“We had no studios until the ’90s'”: Hong Kong artist panel at Art Basel – video

Four artists and a curator from Hong Kong discuss identity and creative processes in the city, opening the Art Basel Hong Kong Conversations series.

On 19 May 2013, the first Art Basel Hong Kong Conversation took place between Hong Kong-based artists Chow Chun FaiHo Sin TungAdrian Wong, Linda Lai and curator Pauline J. Yao. Themed “Homegrown Talent”, the discussion explored identity and creativity in Hong Kong.

Watch the Conversation “Homegrown Talent” from Art Basel on YouTube.com below.

Fast-changing, crowded, politicised and, unlike other globalised art hubs, imbued with a powerful sense of place and identity. These are some of the opinions given about Hong Kong during “Homegrown Talent“.

Pauline Yao, Curator at the new museum for visual culture M+, West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong, introduces each of the four artists as working mainly with a specific medium: Adrian Wong with sculpture, Ho Sin Tung with drawing, Linda Lai, Associate Professor at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong as well as being an artist, with video and Chow Chun Fai with painting.

Yao sets the tone of the conversation by posing questions about creative practice and what it means to the artists to work in Hong Kong, a city that, she says, “has its own sea of artistic production, different from other locations”.

Ho Sin Tun, ‘I shall come forth as gold’, 2011, pencil on Paper, 19 x 34 cm. Image courtesy artist website

Ho Sin Tung, ‘I shall come forth as gold’, 2011, pencil on Paper, 19 x 34 cm. Image courtesy artist website.

Effects of space and materials on practice

Chow Chun Fai reflects on factors and issues of physical space by looking at the history of the arts in Hong Kong, where artists have been able to have studios only since the 1990s. Linda Lai and Ho Sin Tung express concerns about the changes that one witnesses in the city’s landscape on an everyday basis and how this has influenced their artistic practices. Contrary to this Adrian Wong, who came to Hong Kong from Chicago in 2005, says that he has been able to work in the city because of the easy availability of materials and studio space.

Chow Chun Fai, 'Infernal Affairs, “I want my identity back”', 2007, enamel paint on canvas.

Chow Chun Fai, ‘Infernal Affairs, “I want my identity back”’, 2007, enamel paint on canvas, 100 x 150 cm.

Individual identity

Ho Sin Tung notes that media labels such as “drawing”, generally used to define an artist’s practice, create limitations and she stresses the fact that she works in multiple media, never consciously creating works that identify her as a Hong Kong artist. Explaining her creative process, Linda Lai says that she self-consciously calls herself an intermedia artist who primarily works with moving images.

Ho Sin Tung, ‘Not Anymore’, 2010, pencil and ink on paper, 89 x 120 cm. Image courtesy artist website.

Ho Sin Tung, ‘Not Anymore’, 2010, pencil and ink on paper, 89 x 120 cm. Image courtesy artist website.

Research in art

The notion of research, the participants acknowledge, is sometimes thought to be unimportant to creativity. Linda Lai disagrees with this, expressing the opinion that research is about discovering new things and making new decisions. Adrian Wong’s research is not fully formed from the outset of a project and rather comes out in the process of engaging in activities. Explaining one of his current works, based on age regression hypnotherapy, Wong says he makes fake calls to hypnotherapists to gather information.

Adrian Wong, 'In Search of a Primordial Idiolect IV', 2012, wood, laminate, foam, faux fur, carpet, acrylic and animatronics, 244 x 305 x 91 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Saamlung.

Adrian Wong, ‘In Search of a Primordial Idiolect IV’, 2012, wood, laminate, foam, faux fur, carpet, acrylic and animatronics, 244 x 305 x 91 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Saamlung.

Artist-run spaces and artist collectives

Responding to a question from the audience about the existence of artist collectives and artist-run spaces in Hong Kong, Adrian Wong states that the city has a sense of community, with open studios allowing artists to interact. Wong goes on to say that the scarcity of international artists in Hong Kong results in a fair amount of travelling further afield to explore the international art scene, namely to Singapore, Tokyo, Bangkok and Beijing.

Chow Chun Fai feels that most artists in Hong Kong do not have the luxury of having assistants or large studios, although artists in the city collaborate and work in a different manner that may not fit strictly into the definition of artist collectives.

 JP/CN/CXMA

Click here to read our coverage of Art Basel Hong Kong 2013

Related Topics: Hong Kong artists, Hong Kong art scenelectures and talksart fairs

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar to keep up to date with Art Basel Hong Kong


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.