Taipei in the Paintings Special Exhibition of a Young Man from Dadaocheng, Kuo Hsueh Hu
Article｜Department of Information and Tourism, Taipei City Government
Photos｜Liu Jiawen, Luo Ruoli
Walking into Taipei City Hall’s west entrance, you’ll see an almost 5-meter-tall painting right in front of you. This is Festival on South Street (南街殷賑), a classic work of artist, Kuo Hsueh Hu (郭雪湖), part of an on-going show called Special Exhibition of a Young Man from Dadaocheng, Kuo Hsueh Hu (畫中台北―大稻埕少年郭雪湖特展). The exhibit displays reproductions of Kuo’s paintings, as well as related historical photos, and the painting tools he employed. The interactive multimedia will allow people to enter the glorious world of Dadaocheng in Kuo’s paintings.
Transcend Time and Space to See the Good Old Days
Born in Dadaocheng, Kuo contributed enormously to the development of fine arts and talents in Taiwan. The theme of this exhibition is “Kuo at an early age.” Among the artifacts, the most eye-catching piece is the exquisite and colorful gouache painting: Festival on South Street. This painting describes the joyful and crowded scene in front of Xia Hai City God Temple (霞海城隍廟) during Ghost Festival (中元節). The painting’s signboards, buildings, characters and merchandise charmingly reflect prosperous scenes of life in Dadaocheng.
This exhibition has also invited literature and history scholars, Chen Roujin (陳柔縉) and Juang Youngming (莊永明) to explain the imagery in Festival on South Street. For example, in the painting, one sees a store with “Club” written on it, and two crossed cues as well; this was actually a typical upscale entertainment venue back then: a Billiard Hall. The “Keep Left” sign reminds us that traffic used to proceed on the left in old Taipei. The movie playing at Yongle Theater (永樂座): Burning of the Red Lotus Temple (火燒紅蓮寺) was a box office hit at that time. The papaya candy, bananas and pineapples in the painting represent the image Japanese held of Taiwan as a tropical country. Some old stores in the painting are actually still doing business today. If you want to know what other secrets are hidden in the painting, just click on the multimedia touch screen at the exhibition; out will pop corresponding descriptions of what you are looking at.
Next, another Kuo painting: West Gate in the Old Days (昔日西門情景) appears in motion! Just wave your hands and you’ll be part of a market scene where vendors are carrying loads on shoulder poles across the pushcart tracks, or energetically doing business with customers by the rails. There are 15 reproductions in the exhibit, including Scenery near Yuan-Shan (圓山附近), which won the Special Selection Prize at the Second Taiwan Art Exhibition, and After a Rain (新霽), which shows a typical Zhi Shan Yan (芝山巖) scene.
If you want an introduction to the Taipei in Kuo’s paintings, please come visit the Discovery Center of Taipei (台北探索館)!
Taipei in the Paintings: Special Exhibition of a Young Man from Dadaocheng, Kuo Hsueh Hu
From now until Feb. 28, 2018 (Wed.) 09:00~17:00 (Closed on Mondays and holidays)
Special Exhibitions Hall, Discovery Center of Taipei ( 1st and 2nd floors, No. 1, City Hall Rd., Xinyi Dist.)
1999 # 8630
No photography, food, pets, long stick umbrellas or dangerous items are allowed in the exhibition.
Taipei City’s Department of Information and Tourism recommends purchasing three souvenirs featuring designs from Kuo’s paintings. These are the Festival on South Street backpack ($630), a set of five file folders ($199), and the 2018 desk calendar ($250). If you like any of these, don’t miss the chance to take them home!
The Sales Center of City Hall’s Publications and Souvenirs (left side of Ren’ai Road entrance, Taipei City Hall.)
Mon. to Fri.: 09:00~17:00
Sat. & Sun.:11:00~17:00