Friday, December 24, 2010

My top 10 exhibitions in Hong Kong

These days how do you rank exhibitions? I always found much easier to ask myself how much I remember of those shows by end of the year. So I also post my top 10 memorable shows in Hong Kong. (*Obviously there is a personal interest as those that I participated I would remember better!)

1. Hong Kong, Hong Kong: Works by Chu Hing Wah (HKU)
2. Culture(s) of Copy* (Goethe)
3. An Unexpected Turn of Events: Chen Shaoxiong and Tsuyoshi Ozawa (Osage)
4. Hong Kong Diary: Pak Sheung Chuen (HKMA)
5. Spectral Evidence (1a)
6. Tempestade/ Unwetter/ Tempest (Goethe)
7. Ho Sin-tung : Don't Shoot the Messenger (Hanart)
8. Runscape: Map Office (10Chancery)
9. Jompet.Third Realm (Para/Site)
10. Nadim Abbas: Cataract (Exit/Experimenta)

I might remember a couple more but it wouldn't be far away from that.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Reference 1978-1994-2010

A new collaborative work by Leung Chi Wo + Sara Wong as our contribution to "Lui Chun Kwong. You Are Here, I Am Not. From Ho Siu Kee to Kong Chun Hei", opening next Saturday at Osage Kwun Tong.

Lui Chun Kwong, Back Shadowing, oil on canvas, 130x96cm, 1978

The second piece of work Lui had produced ever since he returned from London in 1994, untitled and never exhibited.

The back of the 1994 piece. He signed on it again recently before we took it to "collaborate". We added the inner angled- and exterior frames, ribbon and stamp with reference to the 1978 piece.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Art for free

Just to re-cap something I did about Victoria a while ago, a piece of work about Victoria Moon for everybody!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We still need to fight

Said the representatives from the International Domestic Workers Network in front of the crowd outside the Legislative Council Building when the motion to amend the Minimum Wage Bill to cover domestic workers was just voted down in the council meeting on July 15, 2010.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mysterious housewife

Now hanged in the Goethe Institut, my collaboration with Sara Wong consists of a large new photograph and a book of Tokyo of the 1950s. The very small back figure of a typical housewife at the centre of a photo from the book has become the inspiration of the large print. Both should be visually corresponding to each other.
However a friend just told me he saw that work 2 weeks ago for the first time just as seen above. But recently he went to the gallery again and looked at the work. He just couldn't find the housewife in the old photograph. We checked it today and nothing has changed. It's really mysterious....

Monday, July 12, 2010

I'm glad we have been bombed

“I’m glad we have been bombed” is the famous quotation from Queen Elizabeth (Queen Mother) of the UK after the Buckingham Palace was bombed by Germany’s Luftwaffe in 1940. The eastern façade of Buckingham Palace was designed by British architect Aston Webb who also designed the Supreme Court Building (now the Legislative Council Building) in Hong Kong around the same time in the early 1900's.

Time is tight 时间紧迫

Mainland Chinese tourist zhoubaozhoubao said "Time is tight" (时间紧迫) when introducing his 2 day-experience of visiting Hong Kong in 2008. He recommended visiting the Legislative Council Building for 30 min.

Only time can tell

Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to the US President Jimmy Carter answered "Only time can tell" when Council Member Allen Lee asked for his perspective on One Country Two Systems, quoted in Lee's address in a Legislative Council meeting in 1984 on his uncertainty about the future of Hong Kong.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I like this style.

Hank Bull, core member of the first generation of Western Front and great performance artist is like a walking dictionary of contemporary art. I first met him in Shanghai in 2000 and Centre A was just founded by him then in Vancouver. Today I still keep receiving news of its growth. Now he steps down as Founding Director and I really appreciate it. It's very interesting to see an institution to grow to this stage.

On May 28, 2010, the executive director of Centre A announced to the board of directors his intention to leave the position at the end of the year.
As the founding director, Hank Bull has played a leading role in establishing Centre A. He makes this decision in order to open the way to renewal and growth for the organization. After working as a curator and administrator for many years, he intends to return to his own personal artistic practice.
The position of executive director will be advertised in the next few weeks and applications accepted over the summer.

