The 58th Venice Biennale, May You Live In Interesting Times (11 May–24 November 2019), certainly benefitted from low expectations, given the lacklustre curatorial of the previous edition, when different segments of the show were conceptually framed with titles like 'Pavilion of Joys and Fears' and 'Pavilion of Colours'. Add to this the...
Hong Kong-based artist Zheng Bo's social, ecological, and community-engaged art practice has, in recent years, focused on moving beyond a human-centred perspective to an all-inclusive, multi-species approach. He takes up marginalised plants and communities of people as subjects in his large-scale interventions, which reintroduce wildness into...
The weather was clement for the annual Auckland Art Fair (2–5 May 2019), which was again at The Cloud on Queens Wharf. This year's edition was a get-together of 41 galleries, mostly from around Auckland and across New Zealand, with 5 spaces hailing from Sydney and the rest from Cook Islands (Bergman Gallery), Hobart (Michael Bugelli Gallery),...
This is the fifth exhibition we’ve held and we will be continuing to partner on more. We are not a museum, we do not have a collection like the Guggenheim, so partnership is how we will always work, whether in contemporary art or going back to more of the traditional approach such as with our first exhibition Transforming Minds: Buddhism in Art. I think the beauty of an organisation such as ours is that we can sometimes do contemporary art and sometimes the historical, or we can mine both. Transforming Minds had the traditional Buddhism sculptures and artwork and we also had contemporary masterpieces from artists such as Zhang Huan, Mariko Mori, Michael Joo and Montien Boonma.
We will always try to do something unique. This particular partnership is unique in that it is a three-way partnership with the Guggenheim and UBS. It was a no-brainer for us to work on this exhibition because of the theme being focused on South and Southeast Asia. I don’t believe Hong Kong in recent years has had a show like this. So in the future if there are unique exhibitions like this and if it fits with our schedule – we can do only about three exhibitions per year – then we will do them. It depends on our organisation also and if it fits with our mission.
Yes absolutely. Our mission is not just about art, but also to teach Asians about each other through art, through public programming and other mediums. Art is really important, especially now with such a vibrant scene here. This exhibition talks about the culture, politics and history of the region, which is something Asia Society traditionally has always done.
Two things I’m most excited about: first, and this is something that was not done at the prior show in New York and that has not been done extensively in Hong Kong, is that for this show we will be doing programming tours for the sight-impaired using audio guides to talk about the art so they can enjoy this exhibition. A wonderful thing about our site at Asia Society is that for anyone who is sight-impaired, the nature and the sounds and the smells add to the experience and that will also be part of the tour. The Guggenheim has also encouraged us to explore this. Hopefully with success, we will include it for future exhibitions too, building in an audience that may not traditionally go to exhibitions.
The other part of the programme that I’m excited about is the artist-led workshops. We’re going to have three of the exhibiting artists coming in over the next couple of months – Khadim Ali from Australia, Tayeba Begum Lipi from Bangladesh and Tang Da Wu from Singapore. All three will do a residency and workshop as part of an in-depth programme with us.
Yes, this is new for us. We’ve always had artists come in and speak and we’ve had artists attend the opening events, but this is really the first time that we’ve done programming with contemporary artists from around the region.
I agree with you. When I lived here from 1992 – 2002 (I left and then came back), Hong Kong was always a city with a lot of spirit but when it came to arts and culture, I thought before that it didn’t have any soul. I think coming back this time – I’ve been back in Hong Kong for two years now – first as a consultant and now as the Executive Director here, I really do feel Hong Kong has a soul. In terms of arts and culture, there are more artists, they’re being brought together, and they’re being exhibited. There is this dynamic energy, with or without Art Basel and M+ contributing to that discussion. And then the galleries of course have come in. I think these are really exciting developments. Hong Kong needs it, Hong Kong people want it and even after M+ is built, an organisation like Asia Society will continue to be relevant because our scale is different.
Not only M+, but the Central Police Station (this historic building is awaiting transformation as a centre for the arts - [O]) is also something that we’re looking forward to. In fact, we are so looking forward to both these organisations being online and running. The energy is already there, but now we can connect the dots, so I feel like we’re in some ways paving the way. Even when these organisations are complete, Asia Society will not go away. Our space is 365 square feet, we still have this beautiful outdoor space, so I do see us continuing to be a very vibrant part of the arts and cultural community and in fact even more so when M+ is done, we will still have really wonderful and relevant shows. We will still have a venue for many of the artists or the organisations to speak.
I look at having been in New York for nine years. In New York where you have a Met or MOMA or Guggenheim or if you work for a little museum downtown - it was just as vibrant in Chinatown. So I really do think it will be something that Hong Kong will be ready for when M+ is done in 2016.
Yes, exactly. M+ is over in West Kowloon, Asia Society is here in Admiralty and what’s really exciting too is what’s happening in Wong Chuk Hang with all the other galleries going in. The new MTR will create a hub and we’re going to be part of that art network I think.
Yes, yes, very much so. — [O]
No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 30 October - 16 February 2014
Simryn Gill's methods include photographing, drawing, collecting, altering, casting and writing. The artist presents two works from the MCA Collection, Untitled (Interior) II, 2008, and Carbon Copy, 1998, at the 21st Biennale of Sydney. These works are separated by ten years and use profoundly different material and formal approaches, yet both arise from the close attention Gill pays to the ubiquitous and overlooked, and from her habitual process of harvesting materials and forms from her immediate environment.
