bewitched, bewildered, bothered is Banu Cennetoğlu’s artistic intervention for AAA’s exhibition Portals, Stories, and Other Journeys on view at Tai Kwun Contemporary.

bewitched, bewildered, bothered is a three-day public programme and a publication that explore the politics of posthumous archives. Taking AAA’s temporary custodianship of Ha Bik Chuen’s personal archive as a starting point, this programme brings together artists and thinkers to discuss the challenges and inadequacies of archives to recover and represent what is “lost.” Developed as part of an ongoing dialogue with AAA’s Public Programmes Lead Özge Ersoy, the talks, the film screenings, and the publication together investigate art’s contested claims and repeated attempts to recover the lost, to remember the forgotten, to resurrect the dead, or to speak for the silent.

Image: Banu Cennetoğlu, <i>Gurbet’s Diary (27.07.1995–08.10.1997)</i>, 2016–17. Installation view, documenta 14, Gennadius Library, Athens, 2017. Photo by Freddie Faulkenberry.
Image: Banu Cennetoğlu, Gurbet’s Diary (27.07.1995–08.10.1997), 2016–17. Installation view, documenta 14, Gennadius Library, Athens, 2017. Photo by Freddie Faulkenberry.

Talk | In Conversation: Banu Cennetoğlu, Michelle Wong, and Özge Ersoy
Tuesday, 15 June 2021, 8–9:30pm HKT

Talk | bewitched, bewildered, bothered | In Conversation: Banu Cennetoğlu, Michelle Wong, and Özge Ersoy

The first session of the series presents a conversation about the methods, potentials, and impossibilities of working with posthumous archives. We ask: is it possible to speak on behalf of the silent ones without occluding their agency? What is erased by the politics of representation? In this conversation, Cennetoğlu focuses on Gurbet’s Diary: I Engraved My Heart into the Mountains (2016–17), a work she developed for documenta 14, and discusses artistic strategies to work on the diary of a Kurdish journalist and fighter who was killed in 1997. Michelle Wong explores her intellectual and personal journey with the late artist Ha Bik Chuen’s archive and the new portals that it has opened.

Free and open to the public with registration. Please click here to register.

Image: <i>The Proposal</i>, 2018, film still. Courtesy of Jill Magid.
Image: The Proposal, 2018, film still. Courtesy of Jill Magid.

Screening and Talk | The Proposal with Jill Magid
Wednesday, 16 June 2021
Screening: 7–8:30pm HKT (only at JC Cube)
Talk: 8:30–9:30pm HKT (on Zoom)

Talk | bewitched, bewildered, bothered | In Conversation: Jill Magid, Banu Cennetoğlu, and Özge Ersoy

The second session presents Jill Magid’s documentary titled The Proposal (2018, 83 min), followed by a conversation with the artist. In the film, Magid grapples with the contested legacy of the renowned Mexican architect Luis Barragán (1902–88), whose professional archive—including the rights to his name and his work—was made inaccessible when acquired by the chairman of a Swiss corporation as an engagement gift for his wife. The Proposal follows Magid as she develops a truly unorthodox project exploring the nature of artistic legacy and who controls it. Ultimately, Magid creates a startling proposition in the form of an artwork that forces the viewer into reckoning with how an artist’s story is told, and who is permitted to do the telling.

The following conversation with Jill Magid will focus on the ethical questions posed in her film around the legal restrictions of access to an artist’s legacy due to the corporate ownership of their work. It also looks at the ways this film investigates artistic legacy, ownership, national heritage, and repatriation.

Free and open to the public with registration. Please click here to register.

Image: <i>Narcissister Organ Player</i>, 2017, film still. Courtesy of Narcissister.
Image: Narcissister Organ Player, 2017, film still. Courtesy of Narcissister.

Screening and Talk | Narcissister Organ Player with Paul B. Preciado
Thursday, 17 June 2021
Screening: 7–8:30pm HKT (only at JC Cube)
Talk: 8:30–9:30pm HKT (on Zoom)

The last session of the series features the screening of Narcissister Organ Player (2017, 92min), followed by a conversation with philosopher and curator Paul B. Preciado. The film is a hybrid of performance, documentary, and memoir based on Narcissister, an artist who challenges notions of race, sexuality, and body image. Narcissister’s film draws on her family history—with familial roots that are Moroccan, Jewish, and African American—and reflects on the personal impact of her mother’s illness and death on her practice. In her performances, the artist wears a trademark vintage mask, obscuring her identity. Offering an autobiography through the film, Narcissister asks: how can the body become a living archive of the dying or the deceased?

The following conversation with Paul B. Preciado responds to the film and draws on his writings at the intersection of social identities, gender codes, and “body archives.”

