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Cloud Gate Dance Theatre book launched, priced at US$4,000 per copy

2017/12/08 23:03:36

Lin Hwai-min (林懷民, left) and Barry Lam (林百里)

Taipei, Dec. 8 (CNA) To mark the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre's upcoming founding anniversary, a Taiwanese business mogul and patron of the arts has decided to pay homage to the internationally acclaimed dance troupe by publishing a "collection-grade" book of photographs featuring the beauty and power of its dance works.

Quanta Computer Chairman Barry Lam (林百里), a philanthropist who donates money for culture and education in Taiwan, said he came up with the idea of publishing the book of photos featuring Cloud Gate dances in 2015, when the actual theater where the dance company is based, was inaugurated in Tamsui, New Taipei City.

That day, Lam said, he saw the exhibition of Cloud Gate dance photos by local photographer Liu Chen-hsiang (劉振祥).

"I was deeply touched by those pictures, which put together the most painstaking and beautiful images of Cloud Gate (dancers)," Lam recalled, speaking at the book release ceremony on Friday.

He then contacted photographers, as well as Lin Hwai-min (林懷民), the artistic director and founder of the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre.

From over 10,000 photos, a mere 80 taken by four photographers, including Liu, Yu Hui-hung (游輝宏), Chang Tsan-tao (張贊桃), and Lin Ching-yuan (林敬原), were selected for the book, according to the publisher.

The publication, titled "Capturing Cloud Gate (收藏雲門)," was originally created to celebrate the dance troupe's 45th founding anniversary next year.

But now it will be a retirement gift for the troupe's founder Lin, Lam said.

The 70 year-old award-winning choreographer announced last month that he planned to retire at the end of 2019. The announcement came after Cloud Gate presented his most recent work Formosa (關於島嶼), which premiered at the National Theatre in Taipei on Nov. 24.

Lam said he will donate all the proceeds from the sale of the photography book to the dance troupe.

Even though only 500 copies of the book will be published, the planned donation would not be trifle because the 232-page hand-assembled book of photographs is priced at a staggering NT$120,000 (US$3,994) per copy.

The book was printed on superfine paper from Japan, with each copy contained in a Dutch silk-covered box. Weighing 9.5 kilograms, it was published based on the standards of a museum collection, Lam said.

"In the business of making computers, the computers could be thrown out after two years of use; for printing books, however, there could be people who still keep them and will turn over their pages several hundred years later," said Lam.

Listed by Forbes as the world's top 60th tech billionaire with a net tech worth of US$4.2 billion in 2017, the 68 year-old Lam is also a lover of photography and passionate collector of art works. He has been known for having owned several classic paintings by late painter Chang Dai-chien (張大千), one of the best-known and most prodigious Chinese artists in the 20th century.

Sale of the heavyweight book of photographs has begun at Eslite bookstores around Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China, as well as at Cloud Gate's theater.

(By Wang Yi-ju and Elizabeth Hsu)