…And there was a bit of a ruckus! I’m kidding, I totally didn’t. My Friday night was spent waiting for a delivery of organic yogurt (the dairy product subscription service I’m trying out keeps really strange hours). But the enigmatic subject of The Abandoned Boudoir clearly had a much more interesting evening than I did.
The Abandoned Boudoir is an installation organized by Asialink at the University of Melbourne and curated by Marisia Lukaszewski. It takes place at the Home Hotel in Xinyi District (near Neo 19) until Nov. 2 and was brought in to run at the same time as the Taipei World Design Expo and IDA Congress. (For even information about how to visit The Abandoned Boudoir, please see my Taipei Times article).
The installation changes from day to day as Marisia creates a narrative about the woman who inhabits the hotel room. Viewers are left to imagine what transpired just before she left and what kind of person she is. The Abandoned Boudoir gives viewers a chance to see work from 22 Australian artists and designers, but at the same time walking into the space (small groups of about 10 people are admitted at a time) feels voyeuristic and slightly transgressive. We see the inhabitant’s lipstick, worn down to a stub, her perfume, her jewelry and slippers abandoned by the side of a rumpled bed. There are drawings taped to walls and half-empty wine glasses left next to dirty ashtrays.
Many of the pieces blur the line between fine art and design. Artist Andrew Nicholls‘ bedsheets, for example, were created with home textile maker Third Drawer Down and features a drawing called ” Some Demons, White Australians.” Inspired by the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, it shows human limbs enmeshed with insect and animal bodies and comments on the European colonization of Australia.
One of Marisia’s goals is to showcase Australian art and design (The Abandoned Boudoir has already traveled to Beijing and Bangkok and is tentatively scheduled to tour to India next) while making a comment on consumerism and the meanings people ascribe to the items they purchase and surround themselves with. I enjoyed talking to her and Andrew about their work, especially because I think there are a lot of parallels between Australia and Taiwan’s design scenes. Taiwan’s design industry is still very young, but the Taiwanese government is betting that the design industry will continue to flourish — the Taipei World Design Expo was launched in part to promote Taiwan design, which the government hopes will help increase this country’s soft power and international profile as manufacturing jobs are lost to China and southeast Asia (for more information about the expo, please read my recent Taipei Times article).
When I interview designers here, they often talk about how they feel as if it is their duty to help this country establish a cohesive aesthetic identity that blends elements from Taiwan’s multi-layered history, but also has a universal appeal. At the same time, of course, each artist and designer wants to promote their own point of view (and, of course, make a living). Many Taiwanese artists and designers also explore the same themes as the works featured in The Abandoned Boudoir, including the impact of colonialism on national and individual identity. I highly recommend the exhibit — for reservation information, please see my Taipei Times article. I have more photos of the installation on Flickr.
The Abandoned Boudoir 是一個很親密的裝置藝術, 管理者Marisia把一間飯店房間改成一位很神祕女生的私人空間，目的是讓參觀者自己想像她是什麼樣子的人。