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Vernacular Institute


The Vernacular Institute is a non-profit project space. Opened in 2014 it’s grown into a residency program for artists, and a relentless book club. It’s one of the most talked-about art spaces in Santa Maria La Ribera’s burgeoning art scene.

For the 2021 Gallery Weekend, the Institute presents “A Circus of The Soul,” by artists Amplio Espectro, Charlie Godet Thomas and Wang Ya Hui.

Drawing an axis through the act of writing, the exhibition establishes dialogue within the reflection of literature with Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s book of poetry, A Coney Island of the Mind. Based on this, the curatorial concept navigates around writing from places that little imply its representation, as an attempt to decode our perceived world.”
Curator Jo Ying Peng

The Institute works to present the possibilities of floating and of flexible positioning, and varies between a space for the curatorial and a space for the editorial.

The space has staged multiple performative projects in playful settings. The space also works hard to publish art books, and was based in Taipei from 2015-2017. Today their perhaps best known for the Vernácular Art Book Fair and Black Language Book Club. These focus on contemporary independent publishing and editorial experiments.

The international residency program is intended to develop bilateral cultural exchange to build a long-term dialogue between artists and curators in Latin America and Asia.

Independent curator, Jo Ying PENG (b.1982, Taiwan) addresses the agency of art by initiating alternative forms of production within performative settings and through experimental approaches. A former curator in Taipei Contemporary Art Center, Peng has led projects that discuss post-art history and institutional critique.

The project space occupies a small space in Santa Maria la Ribera. Events are announced through the social media channels, but a stroll around Santa Maria is always worth the trip. It’s among the City’s most vital cultural neighborhoods.

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