Saturday, December 29, 2007

Hong Kong Shenzhen Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism/ Architecture

Dear Organizer of HKSZ Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism/ Architecture,

I have visited the Shenzhen section of the Biennale during the
holiday, which was very interesting, consisting of works by
architects, planners, artists, sociologists and writers. All their
contributions are regarded as official participation in the biennale
and included in the catalogue. I have also heard that our Hong Kong
organizer provided a substantial fund in millions HK$ to the Shenzhen

As an artist invited to take part in this Biennale Festival which is
NOT the official Biennale Exhibition as stated, I was already
reminded there will be zero budget and not even installation support
whereas the OFFICIAL biennale participants received a production
budget and are included in the catalogue (not the leaflet which is
ONLY for the Festival artists).

As Hong Kong artists, we all know how difficult to make things happen
here and have all sorts of experience to work in zero budget
exhibition but we also know we're doing meaningful work but no cheap
extras. Artists need to make many efforts to finish a work which is
not meant to just fill up the ample exhibition space in the former
Police Station compound and deserve a little respect.

This HKSZ biennale is generously supported by the Hong Kong
government and the Jockey Club. All visitors to this biennale would
think all participants including artists of this Biennale Festival
got the same support. After all, what's the difference between
Biennale Exhibition, Biennale Festival and/or Biennale Gallery? So it
has to be clarified, not only the names but also the way how it's
organized and curated. I think it is important to let everybody know
whereas huge amount of money is spent on big cultural events and
institutions, there is no corresponding support to small
organizations and artists.

Although I would love to exhibit my work in such a big exhibition, I
have to withdraw as an extra Biennale Festival participant because of
my protest to the organizer's indifference to the artist and its
unfair and unprofessional organization and expenditure.

Leung Chi Wo

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas dinner

We don't celebrate Christmas for religious reasons like most others. However, because of the holiday mood, we do feel like doing something special. When I reviewed the last 15 Christmas eves, I actually didn't remember how special they were. It's always dinner at home; for a couple of times, there were also one or two guests.
What I remember the best was the first Christmas eve in my old flat. It was such an excitement being in a new place. I even bought a real Christmas tree, something I never did before and ever since. A good friend and his partner called Johnson were invited over. It seemed to be the first time I met him but for sure it was the last time. He was then entering to his later stage of cancer disease. We had some pan-fried salmon, wine and very nice chats. It was such a lovely evening.
Johnson hasn't appeared in my conversation with my friend for very very long time. I may suppose he has already rested in peace. But every now and then, Johnson still pops up in may mind; maybe I just couldn't remember much other Christmas eves I had.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Podcast with Sarah Van Ingelgom

Fo Tan is an old industrial area in Hong Kong, recently revived by artists' studios. Sarah Van Ingelgom talks about her Blue Lotus Gallery, the first gallery equipped with a regular exhibition programme in Fo Tan. English, 30 min.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Curator: Are you interested in taking part in my exhibition which is important and international...., sponsored by a big foundation and blessed by the government...., to be grandly opened by our mayor....
Artist: Of course, I can specially make a new work for it....
Curator: ...but we have zero budget for your production...
Artist: Hmmm...
Curator: Oh sorry, we can't provide artist fee neither.... I hope you understand the situation but I really want to include good artists in it.
Artist: Ok, I can show an existing work that hasn't been shown here before. It also fits perfectly to the theme. I actually would like to make a slight alternation to make it more unique to this show....
Curator: Oh sorry we have no budget....
Artist: Well, I can cover the material costs myself, but can you just get some people to help out...
Curator: Oh sorry we don't have people....
Artist: I understand. So I can just project a video which is also new to the audience here.
Curator: That's good.
Artist: But can you help out to get a projector?
Curator: No, sorry!
Artist: Perhaps you can get a projector manufacturer to sponsor. I know one which has sponsored many art exhibitions....
Curator: Maybe you can request for the sponsorship yourself.
Artist: I'm not an institution. It's difficult for me. Maybe....
Curator: No, sorry. So can you still participate in the show with no budget and projector?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I went to Lianzhou last weekend for the International Photo Festival there. To go there was a really long journey. Though being part of Guangdong province, it's close to Hunan and Guangxi provinces. After reaching Guangzhou, it's another 6 hour-ride on the road. It says Lianzhou is an ancient city with over a thousand years' history but what I saw was a town packed of pragmatic but poorly maintained buildings from the late 80s and onwards. The few buildings I have seen dated earlier than the second world war were in really bad conditions. The only exceptions were the factories and warehouses used for the venues of the photo festival.
It was covered by a very think smog although it's surrounded by mountains. It's dusty everywhere. On the way to Lianzhou, even leaves were covered by a layer of dust which may come from the cement factories nearby and power plants. On the roadside, I didn't see other industries but small vegetable farms, garages and gas stations.
As usual, you felt overwhelmed with so many artists' works and ended up forgetting what you have seen. Actually not many participating artists attended because of its location, I guess. In the festival guide, all the Hong Kong artists' names were spelt in pinyin for English names such that we sounded like other Chinese artists! I became Liang Zhihe (again) and Stanley Wong was Huang Binpie, etc. The only exception is David Clarke who retained his English name somehow (though "e" was missing there).
I exhibited my new series Fish Farm Houses and provided to the organizer an introduction in both Chinese and English. For some reasons, my Chinese text was missing and they translated for their own version from the English. It finally became something totally confusing. For example, they even invented a place called 漁塘府 for the translation of fish farm houses! Ah....
See my photo tour of Lianzhou.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Arts writer/ project organizer Yeung Yang talks about her recent participation in VITAL BODIES: International Conference in Liverpool John Moores University which was part of Vital'07: International Chinese Live Art Festival in Manchester. Cantonese, 33 min.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Real or prop

Yesterday when I opened my mail box, I found a letter posted to my studio address but not any recipient. Being curious in its handwritten address, I opened it immediately. To my surprise, it's so much just like the imagined "props" of a triad movie which I exhibited in the 14QK show at Para/Site a couple of weeks ago. But this is not in a movie or an art exhibition. It's a piece of A4-sized paper, on which there are handwritten Chinese words "1819 burns you to death. Leung Chi Wo". Overleaf there's a no. which seems to be an HKID and the name of a person "Fung ??? On" whom I could hardly know. It's really mysterious, not far away from a movie plot indeed. A couple of burnt "joss notes"(usually as offering to the dead in Chinese ceremony) are enclosed. Could it be a joke or threat? But for what? For the first time, I reported a criminal case to the police for its possibility of a real threat, or to get a clue of it. As you could imagine like what you have seen in the movie, I was interviewed by a CID detective in a small room. They're serious about it and started investigation right-away like sending this letter for forensic test for finger prints.
Of course I hope it's only a joke but I don't think it's funny. Never thought this could happen in my real life! And what happens if the police really arrest the person who sent this to me.