So Many Quiet Walks to Take (2016-)
In the past three years, I have been dealing with the symbolic implication of power over history archives and records in Hong Kong. The “archive” has been never been a value-free site of collection. Instead, power is revealed through historiographic constitution, which is my major research subject and source material of his artistic practice.
Taking a retrospective look on my research methodology, I find that I am archiving and inserting myself as a moment in history. The act of turning physical documents and records into art is also that of reconfiguring my own thought system. Giving a structure to archivable documents is at once making them available as “strategums” (Barthes) and embodying one's subjective mnemonic focus, “punctums.” The process of recognising the mentally housed inscription, organising “documents” and exteriorizing as art is the key to the entitled exhibition.
A series of apparently unrelated everyday life objects, photographs and moving images allude to the my psychic archivization of his practice and memories. I remove the objectivity that is somehow conceived with conventional notion of archive and its formulation and, instead, looks for alternative narratives.
So Many Quiet Walks to Take is a prelude to my next project, in which the body of work sustains in curating memory but, in the end, buries it as well.
The History of not Having History
Silkscreen and printing station
In the exhibition, I constructed an on site silkscreen printing station, which was open for public to print their own poster. The screens were about my long-term research on archive and history of local communist propaganda campaign during the 60s to 70s in Hong Kong. The messages and imaginary on the screens reveal the mainstream narrative of communist on their “United Front strategy” and anti-revisionist attitude in the colonial city; while most of the exhibition visitors did not pay attention to the underlying political message, they enjoyed printing propaganda posters, and the action became very ironical that was superimposed onto the current political context in Hong Kong.
I Thought We Talked It Through
Single Channel Video (B & W, 4 m 56 s)
Two cassette tapes are being dubbed from one on the other repeatedly on a dual recording deck, until no sound can be heard on both tapes.
We Hold Empty Names
Mixed Media with
Single Channel Video (B & W, 5m 38s)
In 2011, I both curated and showcased my work at a dual exhibition entitled “The Reading Room”, which was based on an undefined memory at a library and a novel. Before the exhibition opening, I was told that one of my works was not appropriate to exhibit, for particular reasons. I kept that work for years, wrapped with layers of protective material, and never showed to anybody. The other art works from the same series have been exhibited at various shows, and that series is my first artwork being collected (Floating Projects, 2015).
When I conceived this solo exhibition, So Many Quiet Walks to Take, I took a retrospective look on my own practice and also specificity of the venue, I realised that somehow there is a sychroncity alluding to several acausal encounters in my life and later builds a connection between my interest on archive, archeology, history, memory, personal document, etc.
Therefore, I followed the plot of the novel and burnt my forbidden artwork.
I Confess I didn't
I made an empty grass box with a monumental brass plate, and then shipped to a temporary storage in Shenzhen. Please tell my parents and friends that “I didn’t”, in case you find me missing in the future.
The Library will Endure
130L x 48W x 203H cm
The Axe Forgets