Curator asks Hong Kong artists for their take on tradition

"Here is Where We Meet" show at Duddell's in Central goes against the grain by letting artists set the agenda

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 July, 2015, 8:22pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 July, 2015, 8:40pm

Many curators choose to make statements through their exhibitions, which can be as important as the art itself in the contemporary scene.

However, Duddell's is turning this practice on its head in its "Here is Where We Meet" exhibition. Rather than dictating the agenda, the curator has invited participating artists to offer their take on the theme of tradition.

"Instead of making a statement, this exhibition is more about asking a question — a question of tradition," the show's curator Vivian Poon says. "We posed a question to artists to ask what tradition means to them and their artistic process."

With this question in mind, local artists Chu Hing-wah, Ho Sin-tung, Lee Kit, Lui Chun-kwong, Wilson Shieh Ka-ho and Tsang Hoi-mei will present their artworks in a diversity of mediums. These will include paintings and drawings dating from the 1980s to the present that touch upon different aspects of tradition — culture, language and time.

As the title of the exhibition suggests, a central theme that ties in these different pieces is Hong Kong's geographical significance and cultural past. According to the curatorial notes, these works will provoke a questioning of the formation of "tradition", and its relation with the people of Hong Kong.

"Here is Where We Meet" promises to shed light on each artist's practice, artistic philosophy, influences and inspirations. "All these factors come from a myriad of places given that they were born, or have somehow ended up, in Hong Kong," says Poon. "The exhibition will allow Hongkongers to revisit their cultural background and understand how vernacular culture morphs with the changing times."

Poon, who is a graduate of the department of fine arts at Chinese University, lives and works in Hong Kong. Her works have been shown in solo and group exhibitions in local galleries, while also appearing in private collections in Asia, Australia, Europe and the US. She recently won the Art Central's Rise Award, which recognises the most promising emerging artist at the new art fair in March this year.

As an artist, Poon primarily focuses on drawings and paintings, but presents them in unconventional contexts, such as her drawings on vintage school notebooks. In 2010, she also co-established the artist studio Qiang as a platform for the art community in Fo Tan.

Poon has her own take on what tradition represents and how it affects art. But for this show, she is keeping her opinions to herself.

"Tradition is intimate and personal; it's a mixed bag of ideas," says Poon, adding that although it includes the influence of history and language, there is an intangible layer that is difficult to grasp.

Duddell's, Level 3, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central, Monday to Thursday, 12pm to 10pm; Friday and Saturday, 12pm to midnight. Ends October 5