Wang Jun-Jieh

Jun-Jieh Wang was born in 1963 in Taipei, Taiwan. In 1996, Wang graduated from the HdK Art Academy in Berlin, completing a master class (supervised by Valie Export and Heinz Emigholz). In 1984, he started working with video, and became one of the pioneers of new media art in Taiwan. Jun-Jieh Wang is currently professor and chairperson at the Department of New Media Art of the Taipei National University of the Arts.

In the years from 1984 and 1989 in Taiwan, in additional to writing film, theatre and culture criticisms in the major newspapers, Jun-Jieh Wang also collaborated with famous groups such as Notes Theater, U-Theatre, Rive-Gauche and Environmental Desolation Theater Group, and provided artistic direction for works including Earthquake, October and Dr. Faustus. In 1991, at the invitation of the Hong Kong avant-garde theatre group Zuni Icosahedron, Wang and German artist Klaus Weber jointly created installation works for The Revolutionary Opera, a programme of the Hong Kong Theatre Festival, which were exhibited at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

Jun-Jieh Wang received the Hsiung-Shih New Artists Award in 1984 in Taiwan. In 1995, Wang received the Berlin Television Tower Award for his video installation Little Mutton Dumpling for the Thirteenth Day. In a review, Der Tagesspiegel wrote: “The Taiwanese new media artist Jun-Jieh Wang wishes….to expose the madness of advertising through irony, exaggerations and improbabilities…The commercial clip aesthetics demonstrates Far Eastern precision.” In 2000, Jun-Jieh Wang was selected by the prestigious Japanese art magazine “Bijutsu Techo” as one of “100 notable artists”. In 2002, Wang was commissioned by the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum to create the public video installation Twin Cities. In the same year, he was the subject of a 30-minute NHK documentary “Asian Who’s Who”, which was aired on NHK’s global channel. In 2009, he received the one million NTD Taishin Arts Award in the visual art category for his video installation David’s Paradise.

Jun-Jieh Wang has been active on the international contemporary art arena from an early stage. Invitations to major international exhibitions came from, among others, the American Film Institute Video Festival, the Gwangju Biennale, the Venice Biennale, the Johannesburg Biennale, “Cities on the Move” at the Vienna Secession, Taipei Biennial, the First Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, West Bund Biennial Shanghai, Ars Electronica Linz, Transmediale Berlin, Dogo Onsen Art and European Media Art Festival etc.

In recent years, Wang has also worked as an independent curator. In 2004, he curated “Navigator: Digital Art in the Making”, the first exhibition to introduce digital art to Taiwan on a large scale. Encompassing the classic works of digital art since the 1990s, it stimulated the discussion on technological art in Taiwan. His main work as curator and exhibition designer includes: “Faces of the Time” (National Palace Museum, 2002), “The Post-Stone Age” (Art Taipei 2005), “B!AS: International Sound Art Exhibition” (Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 2005) , “2006 Taipei Biennial: Dirty Yoga” (Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 2006) , “The Grand Illusion – International New Media Arts Festival” (Culture Gallery at National Concert Hall, 2009), “The 4th Taipei Digital Art Festival” (MOCA Taipei, 2009) , “Videonale: Dialogue in Contemporary Video Art” (National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, 2011), “Transjourney: 2012 Future Media Festival” (Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, TNUA, 2012) etc.

Wang’s work in interdisciplinary theatre and design in recent years includes: serving as Staging Visual Director for the Taiwan premiere of Wagner’s complete opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen in collaboration with the National Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan in 2006; as Multimedia and Visual Director for the musical Turn Left, Turn Right based on Jimmy’s picture book in 2008, the closing performance of the Taipei Arts Festival (Taipei Arena); as Stage and Visual Designer for Mackay – The Black Bearded Bible Man (National Theater, 2009), Taiwan’s first original opera sung in Taiwanese dialect; co-directing the technological media theatre work L’Après-midi de la Gravité with Wang Chia-Ming in 2010; directing unmanned technological media theatre Sin City in 2013 and creating The Night of Sodom (Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 2015). 

Passion, 2017, 13’10

The fall of passion in the daily life of a lunatic. The story begins with the uncanny arrival of Hal, an astronaut, at an abandoned pier at sunset. Three sailors have wandered to the pier, filling the deserted pier with a flow of desire. The film set of Passion originates from German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1982 swansong Querelle. The short film also borrows imagery from other works by Fassbinder, French New Wave giant Jean-Luc Godard, and prematurely deceased fashion prodigy Alexander McQueen. Passion refers to both physical, sensual passion and artistic passion. When passion stops, all driving forces subsequently fade. What is strong enough to halt passion then? Just like death, the drive of carnal desires is no longer able to counter the visible external world. What is left are colourful yet hollow imaginations.