This collection builds on the Hong Kong Art History Research Project (2013-15), which contextualises Hong Kong’s complex art ecology in the 1960s to 1970s. This project stems from the discovery of the documentation of the 1987 exhibition Out of Context in the Ha Bik Chuen Archive, which consists of over 2,000 exhibitions documented by Ha between early 1960s to 2009. Out of Context is used here to inquire into the broader art ecology of Hong Kong in the 1980s.

Out of Context was a self-organised exhibition that took place over a weekend in 1987 at a now-demolished building on 15 Kennedy Road, Hong Kong, three years after the signing of the Sino–British Joint Declaration. The exhibition involved twenty-one artists, artist groups, and practitioners, many of whom had studied overseas. It was organised in response to the lack of institutional support for their art practices. 

This project consists of five bilingual interviews with the participants and organiser of the exhibition, along with the digitisation of a selection of personal collections they shared. Lines of inquiry include pedagogy of art in Hong Kong and overseas; art writing; collaborative practices between art, literature, dance, and theatre; new exhibition sites such as the City Contemporary Dance Company Gallery; and the impact of public funding on the art field. 

This project is generously supported by the Multi-Project Grants of Hong Kong Arts Development Council (2016–18).

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