From the Executive Director
To the Board of Directors of Centre A

It is with gratitude, optimism and, of course, regrets that I announce my retirement as executive director of Centre A.
Centre A has occupied a considerable portion of my professional career – fifteen years since the idea was first conceived – so it is only after careful consideration that I come to this decision.
My reasons for stepping down are both professional and personal. The long term success of any organization depends, as the word would suggest, on succession. Centre A has developed an exemplary model of succession in both board and staff. Now in its twelfth year of operation, the organization enjoys the leadership and vision of its fourth board president and its fourth curator. Furthermore, many young people have found mentorship in the organization and gone on to professional careers in the arts. The one position yet to be renewed is that of the executive director. In order to enable Centre A to thrive on the strength of its mission, and not simply on the dreams of its founders, it is essential that this key position be handed on to someone new.
Now is a good time. Centre A is in sound financial shape. It has an excellent board and a talented staff. Knowledge and experience are distributed throughout the organization. A succession planning committee has been formed and is part of a comprehensive strategic plan. All this provides the solid footing necessary to support organizational growth and change. We expect the executive director position to be advertised soon and interviews to begin in the early fall.
My reason for leaving also has a personal side. Devoting much of my time and energy to Centre A has meant that my personal life and my own research have had to take a back seat. It is time for my explorations to take a more personal direction. What I will find is still a delightful mystery, even to me, but you may be sure that it will involve, somehow, a life in art.
I would like to acknowledge my appreciation to all of Centre A’s board members past and present. It has been an honour to serve under your direction. To all the staff and volunteers with whom it has been my privilege to work I give my heartfelt thanks. I will miss you a lot and know that great achievements await you. I offer a special expression of gratitude to the donors who have not only been crucial to sustaining the centre but who have also become personal friends. And to the funders, press, peers and audience members who have helped to make Centre A the success that it is today, working with you has been a pleasure.
I intend to remain an active member and volunteer at Centre A.
Let’s keep on pushing.

Hank Bull
Executive Director

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Silent Impact

Back from London, there are actually not much to talk about No Soul For Sale. Of course, it's such a rare opportunity to participate in anything hosted in the Turbine Hall, however for three days only.
Having received the e-news of Para/Site, I found myself a co-curator without my knowledge. For Para/Site's participation in NSFS, yes, I was asked to co-curate but immediately replied to turn down this conventional curatorial model (curator vs artist) with a proposal of collaboration, where everyone should be engaged in the process of conceptualization and realization.
I once was asked by the "curator" how I should be acknowledged in this project. Finally we settled with "a collaboration conceived by...." Personally I think "to curate" is not only the work of a curator (actually we always curate (to take care) ourselves as artists), but also to maintain a constructive link to the interpretation of the work. To be honest I had some gut feeling towards this project but felt not empowered enough to contextualize it. This is exactly what I expect a curator could contribute to this project.
Now looking back, it's a successful project for the artists in terms of the physical setting and the individual works we produced. As a collaboration, I guess we still have a long way to go to call it ok! The expected dialogue among all participants turned out to be limited. And the segregation between the "curator" and the "artist" was still obvious (at least as Para/Site suggested in its press release.) I think NSFS would be a good occasion to experiment as it's not even an exhibition. Perhaps we're simply too weak to champion this (or to deny it as an exhibition especially when asking for funding because "exhibition" always sounds bigger than just project or collaboration!)
Silent Impact: a collaboration conceived by Leung Chi Wo & Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya, featuring works by Lam Tung-pang, Lee Kit, Leung Chi Wo, Cédric Maridat, Morgan Wong Wing-fat
"Harmony" and "deep-rooted conflict", are not only popular terms recently referred in local Hong Kong politics by different camps, but also highly charged expressions in a global context for various interpretations. More than static antithesis, between harmony and conflict is not a dichotomous concept. It is a continuum, which can be negotiated for a even bigger impact.
Silent Impact refers to a subtle social engagement within the spectrum between conflict and harmony, where art is positioned to explore various issues of our society, from city to environment and from history to language. It physically revolves around a double-cubic and half-open structure which contains individual contributions from five Hong Kong artists.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

10 Commandments

Just got this from FEP, the Federation of European Professional Photographers about copyright. It sounds like common sense, however many would still (mean to) forget.

1. Respect copyright on photographs.
2. Always ask permission from the photographer if you want to use a photograph.
3. Do not trust anyone who claims that he can give permission. Only the photographer can give permission for the use of his photographs.
4. Make sure that there can be no misunderstanding about the way the photograph is used and the fee agreed.
5. Only use a photograph for the agreed purpose.
6. Always try to find the photographer of the photograph you wish to use. Do not use a photograph when you do not know who took it.
7. Always state the photographer’s name next to his photograph.
8. Do not change, crop or cut a photograph without the permission of the photographer.
9. Be aware of the rights of third parties. Also, ask their permission before using the
10. Always give the photographer a copy of the publication.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

