Against Easy Listening
19.11 - 20.01.2011
Curator: Steven Lam (New York-based artist and curator)
Cattle Depot Community Concern Group, Huang Xiaopeng, Phoebe Hui, Viet Lê, Anson Mak, Mixrice, Mieko Shiomi, Society for Experimental Cultural Production, The Propeller Group (Phunam, Matt Lucero and Tuan Andrew Nguyen), Adrian Wong, Lyota Yagi, Zheng Bo
The exhibition also features a collection of sound organized by Society for Experimental Cultural Production including:
Eric Anglès, Mary Walling Blackburn, Hitlike/ Zhang Liming, Jiang Zhi, Jaffa Lam, Viet Lê, Warren Leung, Anson Mak, Tuan Andrew Nguyen (with Wowy, Alan Hayslip, and The Propeller Group), Pak Sheung Chuen, João Vasco Paiva, Adrian Wong, Yao Chung-Han, Yeung Yang, Zhang Anding, Lee Kit and Su Wenxiang and others.
Against Easy Listening is a group exhibition that scrutinizes the politics of listening and sound in everyday globalized life. With a roster of artists working in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, the exhibition consists of projects in installation, performance, sculpture, video, photography, and phonography.
The role of the aesthetic in this exhibition suggests other forms of knowing - how does one make sense of listening, what type of understanding is cultivated by the ear? How can hearing be a model for social engagement, a practice in tune with issues of community and locality, mediation and difference? Against Easy Listening is an exercise in polyphony: public speech turns into song, voices once dormant or unheard surface to the center for the ear rarely differentiates signal from noise.
Steven Lam, the curator
Steven Lam is a curator, artist, educator, and the Associate Dean of The Cooper Union School of Art in New York City, the United States. He has a MFA from the University of California, Irvine and currently teaches performance and sound theory in the Art History and Theory Department at the School of Visual Arts, NYC. Lam has developed exhibitions primarily for non-profit institutions and universities, often prioritizing his experience working in such pedagogical programs. Lam was a Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program as well as a Lori Ledis Curatorial Fellow at Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn, and was a research curator for the Third Guangzhou Triennial (2008) with CURATORS Gao Shiming, Sarat Maharaj, and Chang Tsong-zung. Recent curatorial works and collaborations include “...in a most dangerous manner” with Sarah Ross at SPACES Gallery, Cleveland, OH (2010); ‘Tainted Love’ with critic Virginia Solomon at La MaMa La Galleria, NYC (2009); ‘Free as Air and Water’ (2009) and 'The Crude and the Rare" (2010) with Saskia Bos at The Cooper Union; and ‘For Reasons of State’ with Angelique Campens and Erica Cooke at The Kitchen, NYC (2008). This is his second exhibition at 1a Space.
About 1a space Curatorial Residency
1a space's inaugural Curatorial Residency, an initiative to elevate Hong Kong’s curatorship level and to establish an exchange platform of international standing, is finally awarded to Steven Lam, a New York-based artist and curator, out of the 20 applications received from around the globe. Against Easy Listening is his second exhibition.
*Exhibitions and events during Lam’s residency are supported by the Asian Cultural Council.
1a@Beijing Part 1: turning the pages．I see you see I
Seminar Date: Spring 2011 (Date TBC)
Venue: Kubrick Beijing (Please refer to the Chinese version for the exact address.)
Curator: CHOI Yan-chi
Artist: HO Siu-kee, LAM Wai-kit, CHING Chin-wai
Writer & Critic: Long Tin
‘turning the pages．I see you see I’ is an artwork display from Hong Kong to Beijing and back to Hong Kong, join up with reading and dialogues.
‘turning the pages．I see you see I’ is an exhibition in a non-gallery space. The artworks will be shown in the bookstore Kubrick Beijing. They run into the viewers in between the books, the shelves and the space in the bookstore, reaching out to the readers who come to look for reading in this tranquil environment.
We would like to induce in-depth reading. From reading to seeing, it is not only viewing oneself, but also referencing me from the eye of yours and him/her. From Hong Kong to China, and China to Hong Kong; this is about how to analyze the multi-faceted aesthetic presentation in different aspects.
