Small is Bountiful: Margaret Shiu’s Contemporary Art Collection
Taipei Fine Arts Museum
Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) presents Small is Bountiful: Margaret Shiu’s Contemporary Art Collection, an exhibition featuring the art collection built over nearly four decades by Margaret Shiu, a propelling force of Taiwanese contemporary art and the founder of the Bamboo Curtain Studio.
Passing away last year (2021), Shiu was born in British Hong Kong in 1946, and moved to Taiwan in 1976. In 2021, she donated the artworks that she had collected over the years, including 43 artworks by 26 Taiwanese artists, ranging from ink painting, calligraphy, oil painting, print, photography, video and mixed media installation. This donation has contributed to the completion of the TFAM collection in terms of works by artists that have not yet been included in the museum’s collection, as well as phasal key pieces by artists that are already in the TFAM collection.
The very first artwork in her collection—Wu Hsueh-Jang’s A Gaggle of Geese, captured her heart with its blending of Eastern and Western ink expression, while serving as a symbol of Shiu’s cultural identity. Afterwards, in the 80s, through frequenting Spring Gallery, Studio of Contemporary Art (SOCA), and IT Park, Shiu became friends with various artists, among whom were Tsong Pu, Jun T. Lai, and Chen Hui-Chiao. She also became fond of collecting innovatively avant-garde and conceptual artworks.
The title of the exhibition, “Small is Bountiful,” echoes this collection donated by Shiu before her passing. Concentrating on smaller or single pieces from different series in Shiu’s collection, the TFAM focuses on the curating of the exhibition to tease out the connotation and context of this donation. Through referencing artworks from the same series in the TFAM collection, loaned pieces, and commissioned remakes by artists, the exhibition epitomizes and mirrors various changes and aspects of the Taiwanese contemporary art history.