Free and open to the public with registration. Please click here to register.

Image: Courtesy of Banu Cennetoğlu.
Image: Courtesy of Banu Cennetoğlu.

Publication | The Orpheus Double Bind

This publication features the English translation of “The Orpheus Double Bind,” a chapter in the book The Share of the Silent (2015) by the literary critic Nurdan Gürbilek, which is a foundational reference for Banu Cennetoğlu’s artistic contribution to Portals, Stories, and Other Journeys. Translated by Victoria Rowe Holbrook, the chapter draws on the tension between Orpheus’ belief and doubt to recover his wife Eurydike, and literature’s desire and repeated attempts to speak on behalf of the silent or the lost. In the text, Gürbilek weaves references and stories related to philosophers such as Maurice Blanchot and Marc Nichanian, as well as authors such as J. M. Coetzee, Jean Améry, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar, and Bilge Karasu. She asks: what does literature compensate for? How does the author question their authority to give voice to the dead? The publication is designed by Esen Karol. Please click here to download the PDF version.


Banu Cennetoğlu is an artist based in Istanbul. Her practice incorporates methods of collecting and archiving, and enquires into the politics of the production, classification, and distribution of knowledge. Her most recent solo exhibitions took place at K21 Ständehaus, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2019); SculptureCenter, New York (2019); and Chisenhale Gallery, London (2018). Cennetoğlu is the founder of BAS, an Istanbul-based, artist-run space dedicated to artists’ books and printed matter. She participated in Asia Art Archive’s Residency Programme in 2019.

Jill Magid is an artist, writer, and filmmaker based in New York. Her performance-based practice interrogates structures of power on an intimate level, exploring the emotional, philosophical, and legal tensions that exist between institutions and individual agency. Magid has had numerous solo exhibitions at institutions around the world, including The Renaissance Society (Forthcoming); Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; Tate Modern, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Berkeley Museum of Art, California; Tate Liverpool; and the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam, among others.

Michelle Wong is a researcher and writer based in Hong Kong. She is currently PhD student in art history at the University of Hong Kong. From 2012–20 she was a researcher at AAA, with a focus on Hong Kong art history and histories of exchange and circulation through exhibitions and periodicals. Her writing has been published in Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art, 1945–1990 (2018), the journal Southeast of Now (2019), Oncurating and Ocula Magazine. She is the curator of Portals, Stories, and Other Journeys.

Narcissister is a Brooklyn-based artist and performer. Masked and merkin-ed, she works the intersection of dance, art, and activism in a range of media including live performance, film, video, collage, and sculpture. She presents work worldwide at festivals, nightclubs, museums, and galleries. She won “Best Use of a Sex Toy” at Good Vibrations Erotic Film Festival, and a Bessie nomination for the theatrical performance “Organ Player” at Creative Capital and United States Artists Awards. Interested in troubling the popular entertainment and experimental art divide, she appeared on America’s Got Talent. Her first feature film Narcissister Organ Player premiered at Sundance 2018. Her activist short film Narcissister Breast Work premiered at Sundance 2020.

Nurdan Gürbilek is a literary critic based in Istanbul. In her work, she analyses significant tropes in modern Turkish literature, authors’ preoccupation with originality, as well as literature’s relationship with victimhood, woundedness, and exclusion. She is the author of Living in a Shop Window (1992), Shifting Shadow (1995), Homework (1999), Bad Boy Turk (2001), Orient Lost (2004), The Language of the Wronged (2008), The Share of the Silent (2015), and The Second Life (2020), among others. A selection of her essays on literature is translated to English in The New Cultural Climate in Turkey: Living in a Shop Window (Zed, 2010).

Özge Ersoy is Public Programmes Lead at Asia Art Archive. She is a curator and writer from Istanbul, based in Hong Kong.

Paul B. Preciado is a philosopher and curator based in Paris. He is the author of Counter-Sexual Manifesto (Columbia University Press, 2000), Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs and Biopolitics (The Feminist Press, 2008), and Pornotopia (Zone Books, 2014) for which he was awarded the Sade Prize in France, and An Apartment on Uranus (Fitzcarraldo and semiotext(e), 2020). His last book is Can the monster speak?, forthcoming by Fitzcarraldo and semiotext(e) in 2021. From 2014 to 2017, he was Curator of Public Programs of documenta 14 in Kassel and Athens.


Presented at

Exhibition Lead Research Sponsor

Ha Bik Chuen Archive Project Sponsors

Hong Kong Arts Development Council (2014–15), The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust (2016–19), WYNG Foundation (2019–20), Chinachem Group (2020–21)

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