The Hong Kong cultural bookstore Kubrick has its branch opened in Beijing for around a year. In Bono LEE Chiu-hing’s words, “this is so ‘cool’. Even when joking with the Chinese name of Kubrick with the pronunciation as ‘too cool to the customers,’ we are referring to the attitude, but not the services here.” The bookstore is under the spotlight in the local cultural circle. ‘turning the pages．I see you see I’ is trying to place Hong Kong art in the map of China within this unique environment, for reading and thinking. The display of Hong Kong artworks in Beijing is expecting an unconventional experience and exchange from ‘I see you see I’.
There is always not enough, and even rare, reading, writing and discussing of Hong Kong art. For this time using Kubrick Beijing as showcase of Hong Kong art, or can we name it a re-importation, is meant to be an alternative exchange between Hong Kong and China. In some collective activities with exhibition, exchange, forum and publication, the exhibition is just a kick off. We are stressing both displaying of the context and the dialogues involved, in wish to bring out even more and further discussions. Even Kubrick Beijing is not a traditional exhibition venue, but it is a place for reading. 1a@Beijing wishes to meet with audiences from various backgrounds in this unique venue.
In ‘turning the pages．I see you see I,’ the pages is not what in a book. It can be a declaration of the rules, while art is often means to destroying and recreating the rules. Hong Kong-China, or China-Hong Kong, are two interrelating and yet paralleling tracks, varying in terms of distance and sameness from time to time. At the time in this post-colonial handovered Hong Kong, the lost of identity is no longer a controversial topic. From where I see you see I; our recognition have been levied by seeing. We open, and get to know. This is the first step towards an in-depth cultural exchange, while you will know me better through the eyes of I seeing you.
‘turning the pages．I see you see I’ will be showcased from Winter 2010 to Spring 2011 at Kubrick Beijing, while the same exhibition can also be seen at 1a space, Hong Kong. A forum at Beijing will signal the finale of the program. (Program details will be announced later.)
HO Siu-kee, LAM Wai-kit, Luke CHING, Annie WAN, Enoch CHENG, LAU Ching-ping and Lukas TAM are the artists invited to the exhibition. The seven artists are not the newest generation, but their developed artistic styles, which hinting the trend of contemporary Hong Kong art from 90s to 2000s, are the main reason for involving them here. I have also invited some writers from overseas, Mainland China and Hong Kong. They are KOO Yee-wan, Steven LAM (New York based curator), Long Tin, Kurt CHAN, CHAN Ning, Bono LEE and LO Yin-shan. The context and writings will be the reference of the forum in following year. I look forward to the opening of the program, and even more to the discussions of the context and its further development.
Curator: CHOI Yan-chi
Beijing Kubrick Bookstore, Beijing
1a@Beijing Part 2 HONG KONG: open the pages, you see me seeing you.
Presented by│1a space
Partner│Beijing Kubrick Bookstore
Supported by│Hong Kong Arts Development Council
“Open the pages, you see me seeing you” is a collective project forming the basis for an extended study of art in Hong Kong vis-a-vis China. The project comprises exhibitions, critical writing, cultural exchange and a forum between Beijing and Hong Kong.
The “Open the pages” of the title is a translation of a quotation from Deng Xiaoping, 「打開本子」, literally “opening a file”, inferring that matters relating to Hong Kong should conducted according to the rules. The cultural and artistic histories and trajectories of Hong Kong-China, or China-Hong Kong, are interrelated but exist in parallel, varying in terms of distance and sameness from time to time. Founded on the premise that no examination of art in Hong Kong can take place without reference to art in China, “You see me seeing you” (你看我看你) proposes a new self-reflexive context for Hong Kong art by inviting participants to create new works specifically for a Mainland audience. In so doing, the project will explore the possibility of redefining Hong Kong’s position within the cultural vicinity of China, as opposed to its position as a commercial and financial centre.
The project will commence with an exhibition involving seven well established Hong Kong artists together with writers and art critics. The exhibition places as much emphasis on works of art as well as on the expansion and exploration of the text by writers as part of the extended investigation into art in Hong Kong vis-a-vis China. The exhibition will take place in two locations, at 1a Space at Cattle Depot, Hong Kong and as well as at Kubrick’s new location in Beijing. Whilst not a formal exhibition venue, as the bookstore of choice for critical readers, Kubrick provides an ideal discursive environment for the artworks created for the project.
Curator CHOI Yan Chi
Beijing Exhibition Part 1: 20 Nov 2010 – 28 Jan 2011 (Kubrick, Beijing)
Beijing Exhibition Part 2: 29 Jan 2011 – 28 Feb 2011 (Kubrick, Beijing)
Hong Kong Exhibition: 29 Jan 2011 – 28 Feb 2011 (1a space, Hong Kong)
Seminar: 26 Feb 2011 (1a space, Hong Kong)
Exhibition opening : 29 Jan 2011 (Saturday), 3.30pm – 5.30pm, 1a space
Participated artists: HO Siu Kee, Lam Wai Kit, CHING Chin Wai (Luke), WAN Lai Kuen (Annie), CHEUNG Hong Sang (Enoch), LAU Ching Ping, TAM Wai Ping (Lukas)
Participated writers: Longtin, CHAN Ning, LEUNG Chin Fung (Jeff), LEE Chiu Hing (Bono), LO Yin Shan (more writers will join the event later)
Curator: CHOI Yan Chi
The following programs are the extension of “1a@Beijing”, which will be holding after the end of “1a@Beijing”:
Beijing Exhibition: 1 Mar 2011 – 15 Apr 2011 (Kubrick, Beijing)
Hong Kong Exhibition: 28 Feb 2011 – 12 Mar 2011 (1a space, Hong Kong)
Seminar: April 2011 (Kubrick, Beijing)
Seminar: May 2011 (Hong Kong)
Kubrick, Beijing: Block 2, Dangdai MOMA2 North.1, Xiangheyuan Road, Dongzhimen, Dongcheng, Beijing
1a@Beijing Part 2: open the pages, you see me seeing you
29.01 - 28.02.2011
Date ｜16 April 2011
Time ｜14:00 - 16:00
Venue｜Lecture Hall, Today Art Museum, Beijng
李照興 Bono LEE
蔡仞姿 CHOI Yan Chi
朗 天 Long Tin
譚偉平 Lukas TAM
方敏兒 Janet FONG
石玩玩 SHI Wan Wan
馮博一 FENG Bo Yi
張康生 Enoch CHEUNG
劉清平 LAU Ching Ping
陳 寧 CHAN Ning
盧燕珊 LO Yin Shan
Date ｜17 April 2011
Time ｜14:30 - 16:30
Venue｜Broadway Cinematheque MOMA, Beijing
譚偉平 TAM Wai Ping
蔡仞姿 CHOI Yan Chi
朗 天 Long Tin
陳 寧 CHAN Ning
李照興 Bono LEE
尤 洋 YOU Yang
馮博一 FENG Bo Yi
尹麗娟 Annie WAN
劉清平 LAU Ching Ping
方敏兒 Janet FONG
盧燕珊 LO Yin Shan
*The seminars will be conducted in Mandarin.
Individualism: Reflecting on Independence, Non-conformity, and the Commodification of Art (translated version)
Our discussion is to looks at how an artist decides on his/her path of artistic endeavour. It holds a strong belief in the power of art to actualise one’s true self. Being “self-seeking” or “self-sustained” does not necessarily mean standing on the outside or acting against the rules. Rather, it means the search for artistic autonomy amidst the larger discursive formations and markets. In fact, an artistic cohort of “singularities” has always been here as alive as the many trends in contemporary art and the grand narratives.
-----The talk aims at exploring the significance of non-conformity and individualism in art and its relation to culture.
"open the pages, you see me seeing you” is a pre-event exhibition that looks at Hong Kong contemporary art in this light. It seeks to start the discussion with the concept of mutual gaze. With “singularities”, independence practices or individualism we try to formulate a way of art making that is free from the perspective of “Others”, be it the markets, the trends, or the dominant discourse. All the works featured in the exhibition are first and foremost driven by the artists’ own bearing; cultural identities, cultural or political symbolism, if any, are not their defining elements but simply there. The hailing of “singularities” does not at all mean to celebrate “self-centeredness”. Rather, it suggests persistence that culminates in unique and immense artistic strength. It is the ways in which art can return to its rightful state. It is how art can introduce alternative thinking and yield its cultural power in times of turbulence. It is how we envisage the role of art in culture and contemporary society.
Markets and trends have their reason to exist, which is not a bad thing after all. It is us who should think about how to make art with an attitude or awareness, and how to maneuver, understand, and make good use of the freedom and independence we enjoy in contemporary art.
Reckoning the differences of the cultural environment between Hong Kong and Mainland China, we call for the mutual look at the art and the present of both sides.
Let me sign off with a quote selected by Hong Kong writer, Ning CHAN.
“The poet can have only one prayer: not to understand the unacceptable—let me
not understand, so that I may not be seduced…let me not hear, so that I may not
answer…The poet’s only prayer is a prayer for deafness.” by Russian poet, Marina
Tsvetayeva in “Art in the light of Conscience” (1932)
This is a quote from a Russian Poet.
CHOI Yan Chi
Jan 29, 2011 - Feb 28, 2011
Beijing Kubrick Bookstore, Beijing
Please refer to the Chinese version.
I am here beside Kai Tak waiting for you !
I am here beside Kai Tak waiting for you ! -- China Contemporary with Hong Kong
Artists：Ge Fei + Lin Zhen, Hua Jun , Xin Yunpeng , Zhao Chen
Opening Reception： 7 p.m., 20 May 2011 (Fri)
Dialogue with artists and curator (To be Conducted in Cantonese and Mandarin): 21 May 2011 (Sat), 2:30pm
From the fraternal hatred and passions of Hui Man-keung and Ting Lik in the classic television series “The Bund”, to the rivalry between Alan Tam and Leslie Cheung that dominated the music world, to king of the nonsensical Stephen Chow . . . movies, television, and popular music are for generation after generation the imprints that mark the passing of years. In the same way, Kai Tak Airport has been an important window onto the growth and development of Hong Kong since its economic boom, bearing witness to the joys and sorrows of waves of mass migration in 1990s, until its “glorious retirement” after re-unification. Today, it awaits its transformation to become a cruise terminal and new tourism attraction. The Kai Tak Airport is not only an important mark of the times; it is also the meeting point between Hong Kong and the outside world where all of the anticipation, fear, and imagination intersected.
Mainland China and Hong Kong have an inseparably close relationship, both economically and politically. For historical reasons, Hong Kong’s social norms, education and legal systems are totally different from that of the Mainland. The resulting cultural and intellectual divergence has often meant that the two cultures stood as opposites against each other.
However, since the reform and opening up of the Mainland since 1980s, as the dominant popular cultures, Hong Kong and Taiwan culture swept across the Mainland, bringing to the new generation of youth a great culture shock. Hong Kong and Taiwanese movies, television series, popular music, and stars accompanied this new generation as they grew up. During the journey of their maturation, the influence from Hong Kong culture stood as an exquisite panorama that grabbed attention and provoked thoughts.
The five emerging Mainland artists represented in this exhibition were born between 1970 and 1985. Although they grew up in different environments, they share one connective pen stroke, which is their relationship to Hong Kong popular culture. The curator, Janet Fong said, “Our various experiences from youth to adulthood formed our current personalities and ideas. Of the five artists participating in this exhibition, a commonality is their remembrance and records of memories and experiences that relate to Hong Kong.
This exhibition is held in the Cattle Depot Artist Village at To Kwa Wan, near Kai Tak Airport. Standing near this historical and cultural window of exchange, the five artists not only will show their stories, conceptions and imagination of Hong Kong, they greatly hope to have face to face interactions with the people and the culture of Hong Kong. Some artists will invite members of the public to participate in creating an artwork; others have plans to create a unique experience for each visitor. Through numerous methods, this exhibition tries to connect to memories of the popular culture, so as to construct an impression of contemporary Hong Kong.
In addition, this exhibition will also have an “Art Education Corner”, where through the artists’ saved childhood objects, pictures and words, more visitors will understand the impact Hong Kong culture has had on the generation who grew up after the Reform and Opening of the Mainland in 1980s, as well as its importance in this unique time-period of history.
HK International Art Fair 2011
1a space, as an independent, non-profit making contemporary visual art organization and art venue, has been playing an active role in local art and culture. Following the success from last year, 1a space will conduct, at ART HK 11 Hong Kong International Art Fair this year, two seminars and two concurring exhibitions plus Artist Guided Tours open to general public.
The seminars will be held on 27 May. The noon session are titled “Success of TLC: A case study on Contemporary Art Education”. Teachers, students, parents and artists from “Travel to Learn in the City” (“TLC”) will share their experience and insight in the learning of contemporary art. Through a series of study trips and school activities guided by local visual artists, TLC program is an attempt to construct a new and sustainable model for visual arts teaching at high school level. The project was launched with big success last year.
TLC is pleased to be collaborating with ART HK 11 as Schools Partner for the second year in a row. In addition to providing tailor-made workshops for an in-depth understanding of art in context, TLC also hopes to promote contemporary art to educators in secondary schools. Same as last year, TLC will develop and produce Education Packs for teachers and school groups, and host the Artist Guided Tours for the TLC program participants.
The afternoon session of the seminar will be a forum on the topic “From ‘Anticonformista’: Retrospective Debate after HK-Beijing Cultural Exchange”. Art / Culture Critics from the recent Hong Kong Beijing Cultural Exchange Exhibition “Open the pages , You see me seeing you” will provide self-reflections on their dialogues with the Art Scene in Beijing. The forum will help to shape a local cultural contextual reference to the concept of 'Anticonformista' (in chinese tèlìdúxíng).
At ART HK 11, 1a space will showcase works from both Hong Kong and Chinese Young Artists. Visit the installation work of HK Artist Trevor Yeung titled “System 01” at 1a’s Booth at HKCEC. Also take a free ride to the 1a space venue at Cattle Depot Artist Village to meet the works from five upcoming Chinese Visual Artists in the joint exhibition with the theme of “I am here beside Kai Tak waiting for you !” Free Shuttle Bus service from ART HK 11’s (HKCEC) to Cattle Depot Artist Village will operate in afternoon on 29 May.
TLC Seminar and Guided Tours
Seminar --- “Success of TLC: A case study on Contemporary Art Education”
Time: 27 May (Friday), 12:30 – 1:30pm
Venue: N211, L2, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Moderator : Choi Yan Chi
Speakers: CHUI Heun Lan(Program Director), TSE Yin Mo(Researcher), LEUNG Man Ting(HKSYC & IA Chan Nam Chong Memorial College), Peggy KWAN(Tang Shiu Kin Victoria Government Secondary School), Lam Mau(Munsung College), Carmen Kwok(SKH Lam Kau Mow Secondary School)
Guided Tours --- contemporary art introduction for visitor school groups
Hotline : 23339136 (Thu–Sun, 12-7pm)
Retrospective Debate after HK-Beijing Cultural Exchange”
‘Anticonformista’ (in chinese tèlìdúxíng), a classical Chinese term to describe the uprightness of an intellect, now becomes a sensitive term in China after the arrest of Ai Wei Wei. Coincidently 1a was using the same term as topic for discussion in Beijing. The title was immediately substituted with ‘Art Individualism’. This sharing session is the participants’ introspection of the state of contemporary art and culture in Hong Kong.
Time: 27 May (Friday), 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Venue: N211, L2, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Speakers: CHOI Yan Chi, Long Tin, CHAN Ning, TAM Wai Ping, HO Siu Kee, WAN Lai Kuen Annie, LAU Ching Ping, CHEUNG Hong Sang Enoch, LAM Wai Kit
“System 01” --- An installation work by Trevor Yeung
Time: 25-29 May (Wed-Sun)
Venue: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
(Hall 3B-3E, Booth X1，next to Information Center)
“I am here beside Kai Tak waiting for you !”
Joint Exhibition of new Chinese Visual Artists
Time: 20 May – 30 Jul
Venue: 1a space, Cattle Depot Artist Village
Visiting Cattle Depot Artist Village
1a space will provide Free Shuttle Bus service from Art HK 11’s (HKCEC) to Cattle Depot Artist Village at 2:30pm on 29 May.
IN SEARCH OF NEW CHINA
Opening Reception: Thursday 29 September 2011 7PM
On 2003, 1a space had presented a solo exhibition of Danny Yung – ‘Tree. Man’. After 8 years, 1a space is greatly honored to present Danny Yung again in our Hong Kong Masters Series to recognize his significant contribution to the arts development in Hong Kong and international cultural exchange.
Danny Yung manipulated a historic photograph taken in 1962, featuring Mao surrounded by China’s top leaders. Yung's first attempt was in 1992, a series of six Photoshop work was published as supplement to Photo Arts Monthly of Hong Kong which was subsequently banned in China. In 2001, Yung experiment the series further into six painting stretched on canvas, the work was chosen by Hong Kong Arts Biennial. In 2002 Yung produced a video work and used in his theater work. All through the years, Yung explored three generations of "In Search of New China" in different presentations.
In the year of celebration of 90th birth of Chinese Communist Party, the Photoshop technology has also grown much more sophisticated. At this timely moment Yung would like to further develop the concept of this work, continue his experimental exercise in manipulating the images, which is to be the fourth generation of his "In Search of New China”.
YUNG, Danny N.T.
Recipient of the Merit Cross of the Order of Merit on Ribbon of the Federal Republic of Germany
Danny Yung began his life-long devotion in all aspects of the arts, including experimental films, cartoons, conceptual art, installation, video and performing arts from the late 1970's. He is one of the founding members and now artist director of Zuni Icosahedron. In the past 30 years, Yung has been involved in over 100 theatre productions as director, scriptwriter, producer and stage designer.
Yung has been appointed by government the founding member of the Hong Kong Arts and Development Council (HKADC) and is sitting on the board of West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and the Hong Kong Design Centre. He is currently sitting on the Management Board of HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity and the advisory boards of the School of Design of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Cultural Studies of Hong Kong Lingnan University, School of Drama of Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, and the Centre for Civil Society and Governance of the University of Hong Kong.
In 2009, Yung was bestowed the Merit Cross of the Order of Merit on Ribbon of the Federal Republic of Germany by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany for his achievement and contributions on the front of cultural exchanges between Germany and Hong Kong.
DETOUR 2011 – USE-LESS
Organizer: Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design
Participant: 1a space
Exhibition: Travel to Learn in the City
Curator: Mr CHAN Kam-shing Chris, Ms CHUI Heung-lan
Dates: 25 Nov – 11 Dec, 2011
Hour: Sun to Thur 11.00 – 20.00 / Fri and Sat 11.00 – 22.00
Venue: Former Police Married Quarters, Hollywood Road, Central
Rapid developments recently in Hong Kong have brought up debates about over-consumption and over-development as well as cultural conservation and the environment. Although our city is like a fast paced concrete jungle, if we pay careful attention to it, we could still find plenty inspirations and resources hidden within it. Even wastes and refuses, or old and abandoned objects could be transformed into source of inspiration, regeneration and new energy for the community.
As one of the participants in DETOUR 2011, 1a space will showcase artworks developed by students who have participated in “Travel to Learn in the City”, an experimental art education scheme presented by 1a space during 2010 – 2011. The scheme has brought practicing artists, secondary school teachers and students together in different workshops that encouraged students’ creativity and expression. Curated to correspond to this year’s theme “USE-LESS”, the pieces in this exhibition will reflect the concerns of these youngsters to their communities, how they re-think about their living environment and their new perspectives on regeneration, resources, and their city.
The exhibition will be held in the Former Police Married Quarters, Hollywood Road, Central.
Participating Schools: SKH Lam Kau Mow Secondary School, Immaculate Heart of Mary College, Munsang College, CCC Mong Man Wai College, HKSYC & IA Chan Nam Chong Memorial College, Arts and Technology Education Centre, TWGHs Mrs Fung Wing Fung Ting College, CCC Kei To Secondary School, St. Peter’s Secondary School, Ko Lui Secondary School, Kwok Tak Seng Catholic Secondary School
For more information about DETOUR 2011 : http://www.detour.hk/
One Suitcase Per Person
Nov 23, 2011 - Jan 31, 2012
Artists: David Diao, Ken Lum, Hiram To
Curated by Davina Lee
Executive Director, M+ of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority
Officiating guest: Dr. Lars Nittve
Opening Reception– 23 November 7.00pm - 8.30pm
Artist talk will be held on Saturday afternoon 26 November at 1a space
One Suitcase Per Person presents three ‘generations’ of Chinese artists, David Diao, Ken Lum and Hiram To, who began making art between 1960s and 1980s, and whose practices span Abstract Modernism, Conceptual and Post-conceptualism.
Taking the title of a painting by David Diao as a starting point, One Suitcase Per Person is an interpretation of a public notice seen by Diao before boarding the plane as a child as he fled the turmoil of the Chinese Civil War in 1949. The exhibition questions whether the nature of identity is fluid and interchangeable, shaped by cultural circumstance and upbringing, or whether identity is static and non-negotiable.
One Suitcase Per Person brings together three artists whose histories are disparate but ultimately sharing a common sensibility, particularly in their choice of aesthetic and conceptual goals. With cultural trajectories spanning China, Hong Kong, United States, Canada and Australia, Diao and Lum, in particular, are groundbreaking pioneers in their practices, essentially they are ‘Chinese contemporary artists’ before such a term was coined, or accruing particularly cultural meanings and significance as we know of today.
Referencing physical migration, the many permutations of cultural migration and acculturation, One Suitcase Per Person presents Diao’s series of paintings Da Hen Li House, Lum’s photographic series Schnitzel Company and To’s new photo-based pieces Fortune Landscapes.
The works by these artists are untypically ‘Chinese’ in what the public today may assume ‘Chinese art’ to be. Exposing Hong Kong audiences to this wider debate, One Suitcase Per Person will also offer the Hong Kong public unprecedented access to the works of these internationally renowned artists and to the artists themselves by bringing them to Hong Kong to participate in the exhibition and a talk that is being planned.
About the Artists and Works
In a career that spanned over 40 years, New York-based David Diao has been described as a ‘legendary abstract modernist’. Diao began his art practice as an Abstractionist in the Greenberg tradition, exhibiting with Paula Copper and Leo Castelli in 1969, followed by participation in several Whitney Biennials in the 1970s. With an evolving career questioning the roles and histories of Abstraction and Modernism, since the 1980s, his work has been marked with both a sense of dry wit and humour. More recently, he turned to his family heritage, producing works that are both biographical and about the social conditions he experienced.
Diao’s recent works dealt with the emotional loss ensuing from his family’s hurried departure from the family’s home in Chengdu in 1949 on the founding of the People’s Republic of China, resulting in works that combine references to architecture, memory and Chinese language.
One of Canada’s foremost conceptual artists, Ken Lum’s complex body of works relate to the construction of identity within the politics of assimilation. Lum’s highly charged, emotive works make use of advertising-like imagery and language, exposing the politics of nationality and internationality. Recently, his blend of photographic ‘portraits’ and installations increasingly moved into the realm of public art, where large-scale billboards become his communication tool.
Lum’s Schnitzel Company first appeared as a series of billboards in Vienna in 2004, in collaboration with the Vienna Chamber of Labour. His tongue-in-cheek fictive Schnitzel Company tackles the feel good factor of the Employee of the Month as satire, questioning the dynamics of ethnic groupings, social interactionand corporate expectations.
Using imagery from the 1955 film Soldier of Fortune— the first Hollywood film released in the United States which was shot in Hong Kong— To creates new landscapes teeming with the lost romance of the Orient. Merging with views of the Peak Tram overlooking Hong Kong
Born in Hong Kong, Hiram To left the city in his teens, spending extended periods between Scotland and Australia before returning as a resident. During his time in Australia, To’s unique and often unexpected installation works gained recognition, which led to invitations to exhibit at the Camden Arts Centre and The Winnipeg Art Gallery, making him one of the first Chinese-origin contemporary artists to be mounting solo shows at a British contemporary art museum and a Canadian state gallery. To's work tackles the nature of changing identity and its coded relationships with the mass media and personal/public interface. Taking references from a wide variety of sources such as literature, film, music, popular culture and art, he creates multi-layered works that embrace and challenge the way that identity is constructed or fragmented.harbour and Aberdeen floating with sampans are images of flower arrangements, To’s Fortune Landscapes not only depict a bygone era, but also references faded aspirations and the artists’ own familial recollections.
About the Curator
Davina Lee is an independent curator, writer and founder of Diorama Projects, an organization based in Hong Kong which develops and realizes a variety of cultural and art-related events, including Diorama Projections, a series of screenings and discussions and exhibitions including Distance Decay (2009), The Mother of All Journeys (2009), Proxemics (2009), Chroniques Hongkongaises (2010), Simulated Alternate Realities (2010) and 30 Lux (2011).