The Asia Society Triennial is the first of its kind to be initiated in the United States. The triennial involves innovations, art, and ideas that focus on contemporary art in Asia and the Asian diaspora. It provides a deep insight in Asian culture, which can be surprising for Europeans. This way, the purpose of this paper is to analyse the organization, including its goals and issues addressed in the Asia Society Triennial, and present the works, which left unforgettable impression.
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Goals of the Asia Society Triennial’s Organizers
This triennial’s goals are mainly based on the desire to build a bridge in the understanding of the diversity of art and culture of Asians. In the current modern state, tribalism and growing authoritarianism have unravelled the preserved historical ties and cultures1 (Asia Society, 2020). Citizens have been grouped based on religion, gender, ethnic groups, sexual, and social classes2 (Asia Society, 2020). Straaten (2020)3 discusses that the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic across the world has ironically shown how people are deeply dependent on the global networks of resources and ideas, with the economy being affected greatly. The triennial aims at attesting the power that art has in resisting the desire to isolate from each other, especially during the tough times of the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, the triennial seeks to foster a belief in the role of art through its ability to adapt to the paradoxes and contradictions of the complex global society4 (Asia Society, 2020). They should not be obstacles to the art’s ability to illuminate the connection of humanity.
Issues Addressed by Artists in the Asia Society Triennial
The Asia Society Triennial allows creators to address multiple issues. Asia Society (2020)5 indicates that different artists were selected for the triennial, bringing on board their creative art. Kimsooja had a desire to go beyond general societal confining definitions related to the environment, aesthetics, geopolitics, and gender. To realize this, he used multifaceted practices that were comprised of performances, the use of video, photography, and site-specific installations with light and sound. These works stretch to the domains of experiential and conceptual available in the surroundings. This serves as an intervention that responds to the existential concerns of self and humanity. On the other hand, Jordan Nassar’s works present imaginary landscapes that connect craft with a concept. He was inspired to engage with the Palestinian traditional decorative motifs. In his art, Jordan uses the same to address the existing history and hierarchies influencing Palestinians who live in the West Bank and the imagination of the Palestinians who have already left.
Works That Left an Impression from the Triennial
Some of the works presented by the artists during the triennial have had a great impression on me. After Darkness: Southeast Asian Art in the Wake of History is one of them. It aims to identify the role of art in changing the world through a response to challenging times. A group of artists from Indonesia, Vietnam, and Myanmar had experienced socio-political transitioning from their societies. The influence of Indonesian artists developed powerful work after the turmoil and violence experienced in Indonesia, in 1998. This intervention resulted in the transitioning of a democratic state, showing how significant art is. The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove is another meaningful work presented in Asia Society. This group of well-educated Chinese men chose to distance themselves from political upheaval and concentrate on art. The disheartening levels of corruption caused this vital decision of abandoning the government position. As a result, this Chinese group started being associated with withdrawal from public life. These two works are driven by the desire to have an ethically positive society.
We Do Not Dream is the first edition of The Asia Society Triennial and presents a multi-venue exhibition. It reveals the specifics of Asian culture and contrasts the contemporary art and diaspora and addressed multiple issues in this regard. As for me, I may highlight the works After Darkness: Southeast Asian Art in the Wake of History and The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove as the most prominent ones.
Asia Society. (2020). After darkness: Southeast Asian art in the wake of history. Web.
Asia Society. (2020). Seven sages of the bamboo grove. Web.
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Asia Society. (2020). Asia society New York. Web.
Straaten, L. (2020). A first-time survey of Asian art gets a second chance to dazzle. The New York Times. Web.
- Asia Society. (2020). After darkness: Southeast Asian Art in the wake of history
- Asia Society. (2020). Seven sages of the Bamboo Grove
- Straaten, L. (2020). A first-time survey of Asian Art gets a second chance to dazzle
- Asia Society. (2020). Asia Society New York
- Asia Society. (2020). Asia Society New York