Untitled (Interior) II, 2008, is one of five bronze sculptures the artist cast from fissures in dry dams and creeks during the severe drought that affected South Eastern Australia between 2001 and 2009, described as 'the worst drought in 1000 years'. The initial silicon rubber casts were made near Nyngan and Lake George in NSW, and cast in bronze in Bangkok, Thailand, by Apisit Nongbuo, who comes from a family of bronze artists who have traditionally made ritual objects for temples.
Carbon Copy comprises 53 parts, including 26 typed texts and their carbon copies. The words and phrases feature statements by Australian politician Pauline Hanson and Malaysia's former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad regarding immigration and refugees. Phrases such as 'Do we want or need any of these people here?' and 'foreign miscreants and parasites' are referenced, as well as words including 'succumb', 'sincere', 'trust me', 'swamped', 'kowtowing' and 'assimilate'. It is not always clear who said what, but collectively the words generate a sense of panic that knows no borders.
Struck by the remarkably similar language used by both individuals, Gill extracted the words and represented them as typewritten and duplicated texts. The words are repeated without spacing and arranged in geometric blocks, creating a kind of abstraction in both meaning and form. The repetition of the typed words also creates warp and weft patterns, such as diagonal lines of the same letters: text as texture, or textile. It is as if these inflammatory phrases have become woven into the fabric of everyday life, and are now almost invisible and impossible to unpick.
Adapted from: Russell Storer, 'Simryn Gill', in Natasha Bullock (ed.), MCA Collection Handbook, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, 2016
The Propeller Group was established in 2006 by Phunam Thuc Ha (b. 1974, Saigon, Vietnam) and Tuan Andrew Nguyen (b. 1976, Saigon), who were joined by Matt Lucero (b. 1976, Upland, California) in 2008. Phunam studied sculpture and conservation in Bangkok, Thailand; Chiang Mai, Thailand; and at the École des Beaux Arts, Hanoi, Vietnam. Nguyen earned a BFA from the University of California, Irvine (1999), and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia (2004), where he met Lucero, who completed his MFA in 2003. Lucero earned a BFA from the University of California, Riverside (2000). Phunam and Nguyen cofounded the artist-run alternative space Sàn Art (Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon) along with Dinh Q. Lê and Tiffany Chung in 2007. The Propeller Group now participates in operating the space.
The Propeller Group makes large-scale collaborative projects in new media, from videos to web-based applications, taking a special interest in mass communication. Applying systems-hacking tactics, they appropriate strategies from advertising, marketing, and the rarefied forms of commodity exchange and display that take place in galleries and museums. Information is their medium and Vietnam is frequently their subject. In Viet Nam the World Tour (VNTWT) (2010–12), the Propeller Group subjects the nation—its history, culture, and people—to a re-branding campaign. Enlisting street muralists, graffiti artists, hip-hop dancers, and pop musicians, they attempt to propagate a global public image of contemporary Vietnam as fresh, vibrant, and creative. Via promotional videos, performances, a website, and paraphernalia (including t-shirts and stickers), VNTWT exploits the power of pop culture to satirize nationalism.
To appreciate the Propeller Group’s work is to enter an extended network of aesthetic and cultural production. Their participation in The Unseen (4th Guangzhou Triennial, China, 2012) involved artisans from Dafen, the Chinese village famous for manufacturing reproductions of oil paintings. The Propeller Group invited workers to paint self-portraits in the spirit of emancipated creativity, with their usual product relegated to the background. This premise was adapted from a 2004 project by the group REGIONAL, who are acknowledged in the work’s title, Regional Reproduction: Self-Portraiture and Emerging Artistic Consciousness in Dafen (2012).
Asia Society is a not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to furthering the understanding of the countries and cultures of Asia. Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd in New York, we are an international organization with 11 centers in the U.S. and Asia — Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Sydney, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai and Washington, DC.
The Asia Society Hong Kong Center (ASHK) was established in 1990 by a group of Hong Kong community leaders, led by Sir Q.W. Lee, then chairman of Hang Seng Bank. It is the first overseas center of the 11 centers of Asia Society, which was founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd in New York as a not-for-profit, non-government educational organization.
As a leading platform for the discussion of Pan-Asian subjects and the impact of global concerns on Asia, we offer educational programs for a wide range of audience. In 2011, we hosted close to 100 programs, including lectures, exhibitions, performances, film screenings, tours, seminars and conferences. Over 97% of our programs are open to the public.
Welcome to the newest Art Basel show. With half of the participating galleries coming from Asia and Asia-Pacific, Art Basel in Hong Kong assumes a significant role in the international artworld, providing a portal to the region's artists. The new show gives galleries from around the world a platform in Asia to demonstrate the way they work with artists, and bring their highest quality work to Hong Kong
Known as the gateway between the East and West, Hong Kong ranks among the world's most dynamic international capitals. A 21st century metropolis, it is a port city with a vast skyline rising above its bustling Victoria Harbour. In addition to the many museums, concert halls, and performance spaces, a vibrant melting pot of cultures makes Hong Kong a place of endless exploration.
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