National Museum or Gallery?
Oct 22, 1998 - Oct 25, 1998
Curators﹕1a space program committee
Participating Artists﹕John Batten, Nigel Cameron, Dr David Clarke, Johnson Chang, Dick Chen, Benny Chia, Victoria Finlay, Sabrina Fung, Kam Ping Hiller, Evelyna Liang Kan, Prof Kao May Ching, Alice King, Lai Kin Keung Edwin, Andrew Lam Hon-kin, Lau Kin Wai, Lee Kam Yin, Leung Man Tao, Dr Ulrich Sacker, Shum Long Tin, Tang Hoi Chiu, Estella Tong, Gerald Tsang, Yeung Chun-tong, Yim Tsim Lam, S Y Yim, Danny N.T Yung
Borrowing and extending the theme from a telecommunication TV commercial, the inaugural event was an examination on the current state of art system in Hong Kong. Invitation to participation was sent to curators, private gallery directors and art critics, who have been actively making statement on Hong Kong contemporary arts. They were invited to submit works to respond and comment on the art system, in relations to their respective positions amid the cultural industry.
Jump out of the frame to find your free space...Do you think you"ll win or I"ll win?
The premise of National Museum or Gallery? takes its motif from the television campaign of telecommunications company one2Free. Set in an architect’s gallery, the advertisement presents its characters and the television viewers with the dilemma of personal “choices” - whether its star Takeshi Kaneshiro should continue with the mundane gallery he operates, or to compete in the design contest of a national museum. Viewers are invited to phone in and cast votes to determine their decisions.
In the follow-up installment, Kaneshiro was placed in a race between intimate partners- the predicament of competing against his on-screen girlfriend in the “national museum” contest; as she said with a wry smile,"Do you think you’ll win, or I’ll win?".
1aspace has provocatively drawn on the campaign as a counter point to unveil Hong Kong’s cultural state. In borrowing the significations and to expand it’s encoded readings, National Museum or Gallery? seeks to articulate and dissect the conceptual framework of the museum, and gallery system within Hong Kong’s visual landscape. When the ideals of the White Cube have long been eroded and re-negotiated, this project poses an inquiry into advancement and stasis, and rivaling desires underlying enactments of the public (national museum) or the private (gallery).
When the delineation and choice between a “national museum” or “gallery” no longer rests between individuals, its systems or structures, where does the schema of power lie? In raising the differences in definitions and positionings, it may be that such differences are no longer resting on the boundaries of architecture or the enscripted frieze, the muse (as in museum) is on the order of taste, control, popularity, distribution and display.
Art critics, curators and administrators have been invited to participate in this investigation to demonstrate their responses to Hong Kong’s visual arts network, to trace and perform a geographical mapping of the cultural agenda.
Oct 30, 1998 - Nov 29, 1998
Curators﹕Choi Yan Chi, Sylvia Chan
Participating Artists﹕Michael Chan, Rex Chan, Tony Chan, Chan Yuk Keung, Jimmy Keung, Jerry Kwan, Lai Tat Tat Wing, Gukzik Lau Pui Yee, David Lui, Tong Ng Kwun Lun, Wilson Shieh, Hiram To, James Wong, Yank Wong, 嘍囉
The project was curated by Choi Yan Chi and Sylvia Chan. Sixteen painters and mixed-media artists took part in a critical reflection on the notion of painting and the position of the medium in an institutional context. Two discussion sessions among the curators and artists were organized before the event. The spirit was continued in the four dialogue sessions on weekends during the exhibition, each focusing on a specific topic.
About Painting HK
Choi Yan Chi (Curator)
“Hong Kong” as in the project title is merely the starting point. It is not a focus. We simply wish to check:
1. The present situation of painting and the development of painting in Hong Kong;
2. How Hong Kong artists perceive painting and how they paint; and
3. How artists perceive Hong Kong through painting.
And, this exhibition is not intended to construct the Hong Kong cultural identity through painting.
Despite that painting is one of the popular art media and its creative ideas were once an important theme for cultural discussion, it seems that there have been fewer exhibitions commenting on painting in recent years.
Painting HK is not a response to a unique painting trend. In fact, there has not been a strong creative direction for painting since the end of the 80’s. The special background of Hong Kong’s cultural history has generated diversity in painting. Nonetheless, painters prefer working on their own. Owing to the upsurge of installation and multi-media art, painting has become even less attended to.
In addition, the ’97 issue has both consciously and unconsciously sent the creative sentiment in Hong Kong in the 90’s towards political orientation. And this tendency has been piloted by curators.
Painting HK returns to advocating creative media and the ideas of artists as the initiation for exhibition.
For the exhibitors, we have invited experienced painters, non-painters, designers, cartoonists, architects, backdrop painters and a group of young design graduates. But it is not intended to be an all-inclusive show. Our choice is to look for artists who are interested in reflecting on “painting creativity“.
By the infamous statement, “painting is dead”, Marcel Duchamp aptly revealed the difficulty encountered in the creativity of painting in this century. Painting has a long history, a rich tradition. Painting brought about several art movements. However, in facing the multi-facets of contemporary art, how to paint? What to paint? What is painting? Moreover, we are living in a digital era. When our sense is flooded with “visuals” and “objects”, how can the reticent paintings fundamentally show their charisma?
Nearly a century has passed since “painting is dead”. There are yet many more painters. Paintings make up major parts of exhibitions at art markets, galleries and museums. Both artists and audience like paintings. Paintings can be part of a household decoration. Starting from painting, we may be able to observe the more varied interactions between the community and art.
For Painting HK some artists give us some old pieces and others some new pieces. Some artists create for the exhibition. Some use billboards to display their work in the humdrum of Causeway Bay. Some respond with TV animation. Some display stage backdrop as painting. Some use colour pencil to re-arrange a painting. Different responses coming from different artists, which truly reflects the current state of creative diversity.