The 53rd Venice Biennale (Hong Kong Exhibition) Response Exhibition 2/2: Hong Kong Diary
Pak Sheung Chuen , Pak Sheung Chuen
Jun 12 – Aug 01, 2010
If travelling is extraordinary and wondrous, then everyday life is familiar and humdrum. For an artist who knows his native city like the back of his hand, the lost of oneself is in the result of familiarity rather than strangeness. Held at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the second part of the response exhibition focuses on the artist’s works created locally. Hong Kong Diary selects elements radically different from the Venice and Guangzhou shows: rather than finished works, the show enables the viewer to explore the fringes of the creative process; the exhibits are intended as evidences and not works of art. ‘Artwork is not in Art Museum,’ Pak declares. For an artist who is concerned with people and the ways of art over objects and finished works, the creative process is a spiritual devotion of integrating art with the self.
Here, the works of Pak Sheung Chuen is presented in a range of media. From newspaper to books and exhibitions, it’s a feast that has something for everyone: casual and serious readers, ardent art lovers and culture vultures. Truth be told, traditional museum is never the best way to show Pak’s works. In order to break free from these constraints, the Hong Kong response exhibition uses documentaries as a way to showcase his art, including all his contributions to the ‘Sunday Life’ supplement of Ming Pao published between 2003 and 2010. This collection bears the mark of an artist who works with poetic adroitness and sophisticated grasp of city life. Also noteworthy is the pioneering efforts of the newspaper in establishing a new platform for showing and understanding artists’ works in a novel way; better still, there are many possibilities yet to be explored. In addition to textual presentations, commentaries narrated by Pak himself and clips of his appearances on television bring viewers up-close-and-personal with the stories behind the works and the artist himself. The foyer of the Hong Kong Museum of Art provides the perfect lounge setting for Hong Kong Diary, where people read the papers, watch the television, do puzzles, play or simply relax. Periodic workshops hosted by the artist are designed to encourage visitors to explore and experience fun in life and in art. Every thought and act of Pak Sheung Chuen is a site- and time-specific memento that culminates in his perfect world. The artist has demonstrated that art and life is at one with each other; his works put the focus back to the enormous power of free imagination, however trivial and fleeting. Next time when a quick hunch or caprice springs up in our mind, according to the artist, it could be the beginning of a miracle…