The main point of an installation is that it should be site-specific. Ho Siu-kee, therefore, took the curious shape of the Experimental Gallery very seriously on the third floor of the Arts Centre when planning his new exhibition Per/ Con.ceptual Body. The Experimental Gallery, tucked behind the coffee shop, bends around in a curious C-shape, almost bisected by a large hexagon which is partly a window to the ground below. The hexagon has defeated artists before, and Ho wisely chose to ignore it and instead planned his piece around the curve of the room. The curve reminded him of the parabola of a ball, and in turn inspired him to explore the ideas of perception and conceptualisation. The result is two reflecting video screens showing nothing but a half-dressed Ho throwing a ball back and forth to himself. These screens are mounted on to six huge, heavy iron barriers, each built by Ho. 'I wanted to show how simply human reactions are conceptualised,' he explains. Ho almost always uses his own body in his work, the most famous of which is the 1995 piece, Walking On Two Balls, in which a half-naked Ho filmed himself balancing precariously on two large wooden balls, and trying to roll across a room. The piece was a huge success in the 1996 Sao Paulo Biennial, and has continued to be popular amongst foreign art critics. Ho was invited to show the piece in San Francisco this week. There was a time when the impending doom of 1997 made artists like Ho the favourites of the international art circuit, and today Ho sees that interest as something of a mixed blessing. It provided more opportunities to exhibit, to be sure, but he feels outsiders were often only really interested in perceived statements about identity (and the loss of it) and politics, issues that have not motivated his work at all. The ongoing appeal of Walking On Two Balls is an example of this. For Ho, there are many other works in his collection that have not got the attention they deserved, because it is harder to extract a political message from them. 'I understand people always want this piece,' he says wearily. His wobbliness on the two spheres has become a symbol. 'They like to think it expresses something about the instability of Hong Kong, but this is not my concern.' Per/Con.ceptual Body is at the Experimental Gallery, 3/F Arts Centre, until March 14. Ho will be hosting an open forum in the gallery on March 6 at 3pm. Artists breaking new ground If foreign observers sometimes miss the point of Hong Kong visual artists' works, even Ho would admit that at least they are interested enough now to look at it. Five years ago, there was a hierarchy in the way non-Chinese viewed artists from the Chinese-speaking world. Then, Hong Kong artists ranked a poor third, with mainland artists and Taiwanese enjoying plenty of attention. Things have changed a great deal and today many prominent overseas galleries are only too glad to welcome Hong Kong artists. One of these is the influential P. S. 1 Gallery in New York, which three weeks ago surprised the entire New York arts community by announcing a merger with the Museum of Modern Art. P. S. 1 was born in a disused public school 22 years ago, and has gained a reputation since then for showing only the newest and most innovative works. Last year P. S. 1 agreed to a one-year residency programme for a Hong Kong artist, funded by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (ADC), and local artist So Yan-kei has spent the last year enjoying the New York art scene. The deadline for applications for next year's award is 5.30pm today at the ADC offices in Russell Street. Indian display of suffering Artist Gauri Narain has done more than plan a new exhibition this week: she intends this to be the first in a three-pronged campaign aimed at battered women. The subject is close to her heart, and her paintings, part of the show she calls Vidayee (Farewell), include many of solitary women, eyes cast down, and several more in which a male figure is hurling himself at a female one. In April she plans to organise a symposium of victims and support groups, which will be filmed and placed on her Web site. This will continue to run as an on-line information centre. Vidayee opens at the Fringe Club on Monday.