More unusual visitors

Last Friday morning, it was another surprise-visit to my studio. More often the door rang in the morning for delivery or something. So when it rang then, I just thought about another delivery, probably by the same people. When I opened the door, in front me was a mid-age Chinese woman, dressed clean with a vest matched with a shirt and a black half-length skirt like a shipping company office lady. Obviously there was nothing to deliver.... Well... yes, she was delivering the message of God! When I was pondering how I should respond, (thank "God") she already said, "I guess you must be very busy!"
"Yes, I am"
"Would you like to have some pamphlets of inspiring messages from God?" she said before she took them out.
"Hmmm.... could you simply put them in our mail box in the ground floor.... For sure I could get them there." Apparently I forgot we weren't talking about emails. I felt so embarrassed with my stupidity and immediately closed the door. The bell didn't ring again then and I must have been given up by God.
But five hours later, the door bell rang!
Suspecting that Chinese woman was returning, I opened the door slowly. (I probably should install a surveillance camera at the door!) To my surprise, there was a westerner, a woman in a similar dress as that Chinese. "God, it's the Mormon!" but I turned this thought down as I didn't see the black name tag on her chest.
Before I could have any other idea, she asked, "Are you selling your studio?" It was really another surprise (but not too bad as she might ask "Are you selling your soul?")
"No," I replied simply.
"Do you know any space in this floor is available for sale?"
"I have no idea but I would wonder if there is any."
"Thank you."
I closed the door. Perhaps it's not bad if she could buy off all those factories of barbecue food next to us.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Recently I had very unusual visitors to my studio. Last week in a late afternoon when I was rushing to leave my studio, the door bell rang, very rare for me at this hour. Two teenagers in school uniform looked a little shy and nervous when I opened the door. "Could we interview you?" the only words they uttered. It was a very surprise and I have never met them before. I simply answered I was too busy then for any interview and said goodbye to them. Indeed they took it easy and left. After closing the door, I felt myself too rude and was afraid they might be hurt. I opened the door again and they were still waiting for the lift out there.
"Good! Please email to me to schedule an interview that I can prepare." I said.
They only smiled and nodded.
"Do you have my email address?" I added.
They turned their heads.
"You can check out my website and find my email contacts there."
They nodded again.
"But do you know my website?"
They turned their heads again.
Then I told it to them. They nodded but didn't write it down. The lift arrived and they disappeared.
"Do they know who I am?" I asked myself.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Student work

Yesterday two of my students counted more than 200 people entering the school at the main entrance but only 9 used the door at centre and the rest from the side. None of these looked like students and it was said your grade point average would be below 3.0 if you did.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Paolo Gioli

The other day I saw a short film programme of the Hong Kong International Film Festival. These years I am far less enthusiastic about the HKIFF for different reasons. It was really long ago that I could see 5 shows a day and very likely I fell asleep in a couple of them!
Anyway, I went to this show this year mainly because of Paolo Gioli, in my own words, crazy great artist who could make a camera out of anything. He was one of the photographers who did workshop with us back in the days of Spilimbergo in Italy almost 20 years ago. Years after, I did a few projects of pinhole camera probably because of him. But then I didn't learn about him as a film maker.
Back to the show, to my surprise it was a very small audience, about 30% full of Agnes B Cinema in the Hong Kong Arts Centre. I hope the film makers from Austria & Japan who specially came to this screening of their short films were not disappointed. The title of the programme was Avant Garde Programme II which was a bit misleading. Actually a few of films in this screening were more about photographic gaze, the very basic nature of photography. Gioli showed a new film I volti dell'anonimo which was made of a found footage with a lot of found still inserts. It was my first time to see his film work which is actually consistent with his photography, exploring the intriguing link between presence, history and photography. A lot of accidental poetics!
I am too outdated: actually Gioli was an artist-in-focus of the HKIFF in 2007!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

She was lost in the past and we found her today.

Site-specific installation (conceptual illustration above) by Leung Chi Wo & Sara Wong, vinyl sticker on glass, Yaguchinowatashi Station, Tamagawa Line, Tokyo, 2010

Shopping street at Yaguchinowatashi (right next to the station), Tokyo, 1955

Opening programme, Tamagawa Art Line Project 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chen Shun-chu 陳順築

It was a time the artistic practice of Taiwanese artists was such a good reference for me. Perhaps it was the hit time when everybody was talking about cultural identity. And Chen Shun-chu's work was always cited. My vague memory recalls someone had even said this was the Taiwan's answer to Boltanski. Above all, I really like his work. 14 years ago when I for the first time visited Taipei, I got his contacts from perhaps IT Park. And he did show up and chatted with us. Back then I was only a student and you already saw his work featured in international magazine. Then you could imagine his generosity and openness to others. He was very gentle, somehow you might like to relate to his work. I also remember his work in the exhibition Inside Out (curated by Gao Minglu) of predominantly mainland Chinese artists in the Hong Kong Museum of Art. From the first glance at his work, you could a;ready tell he's no mainland Chinese artist!
He also did a solo show in Hong Kong almost ten years ago. It was a beautiful exhibition but not very well attended unfortunately. Was it the indifference of our community then? Not sure, but if it's yes, perhaps it's also our indifference in general to contemporary art.
Anyway, this time it shouldn't be missed!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Art's Birthday

Next monday is Art's Birthday, declared by Robert Filliou.

Economy Class

It's been amazing to see how video has changed the art world. With a small fund and online resources like UbuWeb and Video Data Bank, you can curate an "international" exhibition of artists like John Baldessari, Francis Alys and Gary Hill, etc. With lesser known local artists, thanks to the light-weighted DVDs, international touring exhibition means only a page of installation instruction, a small package and free of insurance. Para/Site's This is Hong Kong is a typical example. It's been exhibited in Barcelona, Seoul, Hamburg, Birmingham, Berlin, and of course Hong Kong; and on its way to Taipei and Vienna.