, with a predominant focus on manga-themed exhibits, reflecting evolving art trends.

Encountering the work of an artist that I like, Tang Jo-Huang, prompted me to explore his creations further.

Despite an after-party that showcased the fair participants' remarkable enthusiasm and stamina, I found myself exhausted, contrasting with the extensive walking earlier in the day.

I also had the opportunity to attend a seminar, titled "Appraisal Practice Forum." The speakers from Korea talked about how they figure out the value and authenticity of artworks. Not only that, there are taxes on inheritance and capital gains which requires a well-structured approach for these appraisals. These include legal frameworks, institutional administration, and education for certified professionals.

Interestingly, the Taiwanese association is actively working to establish similar frameworks. I was astounded to learn that the Korean Art Market boasts a staggering annual size of 740 million USD, highlighting the vast scale compared to Singapore, where reaching 30 million seems ambitious. Moreover, I discovered that in Taiwan, art is exempt from GST, offering intriguing insights into industry practices and policies that Singapore could potentially learn from and adapt.

The seminar was followed by lunch where I had the opportunity to interact with representatives from Hong Kong and Indonesia. It is important for the art gallery associations in Asia Pacific to establish ties with one another so that there could be more international cooperation going forward.