artist in residence can provide a fresh perspective
on her place of art residency, as shown by
Jane Ingram Allen's decision to depict Taiwan
as a leaf in her installation works that comprise
the exhibition entitled "Taiwan Site Maps."
When I asked the American paper artist (who
is about to end her six-month artist-in-residence
stay in Taiwan on a Fulbright scholarship)
if she knew about the common perception here
that the island looks like a yam, she said
not at first, but she still thinks a leaf is
much more interesting. And to her, leaves exude
positive symbolism--like rebirth and renewal.
Allen's leaves are majestic and graceful, suspended
from the ceiling of the Su Ho Paper Museum.
Each is at least two meters long, and made
from a variety of plant fibers.
Allen spent much of her time in Taiwan learning
about the island's subtropical plants and experimenting,
eventually settling on a combination of 27
plant fibers that she used to make paper that
constitutes the leaves. Indeed, several kinds
of pulped leaves, including banana and pineapple
leaves, were used to make her paper.
They are called site maps because on the reverse
side of the leaf representation, there are
maps of sorts, with one striking example incorporating
assemblages of newspaper clippings from Taiwan's
presidential campaign. To extend the map metaphor,
Allen has made folds in the maps, to facilitate
folding. Naturally, this convenience will also
make the installation pieces relatively easy
to transport when they move to a gallery in
Massachusetts in August.
of Allen's works can be seen at the American
Cultural Center until June 18. These are literally "impressions" of
Taipei, since they are relief pieces created
by the artist working her paper into the city's
One has to wonder how many life-long Taipei
residents have stopped to marvel as Allen has
at the beauty and variety of the city's manhole
covers. It's all a matter of perspective.
Jane Ingram Allen's website: http://www.janeingramallen.com/
Room 2101, 333 Keelung Road, Sec. 1, 21F, Taipei
June 3-18; 10 am-6 pm; open Mon-Fri
【Taiwan Site Maps 】
Su Ho Memorial Paper Culture Foundation
Until July 31