Visualising culture and gender: postcolonial feminist analyses of women’s exhibitions in Taiwan, 1996-2003
thesisposted on 15.12.2008, 15:26 by Ming-Hui Turner (nee Chen)
This thesis examines a selection of Taiwanese women’s exhibitions, held between 1996 and 2003. It explores the questions related to contemporary Taiwanese women’s art and how art exhibitions can demonstrate women’s role in the post-martial law period (since 1987) in the intersections of Taiwan’s culture, history, economy, social classes and its relationship with the rest of the globe. It investigates the particular perspectives that women artists (as the subordinate part of Taiwan’s patriarchal society) have contributed to the interpretation of the complex nature of Taiwanese presence. It also aims to identify a wide range of dimensions that women’s art exhibitions enable us to question women’s particular contribution to visualising the concepts and impact of what constitutes the multiple Taiwanese identities. The research is driven by a triangular relationship, consisting of theory, culture and art, in which each element influences the other two. As my focus is on the ambivalent and hybridised culture of Taiwan, I have chosen specific postcolonial and feminist theories to examine its art. I have categorised my thesis into three parts, covering six selected exhibitions. In Part I (Re-positioning History), I juxtapose both political and economic histories and examine issues related to national identity, nationalism, working-class women, industrialisation and Subaltern Studies. In the second Part (Colonial Heritage), my focus is centred on physical colonial space and on domestic micro space, where Homi Bhabha’s concepts of hybridity and in-betweenness are the main themes to address the ambiguity of Taiwanese conditions. In Part III (International Perspectives), my concern is the position of contemporary Taiwan, dealing with issues related to Westernisation, globalisation, urbanism and cyberspace. I argue that a new form of identity is generated in cyberspace and that women artists are visualising hybridised culture in the virtual world. Ultimately, I propose that Taiwanese women artists are contributing to the visualisation of a hidden but essential part of Taiwan’s historiography, as well as the shifting nature of contemporary Taiwanese culture, through which an open yet complex field is created for us to explore.
- The Arts, English and Drama