Art Must Be Beautiful
Hong Kong Art Fair
Hong Kong Diary
performances, color photographic series
Hong Kong means a lot to me, as I grew up with Cantonese culture in my family in Singapore in the 70s/80s.
In 2011 the art scene in Hong Kong was changing rapidly, this was just before Art Basel bought over the Hong Kong Art Fair, and before several of the biggest galleries in the world opened shop there, in response to the shift in the global art market.
I was invited to participate in 2 events during the Hong Kong Art Fair: A Wedding and a debate on the motion, Art Must Be Beautiful.
The debate was organised by Intelligence Squared, and featured the following panellists: Lars Nittve (Executive Director, M+), David LaChappelle (artist), Simon de Pury (auctioneer), Stephen Bayley (cultural critic) – four middle-aged white men to debate if “Art Must Be Beautiful” at the Hong Kong Art Fair.
The debate motion itself is derived from one of Marina Abramovic’s key works “Art Must Be Beautiful, Artist Must Be Beautiful” (1975), which challenges the notion of beauty, the limits of the body and the possibilities of the mind.
Without informing anybody beforehand, I turned up at the debate as the character played by Maggie Cheung in Wong Kar-Wai’s “In the Mood for Love” – a beautiful art object and a sex symbol of Hong Kong – and proceeded to deconstruct my alter ego…
In a separate event, Hong Kong’s independent art space Para Site and my gallery Vitamin Creative Space (Guangzhou/Beijing) jointly hosted ‘A Wedding’ – a concept that emerged when Hu Fang and Zhang Wei, directors of Vitamin Creative Space, realised that a traditional Chinese wedding banquet – as a special moment in life – could be an interesting space in which to ask artists to think about their work.
So, the couple (who in real life didn’t have a wedding banquet when they got married) invited their artist friends from around the world to donate artworks as ‘wedding gifts’, which were then displayed at Para Site and at a wedding banquet in a traditional Cantonese Restaurant.
As part of the performance program that evening, I turned up at the restaurant in my traditional ‘qipao’ and beehive hairdo, and performed one of the most well known classic Hong Kong movie love songs from the 60s, “Love Without End”.