1980年代後，因政治的逐漸鬆綁，社會開始尋找並建構屬於自身的認同，同時，台灣藝術家也在以藝術創作表現他們所思考自身的認同建構。如沒台味就沒滋味的李俊賢以畫面直接色彩的碰撞、甩(hue)的畫面紋理及島上的文化與歷史及自身的生活記憶為主軸，以神話加人類學創造極具個人特色的台味風格繪畫。謝宏明的新地誌學攝影(New topographic)則以拆解台南城市裡的語言、符號與空間，呈現重組後的機趣。方偉文，居住台南鄉間，擅長以日常生活之現成物，構築他記憶之國。陳伯義的新地誌學攝影(New topographic)以空間做為深掘文化與歷史的窗口，直視即將消逝的台南都市風景。黃逸民則關懷在現代化的巨輪下，都會逐漸消失身影的信仰文化，廟堂再詮釋吸引觀者反思宗教、文化與現代社會。紀紐約以台南歷史地圖及古地名為經緯，以作品深掘台南古都歷史中逐漸從記憶中消逝的聯境。倪瑞宏經過台南鹿耳門天后宮筊杯認證，擔任該廟廟會仙女。倪瑞宏的創作結合了宗教行為與創作，是在地宗教介入藝術的有趣例證。
“You are a Taiwanese. The Taiwanese sky is above you. You stand on Taiwanese ground. You behold Taiwanese scene. You hear information of Taiwan. You live Taiwanese experiences. You speak Taiwanese words. Hence, you love using sentimental pen to color Taiwanese literature.”—Huang Shi Hui (1930)
“Evoke” initially refers to the situation that the ancient monarch returned back to the palace after touring. Here, the word is used to indicate the concept of subject evocation. A body without soul can only listen to languages of others and love cultures of others. The concept of the exhibition is based on the revelation and the representation of Taiwanese culture and history in artists’ works, in which artists gradually acquire and construct Taiwanese subject or the condition of artistic subject.
“Evoke: The Revealed Taiwanese Subjectivity” takes the idea of “construction” to describe the subjectivity of Taiwanese aesthetics, which stresses the process that artists regard historical context and culture of Taiwan as the main core for creation so as to form the shape of Taiwanese artistic subjectivity rather than pursue the eternity and the reversion of Taiwanese art. In other words, they deny the archetype of Taiwanese artistic subjectivity. Instead, through the various interpretation of subjectivity by individuals or groups, eventually, the greatest identification with self-subjectivity is achieved. Under the premise of this kind of production, it is actually the deep exploration of the past and their own culture, which helps Taiwanese people know more about Taiwanese history and culture before generating identification. However, the identification should not be built on the superficial and arbitrary imagination of signs. It has to start with memory and history of the individual and the local to present life experiences and friction.
Therefore, we invite artists specialized in creation related to Tainan history and culture after 1980s –Wei-Wen Fang, Jiun-Shyan Lee, Kai-Yuan Chi, Jui-Hung Ni, Po-I Chen, Yi-Min Huang, and Hung-Ming Hsieh, expecting to see the local history and culture presented in the context of their works, which demonstrate the subjectivity of Taiwanese art as well as reclaim the power of voicing in order to construct Taiwanese identification.
Due to the different ruling powers during the colonial period, we can notice that the memory, the culture and the history were somehow covered, distorted, transplanted or deleted in the development of Taiwanese body in the past history. Under the policies of different ruling powers, the position of Taiwanese culture and history was banished to the frontier. For instance, under Qing dynasty rule, as well as owing to the dominance of Han Chinese culture, the aboriginal cultures and the painting style “Min-Practice” were expelled from the mainstream; during Japanese occupation, Taiwanese culture was considered “local power” of Austronesia in the domain of Japanese territory; after 1945, Taiwanese culture and history were again banished and distorted because of the dominance of Chinese nationalism.
After 1980s, due to the gradual untying of political situation, the society began to seek and construct self-identification. In the meanwhile Taiwanese artists also started to think and construct their own identification through art creation. In Jiun-Shyan Lee’s work, we can notice that without Taiwanese characteristics, it will lose its authentic temperament. In his paintings, we can see the direct collision of colors, the texture of hue and the trace of his memory of his own life as well as the island’s history and culture. He mixes myth and anthropology to create Taiwanese style paintings with strong personal characteristics. As to Hung-Ming Hsieh’s New topographic, he deconstructs languages, signs and space in Tainan city and then presents the amusement of reorganization. Wei-Wen Fang is good at constructing his memory realm by using the ready-made in daily life. Po-I Chen’s New topographic is presented as making space the medium for the exploration of history and culture. His photography is presented by looking straight at the disappearing views of Tainan. Yi-Min Huang cares about the vanishing cult culture in city under the influence of modernity. His interpretation of temples encourages the audiences to rethink about religion, culture and modern society. Kai-Yuan Chi uses his work to explore the aura gradually waning from memory in the ancient capital like Tainan through the elaboration of Tainan’s historical maps and ancient names of places. Jui-Hung Ni once passed the god’s casting lots in Luerman Matsu Temple and became the fairy maiden in the religious carnival of that temple. Jui-Hung Ni’s work combines religious act and creation which serves as an interesting example for the intervention of local religion in art.