Every name on movie posters appears for a reason. It represents a person, and also a belief from movie companies. They believe it sells, and even attracts people to pay for the experience in the next two hours in a closed dark room. Movie companies assume as long as they show these names, be it director, actor, actress, or award, audience will spend money on a film, at times, they don’t even know at all.
Before Tim Yip (葉錦添), people in the Chinese-speaking rarely see an arts director’s name on movie posters.
Before he won an Academy Award in art direction with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, most Chinese audience might now know that role exists in movies. Not that we know much more about it now, but at least we are aware there is a character called “art director” in film-making.
Now that he is famous, he is an icon, and his name appears on movie posters. Movie companies believe he sells.
But Tim Yip is more than that, as he wants to show in his own website.
On a weekend afternoon, I visited MoCA Taipei for his solo exhibition Summer Holiday. He wanted to present his diversity, so we got photographs, installations, videos, words, and costumes, almost all focus on a figure named “Lili”. Sometimes it’s a real girl wandering around Taipei. Sometimes it’s a still mannequin. Sometimes it’s an atmosphere recreated in a room.
How will people recognize him? Photographer, writer, curator, or art director? We’ll see.