VieShow Cinemas’ Taipei Sun, a digital IMAX movie theater located in Taipei’s Ximending area, closed its doors on Sept. 8 in preparation for the building to be torn down for an urban renewal project. The fate of the mosaic mural The Rising Sun, which is 18.5 meters long and 3 meters high and is located on the second floor, has since become a focus of controversy.
The mosaic mural was created by Yen Shui-long (1903-1997), an important figure in Taiwanese art, whose work ranged from painting, crafts and pottery to advertising design, and who was a pioneer in Taiwan’s arts and crafts. Yen was a cofounder of the Tai-Yang Art Society in 1934, along with Chen Cheng-po, Yang San-lang, Liao Chi-chun and other founding figures of modern Taiwanese art. Yen’s oil paintings cost millions of New Taiwan dollars and his mosaics are estimated to have a market value of tens of millions.
The Rising Sun is one of 16 mosaic murals created by Yen during his lifetime. It was specially crafted for the opening of the theater (then named Sunrise Theater) in 1966 and became the theater’s greatest treasure. The theater and the mosaic are intertwined with the youthful memories of several generations. The magnificent mural is composed of abstract color blocks, yet with the details showing subtle changes in color.
Photo courtesy of the Taipei City Government Department of Cultural Affairs 照片：台北市文化局提供
Taipei City Government therefore intervened to facilitate negotiations, and the builder, Songyang Investment Co, Ltd, which is also the owner of VieShow Cinemas’ Taipei Sun, agreed to preserve the mosaic mural properly and look for a suitable place for display. For now, the mural will be dismantled into parts and transported to the builder’s Nangang warehouse for storage.
(Lin Lee-kai, Taipei Times)
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