Monday, 14 January 2013 13:59

Chiyou and eco-manga


Chiyou talks about his inspiration behind drawing, what manga means to him, and why other artists or the public don't always share his opinion on what constitutes "interesting" manga.

Monday, 14 January 2013 13:57

Ah Tui and the need for originality


Ah Tui compares the different approach towards manga of Asian and European manga artists in addition to exposing what he believes to be a big problem with Taiwanese artists: their lack of individual style.

Friday, 11 January 2013 15:30

Min-Xuan Lin and manga as relaxation

Min-Xuan Lin discusses what constitutes her ideal kind of manga. She talks about the need for making manga as a light form of entertainment for stressed people who need to unwind.

Friday, 11 January 2013 15:29

M2 and the manga-anime link


M2 tells us of her role models and the artists that inspired her to star drawing manga. She also goes on to discuss a particular way of storyboarding a manga which is similar to that of movies.

Wednesday, 09 November 2011 11:51

Breathing and Painting

"What I try to paint is the very breathing that makes me paint." This is the way Benoit Vermander introduced his works during the opening of his exhibit at DPARK, Shanghai (November 5-30). The seventy ink and oil paintings gathered in this beautiful location were mainly organized around three topics: faces, birds and forest. But each time, explained Benoit, the underlying element was the breeze - the inner breeze that makes the face change and come anew to the light of the day; the breeze that supports the flight of the bird; the breeze that makes the forest palpitate and become the place where one wishes to wander and lose oneself.

Chinese paintings and oil paintings seemed to be melting into one, as the one and the same breath guides the hand that painted them, beyond differences in techniques and cultural undertones. The breath of the painter became the one inhaled by the visitors who had come to take new strength and inspiration in a show made even more poetic by the large windows of the main exhibit room, opening up on a landscape of high-rise buildings and slowly balancing bamboos....





Monday, 29 August 2011 00:00

Traces of time

In the South-East of Paris, on the 22th of June 2011, at the exhibition hall Les Voûtes, three taiwanese artists submitted their work to the public eye:

- Dialogue remixé de style FF (The remixed dialogue of two "FF" type face) by Li-Ming Cheng
- 40 by Charlene Shih,
- La lumière dépasse le temps, n°2 (Light Overtakes Time, no.2) by Chi-Yang Chiang

They chose a common theme, 'The traces of time', but each offered us a different and original approach to this theme.

Thursday, 21 April 2011 16:09

The Cultural Inheritance Behind Illegal Architecture

Amongst the participants of the opening of the Illegal Architecture exhibition held in Ximen in March of this year, was mainland Chinese architect and artist Wang Shu. Perhaps aptly, given the topic of the exhibition, there was a construction crew digging up the road right beside the exhibition's marquee. Despite the repressive authoritarian thrum of council diggers and drills, Wang Shu took time out from competing with the noise to answer a few questions from the eRenlai team about illegal architecture and its role as a voice of civil society in Taipei:

Alternative (for readers in China)

Interview by Ida Wang, Nicholas Coulson and Conor Stuart, Video Editing and Subtitles by Conor Stuart.

Wang Shu's installation on the roof of the exhibition centre, The award winning "The Decay of A Dome"


Wednesday, 06 October 2010 18:13

An Expo-lent Australian Adventure

In early September I spent a day at the Shanghai Expo.  Bracing myself for crowds of up to 300,000 jostling queue-jumpers, I was relieved that the venue was not too packed. Most pavilions (especially later in the day) did not require any considerable time lining up.  The vast number of unused crowd barriers snaking around entrances that I bypassed at various stages of the day were testament to just how bad the queues might have been.  That said, there were still a hell of a lot of people there.

Arriving a little too late to snap up the special tickets required for China’s gargantuan pavilion (a great design actually, and one that I hope primary school kids around the world can mimic with Paddle Pop sticks), I had to settle for some of the less grandiose pavilions.

The South Korea pavilion had a great mix of 3D and interactive technology, all set to an infectious K-Pop soundtrack.  The hosts remained unflinchingly gracious in the face of relentless questioning (“Are you really Korean? REALLY? But how can you possibly speak such good Chinese?”), even managing to diffuse a vicious brawl between two frazzled and possibly queued-out ladies in the theatrette.

The India pavilion offered a snapshot of Indian civilisation from ancient times through to the recent period of economic development, but my lasting memory was of the handicraft bazaar and the tantalising smells from the curry kitchen that seduced guests meandering around the venue.

The Singapore pavilion was slick, if somewhat forgettable, and the Denmark pavilion had the actual Little Mermaid statue, shipped all the way over to China, and some bikes for visitors to cruise around on.

All good stuff but in spite of the smorgasbord of global morsels that were at my finger tips, the one pavilion I really itched to visit was that of the land of my birth – Australia.  Not just to reconnect, but to see how Australia had decided to pitch itself to what former Prime Minster Kevin Rudd famously called it’s “true friend (zhēngyǒu)”.

pf_shanghai_expo_1Upon arriving at the giant undulating pavilion, which looks a bit like a corrugated tin off-cut left to rust in a paddock, I was able to breeze in through the door, unhindered by any queue. Here I was greeted by a friendly Akubra-clad avuncular type with “G’day! When watching the movie, you might wanna sit at the back so you can see the subtitles”.  Thanks for the tip, mate.

Spiralling up a ramp around the inside of the pavilion I was treated to a potted history of Australia in series of cute dioramas. Unsurprisingly, there was an emphasis on the relationship between Australia and China.  If you were looking for any information about Aboriginal Australians, you had to wait for the last section, where the landmark 2008 apology to ‘the stolen generations’ was highlighted.

Australia’s first inhabitants were excluded from the diorama of when the English landed in Australia.  Instead of Aboriginals, as are normally included in such stylised versions of this event, the pompous-looking Englishmen were confronted with a stick-waving Koala and a stern Kangaroo with crossed arms.  Crikey!  Look at claws on that one!

While there were brief explanations of the diorama scenes, no one really seemed to be paying much attention to them. Unlike the other more hi-tech pavilions I visited, there were certainly no snazzy gizmos here to keep the punters entertained.  The crowd hurriedly snapped photos of each of the dioramas and then barrelled on up the ramp, to where though, no one seemed to know.

pf_shanghai_expo_3As it turned out, at the top of the ramp was the theatrette, where we were rounded up like cattle (how very Australian).  Once in the proverbial cattle yard, some burly Aussie bloke did his best to keep us placated until the next screening, cracking jokes in Chinese and exhorting us to be orderly “for your own safety”.  I found this guy to be pretty funny, but the people around me seemed mainly to be sniggering at his pronunciation.  Perhaps something was lost in translation.  I’m not sure how well the average Chinese person understands the Australian sense of humour.  Some didn’t seem to understand his safety instructions either, with a couple of people trying to push through the queue, even though there was a closed door at the end of it and we had been told that there were enough seats in the theatre for everyone.  The queues at the Expo were generally much more orderly than I expected based on my previous experiences lining up at various Chinese train stations and tourist venues. Nevertheless, some people still found the need to fruitlessly try to push through, only succeeding in pissing everyone else off. I’m surprised that I didn’t see more fights on the day.

The Australian movie was passable, but nowhere near the level of South Korea’s all singing, all dancing, roller coaster ride. Not that the crowd, many of whom were quite young, cared.  They all seemed very happy to be there.  The spritely attendant even managed to cajole them into chanting a mangled version of the dire Sydney Olympics-era chant “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!”.

My favourite image from the movie was towards the beginning. Just after the characters had been introduced and the audience subjected to a montage of dodgy computer graphics, the side of an open-cut mine was spectacularly blown up.  This led in to a sequence of heavy machinery carting rocks out of the ground and onto the marketplace.  The market of course, as Australia’s recent recession-proof prosperity might testify to, is China.  What better symbol to represent Australia and China’s current relationship.  I loved it.

After the movie, we were herded down the ramp, out of the theatre and into the gift shop.  There was also some dinky-di Aussie tucker – meat pies, fish and chips, beer and other imported delicacies.  Despite my strong urge for a pie and sauce, it was all a bit pricey for me, so I skedaddled out the door and to find something a bit cheaper and possibly more tasty.

pf_shanghai_expo_4Judging by the chirpy crowds hanging around in the foyer and checking out the tacky merchandise for sale, I think the organisers had a done a good job.  The primarily Chinese guests seemed happy.  However, the Australian government wants to do more than just flog off a couple of overpriced fluffy kangaroos and tinnies of VB.  The real impact of the pavilion will be felt in the years to come, as Chinese students head to Australian universities or Chinese and Australian companies enter into business deals.

While appearing to be solid, Australia's relationship with China is not without hiccups. The level of China-awareness among the Australian public is low and at times paranoid.  My only lasting memory of China from my childhood education is of the prospectors who came out to Australia in the Gold Rush of the 1850s.  A reciprocal Chinese pavilion in downtown Sydney or Melbourne might help raise the general level of awareness of our looming northern neighbour.  You wouldn't get the full story on China, that's for sure, but at least it would be a start.  However, it is not only the Chinese government that emphasises some aspects of the country at the expense of others in order to paint an attractive picture.

Staging the Australian Expo pavilion in China means pitching the message to a Chinese audience.  If the 2010 Expo was being held in Australia, the pavilion would undoubtedly be significantly different. Australians can be very sensitive about how the nation broadcasts itself to foreign nations.  Witness the  domestic controversy generated by each new iteration of advertisements selling our wide brown land to the global tourist market.  Some Australians wish to entice foreigners with our cosmpolitan metropolises and sophisticated urban lifestyle, while others think that the beaches/bikinis/kangaroos/koalas model sells the nation best.  Given this unfortunate and out-dated dichotomy, those Australians affected by the dreaded  ‘cultural cringe’ would be best served by staying well away from the Australia pavilion.  Do yourself a favour and go to the South Korea pavilion instead.

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Monday, 27 October 2008 21:31

Exhibition of Art and Chinese Culture in San Jose

Last summer, Costa Rica was delighted to host a small sample of Chinese art during the first exhibition of Art and Chinese Culture organized by the Kung Tse Oriental Institute, a Chinese-Mandarin Language center in San Jose. This was the first time that such an event was organized in Costa-Rica, with various activities such as Dances of the Lion, kung-fu, Jasmine Song and Chinese tea ceremony. The purpose of this exhibition was to raise funds for an Integral Center of Health for children with cerebral paralysis, and it received a great response, especially from the curious and enthusiasts of the Chinese culture.

One of the main attractions of this event was to present collaborations between artists in various artistic fields, such as ceramics, painting, handwriting and music. As a musician, I was responsible for creating the sound environment of the exhibition. My focus was to present an authentic ancient blend of Chinese instruments and Electroacoustic music, and for that purpose I contacted several musicians. These collaborations are part of my project “Proyecto Sonorum” (, which is meant to break cultural barriers using technology art as the medium.

This was not the first time I worked with other musicians. While I was in Taiwan, I had already recorded music with Chinese instruments and performed in different venues. I can recall the great experience of recording in studio with the great pipa player Luo Chao-Yun ( and the talented Janelle Chang (, a musician who plays a traditional Uygur instrument called the Satar. I had also performed live with Chinese instruments along with Chao-Ming Tung ( and the music students from National Chiao Tung University’s Music Institute where I was studying computer music.

