Magazine, January 2003
20 is an active artists’ village created from abandoned
In 1997, the Central
Taiwan Division of the Council for Cultural Affairs (文建會中部辦公室)
(CCA) commissioned the Department of Architecture of Tunghai
University to conduct a study of unused or deserted buildings
around central Taiwan that could be transformed into art
studios and art exhibition centers. The researchers found
that a section of seven abandoned railway warehouses behind
the Taichung train station were very suitable spaces for
artists to work and to display their works.
warehouses, also called stocks, were all originally
numbered. In this section, the first warehouse, now
an exhibition hall featuring a variety of art exhibits
and a cafe, was number 20. Thus, this artists’ village
came to be called Stock 20 (20號倉庫). The remaining
stocks, numbered 21 to 26, are for artists to work.
21 has been set aside for performing arts groups,
mostly experimental theater companies. These performing
arts groups, as well as outside experimental theater
and dance groups, make use of Stock 20’s outdoor
theater to put on performances.
22 to 26 are artists’ studios, with each stock divided
into two to hold a total of 10 artists.
Each of the resident artists undergoes an application and
review process organized by the CCA before being granted
the use of a studio rent-free for one year. The CCA accepts
applications from both local and foreign artists, and in
addition to a mix of cultural backgrounds looks for a mix
of artistic specialties such as painting and sculpture.
20 is currently in its third year of operation, with some
of the artists having renewed their application for studio
use. One such artist is Huang Chyi-wen (黃圻文), currently
in his second year at Stock 20. Huang produces abstract
calligraphy works and modern paintings.
is a native of the Taichung County township of Wufeng (霧峰鄉
). Although a rural town, Wufeng is rich in history and
traditional arts. As a child he was exposed to traditional
sculpture, calligraphy, Taiwanese opera and traditional
father was an excellent calligrapher, and Huang learned
this art form from him. By the time he was in second
or third grade, he was writing calligraphy couplets
to hang next to the main entrance of his home to welcome
the Lunar New Year.
although he was surrounded by traditional art during
his younger years, his current art works are far from
conventional. Huang explains, “Artists have to make
their own road.” He adds, “From my art, people can
understand my existence, my feelings and my style.”
he started out as a calligrapher much of his work
uses elements of calligraphy. For example, in many
of his paintings there are lines, mixed with bright
colors, to combine traditional Chinese culture with
the vitality of aboriginal culture. He notes that
Taiwan is a “juice mix” of cultures, including Chinese,
aboriginal, Japanese and Western. “These are the
characteristics that artists should consider to help
Taiwan create its own unique art style,” he says.
also integrates modern media such as pages from newspapers
and magazines into his paintings. For example, a magazine
page serves as the background while black ink is applied
with a large calligraphy brush. Huang says that perhaps
in the future, there will be no print media, thus his works
will become of historical value because they reveal the
lifestyles and trends of today.
asked about his feelings about Stock 20, he notes that artists
need a good working space, which Stock 20 provides, and
is hopeful that the CCA, encouraged by Stock 20’s success,
will develop other abandoned railway warehouses into artists’
villages all over the island.
public is welcome to the free exhibitions and performances
at Stock 20. In addition, it is usually possible to find
artists working in their studios during Stock 20’s opening
hours. The public is welcome to enter the studios, talk
to the artists and view their works.
notes that Taiwan’s environment is very chaotic, and thus
it is not easy to find art, which is why places like Stock
20 are so important for helping people to reduce the distance
between life and art.
6-6, Lane 37, FuShing Rd., sec. 4, Taichung City (台中市復興路四段37巷6-6號)
Tel: (04) 2220-9972
Hours: 11 am to 10 pm Tuesday to Sunday (closed Mondays)