First published: Winter 2014
The work of self-taught artists from Taiwan became known to European audiences in 1997–98 when the exhibition “17 Naives from Taiwan” was presented at Halle Saint Pierre in Paris and later at the Musée de Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium. Through this exhibition, the public discovered, to their astonishment, some curious contemporary creations from this small island. In truth, the art that was shown was more art brut than naive art. The artists whose works were displayed were self-taught. Some of them, including Hung Tung and Lin Yuan, were illiterate.
Huang Qichun's personal temple, Fuxing district, photo by Remy Ricordeau
Discovering these Taiwanese creators through that exhibition piqued my interest and set me off on a journey of exploration in search of other artists from that East Asian country. I hoped to find unusual and unique built environments in Taiwan, those which the French writer Jacques Lacarrière described as being “inspired by the edge of the roads”.
After carrying out some research and contacting some Taiwanese friends, I found some striking results, which far exceeded my expectations. On my subsequent trip to Taiwan, I began to compile a “census” of sites built by self-taught artists on the island – an important index, which had not existed up until that point.
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #84