Asia’s First Major LGBTQ Exhibition to Launch in Taipei

The groundbreaking Spectrosynthesis is united by a single theme: the spectrum of light

Ku Fu-sheng 顧福生_The Room at the Top of the Stairs  秘密房間_1983_91 x 127 cm_2746 x 3864 pixels.jpg
"The Room at the Top of the Stairs" by Fu-Sheng KU. Courtesy of Eslite Gallery

In May, Taiwan’s constitutional court struck down laws that define marriage as being between a man and a woman, paving the way for Taiwan to become the first Asian country to legally recognize same-sex marriage. On the heels of this historic moment, the Museum of Contemporary Art (or Moca) in Tapei has announced that it will launch an expansive exhibition devoted to the LGBTQ experience, Enid Tsui reports for the South China Morning Post.

Spectrosynthesis: Asian LGBTQ Issues and Art Now, which opens to the public in September, is the first major survey of LGBTQ-themed art in Asia. The groundbreaking exhibit, three years in the making, is also the first LGBTQ-themed show to run at a government museum on the continent, according to the press release.

It will span nearly 50 years of history, featuring 50 works by 22 artists, who hail from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, and North America. According to Gareth Harris of The Art Newspaper, the works are unified by a single theme: “the spectrum of light,” a nod to the rainbow, an LGBTQ symbol.

The exhibit is a collaboration between the Taipei Cultural Foundation, a government organization which manages Moca, and the Sunpride Foundation, a private organization that seeks to preserve and display LGBTQ art. Around half of the works that will be on display at Spectrosynthesis have been drawn from Sunpride’s collection.

Sunpride’s founder, Hong Kong businessman Patrick Sun Kai-yit, tells Tsui that Spectrosynthesis will explore sweeping topics like “identity, equality, the mass media’s hunt for novelty, social oppression, stigmatization, lust, and life and death.” The exhibition’s organizers did not dwell on the sexual orientation of the artists featured—“[T]hose who identify as heterosexual can also create art relevant to what we want to explore here,” Sun says—but many works were created by individuals who identify as LGBTQ.

There is, for instance, Singaporean artist Ming Wong, whose video installation Life and Death in Venice will be on display. The Chinese artist Xiyadie, who creates intricate, homoerotic art out of paper-cuts, will also be represented, as well as another Singaporean artist, Jimmy Ong. Ong's 2004 charcoal drawing Heart Sons is a particularly poignant choice for Spectrosynthesis, in light of Taiwan’s recent ruling on same-sex marriage. It depicts two men entwined together, holding a baby.

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