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.

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