Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Just attended a talk on the future museum in Hong Kong. As expected, it somehow acted as promotion for an university course and there's nothing new as I have known everybody on the panel. (However T made a cool speech.) I did treasure such an occasion when people in the community could sit down and talk. Still it's good to voice out more before the decision maker would listen.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Podcast with Lee Kit

A chat with Hong Kong artist Lee Kit who has recently completed a one month-residency in Wellington of New Zealand, hosted by the Enjoy Public Art Gallery. Lee talks about his project and experience in Wellington and compares its art scene with that in Hong Kong. Cantonese, 41 min.
Lee Kit's blog

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I have met a very interesting artist the other day. He's 張北如(Cheung Pak Yu), truly a great master of crafts. He showed me a few playful works from his pocket, some melon seeds made of clay. It's super realistic. Or, you just thought real even holding them in your hand. The only slight difference would be that you felt them a little bit cooler than room temperature because of the ceramic nature. He said somehow it's not all about realism as he didn't modelled them after some real seeds. It's only the observation of many and he created the unique pieces. It can be most abstract.
It's our luck to have him (living for many many years) in Hong Kong. Perhaps there isn't another He in mainland China.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Contemporary China I

Last weekend I attended a seminar on contemporary photography in China as a respondent to three writer/artists' presentations. The first made use the skyscraper as a metaphor for urban development in China. It was an interesting approach and informative. I raised the gender issue for the masculine symbol and almost only male artists featured in the presentation. The speaker somehow admitted it as a matter of fact in China's art scene and he simply couldn't come across many female artists who deal with the subject.
Yes, we all know about that in China as very few female artists have been featured in important Chinese art show. I was just curious if the speaker noticed any reason behind. The artist from Shenzhen who was also on the panel voiced out his opinion: "I don't care if the artist is a man or woman but only if it's good or bad art!" Well, I agree with it if we only look at individual artwork regardless any interest derived from gender differences. However, it's not only an artistic issue. It's about the society, without this knowledge, it will be so difficult to appreciate the arts from it. Looking at all this so called urban photography, I just wonder while many Chinese artists address the contemporary Chinese society with their art, why they could be so selectively concerned with the society. It seemed that I just raised something which was nothing important to them.
Maybe I am too naive to ask the rich why people starve as he only cares if the food is delicious or not!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Fo Tan Open Studio

I saw part of the Open Studio last weekend. Quite a lot of people were there. It's a good art education for the society. But to be honest, there was less excitement for me this time than before. Maybe my curiosity has been fulfilled, or there were not many new or exciting things to see. Anyway, it's good to have it to demonstrate to the society there is a growing artists' community.
Friends asked me why I didn't open my studio. If people want to see my work, they can see it in the current HKSZ biennale. I'm not very much into just showing my space to people whom I'm not familiar. There could be difficulties too. I remember one time there were tons of kids running in my studio, something I could hardly control. Maybe it's not something nice when you had someone walking into your studio showing no interest in your work at all! It might be easier if it's simply a gallery as you had no expectation on your audience who could be critical anyway. (Who cares?) But it's your own space, sort of intimate; people there somehow become your guests, whom you may deal with respect.
I think I just missed the earlier Fo Tan open studio when there's no sponsors, no programmes or structure. It was so organic that a lot of studios just happen to open the doors on the same day. You didn't need to spend much to organize it. The whole event was minimal. Things could happen in short notice. Maybe it's my romanticism but I found pity that it missed the chance to grow beyond the institutional culture. It could be a truly simple and independent event. Indeed I have no problem with the institution (while you can name good or bad institutions). Para/Site is developed in such a direction. I would just love to see what would the Fo Tan community evolve with the energy and resources from the inside.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

HKSZ Biennale - withdrawal/return

In the last couple of days, my decision to withdraw from the Biennale Gallery of the Hong Kong Shenzhen Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism/ Architecture has raised concerns of friends in the arts community on the issue of artists' rights in front of authorities or institutions. I had some correspondence with the exhibition curators and artists, and today I decided to take part in it again upon request by the curators for the following reasons:

1. My action to withdraw from the Biennale was totally a protest against the Biennale organizer which I thought took advantage from the individual artists and participants. I did not mean to create any damage and trouble to any individuals involved in it. But since I announced my withdrawal, I have sensed an uneasy situation faced by some Biennale curatorial team members personally, which was not what I intended.

2. All participating artists in the Biennale Gallery are now offered certain support and financial aid by the organizer.

3. Another Hong Kong artist who also withdrew from the exhibition for lacking support from the organizer at earlier stage has been invited to take part again with funding to install his exhibits.

While I truly appreciate the individual efforts in the last few days trying to improve the situation and to make things happen, I restate my protest against the Biennale institution for it created a hierarchy of exhibitors separating the "main exhibitors" from the "parallel exhibitors" (including the Biennale Gallery artists) whom are still left out in the official catalogue.

Although there is growing public expenditure and private sponsorship in the arts (mainly in high profile-events and development), disregard to professional artistic practice and artists' rights is still ubiquitous in our society which is unexceptionally and unfortunately reflected in this Biennale. I hope not to confuse anyone with my actions as negotiation with one particular party for more advantage. Instead, I only tried to voice out my observation and thought to hopefully attract more attention to this unfair mind set.