Exhibition: Charming Experience

"Hong Kong Art: Open Dialogue" Exhibition Series IV:
Charming Experience

2009.02.20 – 04.19
Hong Kong Museum of Art
Contemporary Hong Kong Art Gallery (2/F)

Guest Curator: Ms Grace Cheng
Currently works as an independent curator and the Director of Art in Hospital, Grace Cheng was the Exhibition Manager of the Hong Kong Arts Centre from 2001 to 2005. She has been curating and presenting exhibitions and different art projects showing the diversity of her interests.

It is the attempt of Charming Experience to bring extraordinary experiences of art appreciation to everyone of you.
Charming Experience is my first individual curatorial project. From my services to different communities over the past few years, I came to believe that art can cause changes in people’s body, mind and soul and contribute to the betterment of our lives. Despite the skyrocketed popularity of contemporary Chinese art which results in an increase of art audience, there are still people who consider art aloof and resort to keeping a distance from it.
As Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.” What I hold onto is not a compassionate heart, but a belief that hails the equality of people who are entitled to the right to create and appreciate art. In a hospital environment heaped with pressure and anxiety, I have witnessed the power of art—making art with patients; some of them felt reluctant to hold the paint brush in the beginning but in the end they became reluctant to stop painting instead, giving oneself and the work an approving smile. I recalled once an old lady mumbled, “We old people are just useless; don’t waste your art tools.” Yet, when she finally finished an ink painting of chrysanthemum by herself, she was so pleased that she wanted to draw again with her visiting granddaughter. Seemingly, art touches the soul and enriches one’s life in a simple way.
Charming Experience introduces ways to open up the different senses of the audience to appreciate artworks and use the different parts of their body to receive messages in the artworks. Apart from artwork, there will be also a variety of support equipment for people in need. It is our hope to bring closer different people and encourage integration via a flexible form of exhibition. Thus, this is an exhibition of and for everybody, attempting to serve people from different age groups, educational levels, gender, social backgrounds and abilities. We believe in the effectiveness of art as non-verbal communication and a medium to express emotions; it is able to bring about fun, pleasure and fulfillment. I hope the exhibition can bring us closer to the pursuit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The curatorial team and I believe that art is life; it is about appreciating the everyday and enjoying life. Two emphases of Charming Experience: Enjoyment and participation. Enjoy the rich exchange of feelings brought about by the enjoyment of art appreciation, be it pleasurable, sad or bewildering. Participation and experiences are made possible by experiencing each artwork with different senses, a moment in which all kinds of art experiences related to communities and everyday life are aroused. This facilitates the public to re-visit and explore the details that are overlooked in our daily lives, and be inspired to look for more fun. It is also our hope to prompt positive response from and discussion among the art world and the communities which can encourage new interpretations to exhibition and art appreciation, and interrupt the typical experience of visiting an exhibition. With the active participation of the audience, the true meanings of the exhibition can be fully communicated.
In the exhibition, eight artifacts from the collection of the Hong Kong Museum of Art were chosen for seven local artists to work with by using different mediums and materials, from where they derive their very unique interpretations of “participation” and “enjoyment”.
Otto ”actualizes” Beethoven’s No.5 Symphony into a sculpture for the audience to feel the brandishing music notes. Doris’ hand-drawings copy the exhibition posters of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, placed side by side with the genuine prints to confuse audience about what is real and what is not. Another piece by Doris is pregnant with meaning; the “Red White Blue” plastic material amazes audiences with the playful idea of daily commodities. The dysfunctional mahjong of CHOW Chung Fai provokes us to question the unconventional practice of objects with which we are familiar. HO Siu Kee uses the Qing to demonstrate synaesthesia so as to break the boundary of individual senses. Presenting common household furniture, anothermountainman tries to retain his intimacy with the furniture before and after death. The two works by Danny are inspired by Nature, and he wants us to pay attention to every single tiny thing in daily life that could bring us the reflection of the world. PAK Shueng Chuen works out with the concept of ”half” and has created a conceptual artwork that takes two persons to complete, and invites us to think about the myth of incompleteness and the whole. LEE kit invited his mom and friends for a lunch at home and served them with his hand-painted table cloth. The mechanical “friends” made by Joyce is designed to be the perfect solution for human beings, to ease the human desire of seeking companion and the desire to control. Can KWOK Ying’s hand-drawings of commodities prompt you to pay more attention to the beauty of daily life? Kingsley has collected flashlights produced by tourists’ cameras and brings you a multi-media concert. LEUNG Mee Ping, grew up in Mongkok, introduces to us the Mongkok that we might have neglected and yet to be familiar with. Luke has set up some places for sleeping in the museum, wishing you a good dream of the future.
Guided tour for groups are available from 23/2 to 17/4. Interested parties please send an email with contact details to charmingtour@gmail.com

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