Fissparous—Taiwan 2019

National Cheng Kung University, Tainan City, Taiwan

A nine-day pop-up show called “Fissiparous” organized by NCKU Art Center, and conceived by Dr. Lycia Trouton, is highlighted by Trouton’s masterpiece, “The Irish Linen Memorial.”

This artwork has been staged at different places around the globe. “It is the second display Trouton has made in Asia in addition to the previous exhibition in Hangzhou three years ago. We are happy that NCKU Gallery has the honor of being selected as the first place in Taiwan to exhibit “The Irish Linen Memorial’,” said the curator, Dr. Ming Turner.

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Even though the space in NCKU Gallery had the capacity for only a third of the artworks prepared, Dr. Trouton still viewed the exhibition with satisfaction. “I was impressed by the students from the Department of Architecture who installed a panel for me to hang up more handkerchiefs,” she said.

The arrangement of “Fissiparous” is very eye-popping. In the NCKU Gallery, the handkerchiefs are not only hung on a panel, but also on French windows that surround the audience. The viewers of the pop-up show can find the statues “Swooping” which created by Taiwanese artist Ju Ming by looking through the windows with handkerchiefs.

According to Dr. Trouton, the relation between the “The Irish Linen Memorial” and the “Swooping” is quite interesting, since the former represents the idea of “counter-monument”, while the latter holds a completely different concept. In other words, “The Irish Linen Memorial” focuses on portable or light material to remind the past, while the “Swooping” statues are made by heavy material such as bronze and steels. In this way, viewers can think further about these two pieces of art, in juxtaposition.

In addition to the unique space arrangement in the “Fissiparous” exhibition, the textile used in “The Linen Memorial” provides profound meaning as well. First of all, the linen suggests the links to the colonial textile industry. Secondly, some of the linen handkerchiefs’ edges are sown with hairs as a sign of mourning, indicating the loss of life. Finally, linen symbolizes healing of the trauma left by violent sectarianism or civil strife, since it is used as a material for covering the wound. That is, the cloth of art is viewed as not only a beginning of recovery, but also a call for peace.

Dr. Trouton presented at the opening reception, held in NCKU Gallery, to speak to viewers of the touching stories and art strategies behind her works.

The thought-provoking pop-up exhibition gave viewers a further look into the historical issue in Northern Ireland.

Original review by Zoe Chen

Edited by Sarah Norrad