Hong Kong and Chinese artists explore notions of displacement, migration and memory amidst the socio-political turmoil in the neoliberal world.
“Both Sides Now III: Final Frontiers”, a collaboration between Hong Kong’s Videotage and UK’s videoclub, features moving image works by Chinese, Hong Kong and British artists. Art Radar highlights the work of 6 Hong Kong and Chinese artists.
“Both Sides Now III”, curated by Isaac Leung of Videotage and Jamie Wyld of videoclub, aims to explore national identity and culture through moving image works by artists from Hong Kong, China and the United Kingdom. Films and videos, including animation, documentary and artists’ moving image, investigate the developments within the culture and society of Hong Kong and China over the past three decades.
The 2016 programme consists of screenings and talks in multiple locations in East Asia, such as Taipei, Seoul and Hong Kong (from August to December 2016), as well as in the UK, such as Leicester, London and Brighton (October to December). It also features an artist residency programme, in which Hong Kong audio-visual artist Choi Sai Ho’s work will be exhibited from October until June next year at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery. The videoclub-curated programme featuring UK-based artists screened at the British Council, Hong Kong, on 22 October 2016, and will screen at other locations around Asia, including the Minsheng Art Museum, Beijing on 3 November and Woolloomooloo, Taipei (Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition 2016) on 9 December.
The concept of this edition, “Both Sides Now III: Final Frontiers”, revolves around the idea of divides, boundaries and spaces. Following the conclusion of the Cold War at the end of the 20th century, the rise of global neo-liberalism resulted in socio-political turmoil that challenges national boundaries. Amid the refugee crisis and the increasing fracturing of society within nations, the films attempt to redefine and close the spaces between people.
Art Radar spotlights six artists from Hong Kong and China from the Videotage-curated programme that screened at the Fabrica, Brigthon, on 6 October, and will be screened at other locations in the UK, including the Exter Phoenix and ICA London on 3 December, and the Phoenix, Leicester on 7 December 2016.
1. Bruce Lee VJ Project (2011) — Feng Mengbo
In Bruce Lee VJ Project (2011), video game and martial art enthusiast Feng Mengbo merges the two by weaving the classics from four Bruce Lee films with music by New Pants, a Beijing-based indie band, to stimulate synchronised visual effect and rhythm. The Beijing-based artist, after graduating from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1991, exhibited widely both nationally and internationally, including exhibitions in MOMA PS1, New York and in Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing. Since 1999, Feng has been employing video game and visual jockey as the creative tool in filmmaking.
2. Oranges on the Ground (2016) — Doreen Chan
In Oranges on the Ground (2016), Hong Kong-based artist Doreen Chan explores notions of irony, ephemerality, time and decay. Trained in Visual Communications, and later holding an artist studio in the UK, the artist’s daily life is her main inspiration. Her video weaves the narrative between events that occurred in the UK and in Hong Kong through the motif of the orange. She recalls the controversial acquisition in 2014 of artist Roelof Louw’s 1967 installation work, Soul City (Pyramid of Oranges), by the Tate Modern in London. The piece, worth GBP30000 (HKD352800), decays with time and with visitor participation. Meanwhile, at the other side of the world in Asia, an old fruit store coolie died in a car accident in 2016 while the oranges he left on the road were taken by passersby.
3. H_CNY: Happy Chinese New Year! (2016) — Tiffany Fung
New York-based Hong Kong artist Tiffany Fung creates moving images, mixed media installations and participatory projects to decipher personal and collective cultural identities in relation to contemporary socio-political issues. Co-founder of Distil HK, an international collective of Hong Kong artists local and abroad, the artist aims to form solidarity in her home city through her video work. In H_CNY: Happy Chinese New Year! (2016), while Chinatown in New York is celebrating Chinese New Year, people in Hong Kong rioted against the government’s forceful crackdown of traditional food hawkers who sell fishballs, a typical kind of street food that locals enjoy. Her film explores the contradictions within, revealing spatial and temporal dislocation.
4. Abandoned Refugee Prison – “The Rock” (2015) — HK URBEX
HK URBEX, short for Hong Kong Urban Exploration, is a team of photographers, filmmakers, journalists and adrenaline junkies working to unearth Hong Kong’s ruins and abandoned sites. In Abandoned Refugee Prison – “The Rock” (2015), HK URBEX visits a long abandoned prison that used to house Vietnamese refugees since the 1970s who fled the Communist regime. Since they came by sea to settle in Hong Kong, they were nicknamed the “Boat People”. The video echoes the mercilessness of prisoners being strip searched with belongings taken away.
5. RoCH Trailers (2015) — Susan Pui San Lok
London-based artist, researcher and writer Susan Pui San Lok works with installation, moving image, sound, performance and text to explore topics of nostalgia, aspiration, place, migration, translation and diaspora. In RoCH Trailers (2015), RoCH stands for Return of the Condor Heroes, the second book in the Condor Trilogy by writer Jin Yong. The film is part of the artist’s ongoing project which draws on fan uploads of over 40 different media adaptations of the trilogy, sampling Google street view panoramas and title sequences, trailers, theme songs and publicity shots from the adaptations. The resulting work is the amalgamation of the mundane everyday and the mythical Chinese wuxia (swordsplay and martial art) genre.
6. As You Sweep the Room Imagine That the Broom Is Someone That You Love or Sport (2010) — Ka-Man Tse
New York-based photographer and video artist Ka-Man Tse currently teaches at Yale University and Parsons the New School of Design. The artist has exhibited widely nationally and internationally, such as in the 2016 Hong Kong Contemporary Film Festival, the Bronx Museum of Arts in New York and the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center. In her video As you sweep the room imagine that the broom is someone that you love or Sport (2010), she meditates on the idea of labour and subversive play. The film shows two museum guards re-imagining a space of art, history and labour.
Related Topics: Chinese artists, Hong Kong artists, migration, memory, political art, video, collaborative, curatorial practice, events in Seoul, events in Taipei, events in Hong Kong, events in the UK
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- Vanghoua Anthony Vue: finding a place between Hmong and Australian cultures – October 2016 – Art Radar catches up with artist Vanghoua Anthony Vue to talk about the influences of biculturalism in his work
- Hong Kong artist Nadim Abbas: ‘The Last Vehicle’ at UCCA, Beijing – in pictures – September 2016 – the Long Gallery at UCCA hosts Abbas’ latest multimedia artwork The Last Vehicle, which divides the space into two separate yet interrelated segments
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