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Mali Wu and Francesco Manacorda named co-curators of next Taipei Biennale

Exhibition opening in November will explore grassroots communities

2018 Taipei Biennial Co-Curators, Mali Wu and Francesco Manacorda Taipei Fine Arts Museum

The Taipei Fine Arts Museum announced today that the 11th Taipei Biennale this fall will be co-curated by Mali Wu, an artist, curator and lecturer based in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and Francesco Manacorda, the former director of Tate Liverpool. This year's biennial debuts the approach of pairing a Taiwanese with an international curator, and is titled Life-support, living, survival system (17 November-10 March 2019). The topic explores interconnected ecosystems in grassroots communities. Hosted by TFAM since 1996, the Taipei Biennale is one of the main platforms driving Taiwan's artistic engagement internationally.

“The 2016 Taipei Biennial was a special conversation about genealogy and history, laying the foundation for the 11th biennial to consider the future, and to ponder the issues of the environment and survival that intimately involve you and me,” TFAM director Ping Lin said in a statement. “The Taipei Biennial 2018 will rethink the role of humanity, question the meaning of art, and extend the focal point to the resilience of our fragile world, as well as strategic mechanisms and technological methods, exploring the ways humankind can survive in the current age."

Lin highlighted Wu's prior projects at Plum Tree Creek, where she organised a collaborative community intervention about the ecology of an urban creek in New Taipei City, a sprawling suburb outside the Taiwanese capital, in 2011 to 2012. "We hope to build an interface and a mechanism for reflection, to achieve intercommunication between the arts and the natural environment, using our land as a specimen to produce examples of the interdependence between nature and the humanities and symbiosis between human activity and the natural environment...I am very excited to see how the Taipei Biennial can be a new kind of driving force for community driven intercultural collaboration.”

Wu, who lectures at National Kaohsiung Normal University, was initially nominated and suggested partnering with Manacorda, currently the artistic director of the V-A-C Foundation. Wu studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (the Arts Academy of the City of Düsseldorf) in Germany, and has been a feminist activist in Taiwan's avant-garde since the 1990s. Her politically pointed, community-based works and projects include Awake in Your Skin, subverting women's traditions of garment making, and Tropic of Cancer, promoting equality of cultural participation in rural Taiwan.

Manacorda studied at Italy's University of Turin and London's Royal College of Art, and during his tenure as curator of the Barbican Art Gallery from 2007 to 2009 his projects included the exhibition Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art and Radical Nature—Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet 1969-2009. He curated the Slovenian Pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennale and the New Zealand Pavilion at the 2009 Venice Biennale, and was a member of the International Jury for the 2013 Venice Biennale. He directed the Artissima art fair in Turin, Italy from 2010 to 2012, after which he moved to Tate Liverpool, where he co-curated the 2016 Liverpool Biennale.