7 Facts About Taiwan’s ‘Mother of Libraries’

Wang Chiu-hwa (b. 1925) is one of Taiwan’s most prominent female architects. She has earned the unofficial title of ‘Taiwan’s mother of libraries’ not only for the many libraries she has designed, but also for pioneering the earliest modern university library in Taiwan. Her work as a Chinese female architect practising in the United States and Taiwan has been underrepresented both regionally and globally.

The M+ curatorial team met Wang in 2015 and learned about her archive, of which she generously donated a large part to the M+ Collection Archives. Acquiring this archive was the beginning of M+’s efforts to uncover the histories of women architects, whose work often lacks documentation and research. Topics related to the visibility, fluidity, and multiplicity in the practice of women architects—including that of Wang Chiu-hwa—will be further explored at the event M+ Matters: Conversations on Women, Architecture and the City on 23 November 2019.

Below are seven facts about Wang Chiu-hwa, told through images of her work represented in the M+ Collection Archives and her personal photos.

1. Wang Chiu-hwa is one of the few women to have been trained in China’s first architecture school.

A person is taking a selfie of himself with two other people standing on a tower looking out over the Tokyo cityscape. All three people are smiling at the camera.

Outside Hong Kong: Museums as Cultural Ecosystems

What happens when museum workers visit each other?

The M+ International initiative was recently launched to create a platform to discuss current issues facing museums by partnering with international institutions. As part of this project, M+ and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo recently organised a symposium to reconsider the meaning of museum collections.

In addition to this symposium, three M+ team members visited the Mori Art Museum for two weeks to work with and learn from the staff there. We sat down with them to chat about what they learned.

Participants:

  • William Seung, Curatorial Assistant, Design and Architecture
  • Ping Ping Tung, Exhibition Designer
  • Nixon Wong, Assistant Curator, Learning and Interpretation
Lamp with an acrylic lampshade that looks like a white cloth has been draped over the lamp. The lamp is lit, casting a warm yellow light, within a darkened space.

From the Collections: 'Lamp (Oba-Q)' (1972) by Kuramata Shiro

Lamp (Oba-Q) (1972) by Kuramata Shiro is in the M+ Collections, but what is it, who made it, and why did M+ acquire it?

What is this?

This pair of ghost-like lamps was designed in the early 1970s by Japanese designer Kuramata Shiro. Each Oba-Q light was made by draping a heated, pliable sheet of acrylic over a pole, allowing it to hang naturally, and then letting it harden. The finished lampshade was then placed over a light bulb inserted into a base, which sat on the floor. This creates the illusion of floating. It’s a prime example of Kuramata’s love of lightness and fluidity.

Timelapse video showing sculptures consisting of modular parts shaped like ventilation ducts out of cardboard and galvanised steel being put together to form various shapes within a gallery space.

Four Configurations of Charlotte Posenenske's Sculptures

Charlotte Posenenske’s (1930–1985) steel-and-cardboard works Series D and Series DW Vierkantrohre (Series D and DW Square Tubes) were first created as modular sculptures in the 1960s. Her unusual approach allows for them to be assembled in various shapes according to the display space and the desires of the owner. To highlight this, the works were reconfigured three times over the course of Five Artists: Sites Encountered by three invited guests from different backgrounds. This was likely the first real performance of Posenenske’s work done in Asia.

Posenenske’s ideas about art combine sameness and variability in an unusual way, so showing different configurations of her work allows audiences to see multiple responses to the space. To offer viewers the full experience of all four configurations even if they couldn’t witness each one in real time, they are individually summarised below.

1. Initial configuration by the M+ curatorial team: