FRAMED: AI WEIWEI AND HONG KONG ARTISTS
I visited Hong Kong several times, and the city left me with
a great impression. It boasts the concept and order of a civil society, as well as many hard-working and well-educated citizens. It is easy to imagine the possibilities for China with Hong Kong’s existence. Previously I collaborated with Para Site Art Space and Vito Acconci in an exhibition, and have worked with them again on other projects. I welcome the new opportunity to work with Duddell’s today. What can be seen in the development of Hong Kong’s contemporary culture is relatively scarce; the fostering of culture requires everyone’s efforts. Each instant of effort, expression, and exchange will have an impact on society that is beyond our imagination. This impact will complete everyone’s sense of existence,
and enhance the quality of their lives.
When I was entrusted with this exhibition, a simple thought I had was to gather a group of Hong Kong artists to participate in the show together. First, I developed this concept because
I was curious about the artists of Hong Kong. I believe that many young artists are spending extraordinary efforts towards their work, and I have seen many interesting pieces throughout the process. One of the artists in the exhibition, Frog King, is an old friend of mine since the 1980’s, and I am delighted that he has generously accepted my invitation to participate in the show. I wish that in the course of creating an exhibition, we are also setting a standard. I think the name of the exhibition,
Framed, has succinctly expressed this intention, and hinted at the absurdity of our conditions. It is an inevitable fable, expressing the history of Hong Kong’s colonial past, and the rejection and adaptation taking place today like the relationship between an organ transplant and its new host.
The judgment on politics is not a simple one. It is related
to one’s quality of living and aspirations, including reactions to one’s survival and living environments, as well as the variety of contents and conditions resulted from his/her expressions. It is therefore difficult to clearly explain the political and social implications of a work, unless the artist is asked to give up a specific system of the language of art. When these artists have chosen to work with me at their own will, changes have already occurred, and change is what culture has longed for and worked towards.
When we discuss cultural activities, we routinely categorize art into regions, with geographical or political boundaries. With the political conditions and social developments today, these definitions are no longer applicable in an age of digital communications and globalization. A good exhibition or a good artist may come from any social background, or we can say that backgrounds are no longer relevant. This is a remarkable feat; I wish that all artists residing in Hong Kong will be blessed by this era.
Ai Weiwei, 2013
Press release courtesy Duddell's.