Archiving the Contemporary: Documenting Asian Art

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 April, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 April, 2005, 12:00am

Agnes b. Gallery, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Apr 18, 6.30pm-8.30pm

Contemporary art in Asia has taken off in a big way over the past two decades, with artists from the region invited to take part in biennales and museum exhibitions around the world. But, because it's happened so quickly, no one has been documenting this exciting time - which prompted Claire Hsu to help found the Asia Art Archive (AAA) four years ago. 'There's been a big break from the traditional form of art in Asia in the past 20 years,' Hsu says. 'But despite all of these developments, there's nowhere that's been documenting what's happening.

'This is extremely important for future generations and extremely important in terms of a continuous history of development of art in this field.'

Next Monday, the AAA, supported by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, will host a series of public talks about documenting Asian art.

It will feature three keynote speakers: Beatrice von Bismarck, professor of art history and visual culture at the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig in Germany; Thomas Berghuis from the University of Sydney; and Pamela Kember, art historian and lecturer on art theory and critics at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University. They'll talk about the alternative roles of the archive, as well as the importance of documentation.

'The traditional notion of an archive is something that records past events and just collects material,' says Hsu, who is the archive's executive director. 'This is a concept that we try to challenge.

'We're an independent archive and don't just collect material. We also create new material. We interview artists, do video interviews, and travel to video and photography exhibitions.'

Seating for the public talks is limited to about 120, so registration is required.

Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai. Inquiries: 2815 1112 or e-mail