For this sound installation at Kung Tse Institute, I contacted other composers from Latin America. Otto Castro ( from the Oscilador group (Electroacoustic Music Project of Costa Rica, contributed with his piece “Arquetipos Marinos”, a composition based on pentatonic scales that are very common in Chinese music. Two other musicians from Costa Rica were involved: Hazel Rodriguez ( and Roberto Mata, both involved in the local experimental music and progressive Rock scene. Hazel proposed a piece called “Under the rain”, in which she tried to recreate a Chinese landscape by using her synthetizer. Roberto Mata, who is a guitar player and a composer, offered a piece called “Hola”, which is a meditation of this word, the Spanish for “Hello”. Another artist involved in the installation was Fabian Torres ( from Colombia, a musician who tends to mix Latin-American and Asian music styles in his compositions. An example of this would be his mixture of Columbian Cumbia with Indonesian Gamelan instruments.

Aside from these Latin American musicians, two very special guests took part in the project: Chi-Hui Liang ( and pipa player Chao-Yung Luo. Liang, a film music composer, gave us a permission to play some of the tracks from her CD “Vita Eterna”, which is a very special mixture of Chinese instruments and Western rhythms.

The organizers of the Exhibition were delighted with the results of the sound installation, and visitors provided a lot of positive feedback. We achieved to create a sound environment transporting the visitors into contemporary and ancient China. As a result, we decided to work on new projects involving Proyecto Sonorum and the Kung Tse Institute, one example being a multimedia concert for June 2009. We will keep you informed about these.

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Wednesday, 10 September 2008 00:00

"Half-blind in the forest" - Bendu's exhibition

On the highlands or in a temple, on a peak or in the plain, sometimes far away and sometimes just nearby, but still always at the place where he has presently to be in the course of his pilgrimage, here comes the traveler – the one you meet on the road, Bendu… or yourself…
Since his awakening, he does not know where he is standing; he feels actually like being everywhere. Inside his paintings are the tears, the suffering, the rest that comes after the storm, the confusion, the ray of light within the nightmare. Between the spirit and the flesh, just between the opening and the closing of the door, between harmony and disharmony, Bendu paints the ever-changing appearances of a free heart – with the travail, the wait, the stops and the mere impossibility to stop, all that which goes along with the quest.

Bendu is the painter’s and poet’s pseudonym of Benoit Vermander, chief-editor of “Renlai monthly.” But it is not easy to reconcile Bendu with Benoit. The texts of Benoit Vermander come from his public persona, they are rational and analytical, universal in scope, aiming at providing people with norms and criteria for the decisions that they have to take. Meanwhile, the works of Bendu evoke a cat hidden into a hole; they bring along with them a feeling a mystery, of obscurity, of passion and of solitude. In the depth of our heart, each one of us might have two different voices for speaking to oneself…
Coming from afar, Bendu invites you to laugh, to weep and to whisper with him. At the same time, his paintings explore an itinerary, lead towards a destination that remains undetermined and improbable. The forest is a labyrinth, a feeble light is the only lamp of the half-blind traveler that walks into its depths.

Ink and water illuminate the spiritual labyrinth of Bendu. You have to navigate between natural, spiritual and artistic landscapes. The artist attains spiritual freedom through his creations, and this is why his artworks are the most beautiful gift he can make to us. For he thus leads us towards a road of spiritual freedom, transcending social divisions, gathering into One all the rivers of love, and making us all meet in truth.

The paintings of Bendu return towards the source of life. May they help you to confront your dryness, the torments of others, may they help you to confront the real choices that your life is made of. I am confident that they can also contribute to gather a community of spiritual seekers, a community of people searching for inner knowledge, so they can continue together along the road.

Raising a song to the universe from the depth of his heart, a song neither obscure nor luminous, a song that oscillates between hope and torment, Bendu invites you to narrate the tale of your own beautiful and tortuous pilgrimage.

Opening on Tuesday, October 7, 2008, 7pm

At the Sunbow Art Gallery
3F,0 Bld, 50, Moganshan Road(M50), Shanghai
Tel:86 21 62993931

The exhibit will take place from October 7 till October 22
Download here the pdf invitation

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