HU, Yung-Fen

Independent Curator

◆ With your professional knowledge of art, what do you care about the most when viewing an artwork?

It depends on how much you adore this piece of art, and miss it after heading home to the extent that you want to own it. I find this intuition the most important. To many collectors, the period of time spent with this piece of art is essential, but of course, because you like artworks, so relatively you will spend extra time on it. For example, you’d spend time learning art history and viewing more different art collections. Through this, you can understand what kinds of art have their originality, what kinds of artwork have an influence on the future, and what kinds of artwork can make their way into art history.

 

◆ Regarding art collection, what do you think of the relation between art fairs, galleries, artists, and collectors?

It’s not only about the art fairs, galleries, collectors, artists but also the whole ecosystem, such as artworks, curation, academic research, art history studies, and public collections. Each of them has its role and position in this ecosystem. And if they make the most out of themselves to bring out their own originality, they create the biggest possibility. To me, it will be better overall.

◆ In terms of contemporary art, what do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of Taiwan?

Taiwan has so many advantages. With Taiwan being such a small island, yet it has numerous talented and creative artists. To entire Asia, and to the entire gallery industry, Taiwan has always been the pioneer and the leader. Also, the collectors in Taiwan have the best quality, insights, ability to collect, and taste for art in Asia. These are the advantages that make Taiwan stand out. However, our disadvantage is under the pressure of other situations. In this constantly-changing international status, we lack confidence in ourselves. So among all these advantages, Taiwanese artists are relatively less valued, and this has a lot to do with our identity.

◆ What do you think are the prospects of Taiwan’s art market in the next decade

Taiwan is currently in an essential and rapidly changing situation. For example, we excel in the pandemic prevention measures, and once being recognized for only one of its accomplishments, Taiwan increases its visibility in the world. So, under such critical periods of time, we can perhaps be more optimistic toward the unknown changes Taiwan faces in the future. As mentioned, Taiwan’s success in pandemic prevention contributes to the steadiness of society. However, the whole world is confronting a major setback, and so is our industry. In this case, we notice that some galleries have perhaps shut down for a while, or have laid off employees. Some galleries even have difficulties operating. These are serious facts that we must recognize.

 

Optimistically speaking, people have come to understand that the world is changing at the same time. And there’s a great opportunity for change in the art market. Therefore, some policies have been proposed and brought under discussion by the citizens in Taiwan. For example, the amendment of the “Culture and Arts Reward Act” Is currently under discussion in the Legislative Yuan, and it provides numerous suggestions from the art industry to make adjustments to the current national policy in order to fight for the future. Taiwan has to create new advantages in this changing situation. It can find a more secured position in the global art industry such as the collectors’ art sales. Whether they are within galleries or on auctions, the taxes can be added to the individual income tax to be filed. Now we have reached a consensus to adopt the policy of “Tax Withheld at Source,” or “taxed separately.” This change, for the collectors to return to Taiwan’s market, and for the sales and the purchases in Taiwan, serves as a great encouragement. On the other hand, it’s about business taxes on import and export. The domestic business taxation for art has already been reformed, but there are still import and export business taxes which account for 5 percent of custom, and plus “Profit-seeking Enterprise Income Tax.” Only by canceling these two taxes can Taiwan become a functioning international organization in the Asian art market. This will encourage all to come to Taiwan. Due to this central change, the subjectivity of Taiwan’s identity will be enhanced, and opportunities for Taiwan to win its home advantage will be also created. This allows Taiwanese artists to show their home advantages instead of wandering aside and being marginalized in the world. This is our opportunity now.

◆ Your favorite (recently followed) artist/artwork?

The artist that has been on my mind is So Yo Hen. It has been a while since I last saw his artworks. Since his last work, “Hut,” which left me with a great impression, it has probably been 2 years since his last work. I really look forward to seeing his new series. The scale of his work might be much bigger now, therefore requiring more time to complete, so I really hope to see his new artwork soon.

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