This art form brings together five critics, curators, artists and art professionals from Asian countries to discuss the various issues concerning the development of contemporary visual art in Asia, with a focus on links, networks and platforms in contemporary Asian art.

This forum is held as a satellite event for the Asia Cultural Co-operation Forum presented by the Home Affairs Bureau 28th September to 30th September, 2003.

Aims of Project

  • To promote the critical disciplines in the field of visual arts and highest standards of artistic and intellectual development;
  • To contribute to cultural debates as well as strategic thinking within the Asia region;
  • To encourage communication and build partnership network, bringing together art critics, curators and art professionals who wish to develop international cooperation in the field of art;
  • To open intellectual exchange network to a wider audience and new collaborators, including cultural critics, policy makers, research institutions and professionals from different fields. 

Forty Years of Cultural Exchange: The ACC Vision

Since the earliest days of civilisation, cultural exchange has been an irrepressible and serendipitous force among peoples, often a by-product of trade, religious zeal or military aggression. The term "cultural exchange" became popular only in the first half of the last century and referred to an orchestrated approach in bringing diverse cultures together for the purpose of earning respectful recognition and some degree of mutual understanding.

Proponents of cultural exchange programmes may ssee this field as one which fosters peace among nations, yet critics may dismiss these efforts as the trappings of cultural imperialism or the instruments which support the creation of a globalised culture stripped of local character and richness.

Michelle Vosper, the Asian Cultural Council - Hong Kong Representative since 1985, will present the early vision of the ACC - founder John D. Rockerfeller 3rd in 1963 and summarise some of the activities, dilemmas and developments which the organisation has experienced over the past forty years. She will invite the audience to explore the role which cultural exchange should play in a rapidly-changing world today.


Born in New York, Michelle Vosper received a degree in East Asian Studies from the School of International Affairs at the American University in Washington, D.C. She studied Chinese in Taipei from 1974 to 1976 and returned to New York where she worked for several years at the newly-established Centre for US-China Arts Exchange at Columbia University. She has lived in Hong Kong for twenty years and since 1986 has been the Hong Kong Representative of the Asian Cultural Council, a non-profit organisation based in New York which promotes culturla exchange among arts specialists in the U.S. and the countries of Asia.

The Syndrome of Asia: A Non-Western Experience and Representation

Contemporary art took root in Asia and it began to evolve into a medium capable of giving artistic expression to the deeper currents and shaping influences of Asian culture. But what is "Asia"? How to make sense of the syndrome of Asia and the roots and wings in the field of Contemporary Art? How did Asia become an object of trans-cultrual narrative? The discussion on the concept of "Cultural Asia" as a construct attemprs to find a way to transcend the intellectual horizon of Orientalism and Post-colonialism which formed the given narratives about the so-called "non-western" world.


Gao Shiming is an Assistant Professor at The China Academy of Art. He is a PHD candidate currently doing research on modern and contemproary art history and art criticism. Since 1995, Gao has participated in numerous academic activities, including Thirtieth International Congress of the History of Art in London, UK, 2002, and Edges of the Earth: Migration of Contemporary Art and Regional Politics, Hangzhou, China, 2003. He has also written numerous articles that have been published, including Journal of Intellectual History of Art, in 2003.


Potholes and Corners: Intentions, Desires and Constrains of Cross and Intercultural Activities

Intentions are noble, desires are humane but realities bring out the shortsightedness of theory. What is deemed to be white can mean black to another. Cross and intercultural activities propagated to promote sharing and empowerment when examined critically can reveal many flaws. What forms of critical scrutiny do we need to exercise over our practices? This presentation will draw from experiences that the speaker has gained personally as co-organiser and collaborator in various networking and art projects across Asia.


Born in Singapore, the artist, curator and arts organiser, Jay Koh spent 20 years living and working in Europe, and the last 8 years in various parts of Asia. Since 1989, Jay has exhibited and performed in both group and solo shows mainly in Europe and Asia, including Venice Biennale XLV (1993), and Dokumenta X (1997).

He has initiated and established networks for artists' exchanges between Asia and Europe including Newwork International Dorum for Intermedia Arts (IFIMA) in 1995. This evolved from the exhibition space "arting" which Jay set up in Cologne, Germany, in 1992 and managed till 1999. IFIMA has now initiated an independent non-profit art centre, NICA - Networking and Initiatives for Culture and the Arts.

His efforts in building up a critical discourse, complemented by practice, on engaged art activities include his work as co-organised of the Collaboration, Networking and Resource Sharing - Myanmar, Beikthano Gallery, Yangon; International Symposium of Public Engaged Art, The Substation, Singapore; co-curator of the International Symposium on Critiquing Critial Art, Pananaw Ng Sining Bayan, Inc., Lopez Centre, Manila, The Philippines; and the curator of the International Symposium and Project for City Transformers, Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art, Danzig, Poland, all of which took place in 2002.


"In the process of creating a work of art, I often use traditional elements. My audience is often intimately familiar with these elements. However, these elements are not placed in the structure defined by traditional patrons of the arts. Rather these elements are used because they are more capable of representing a dialectical local expression and of communicating the individual perceptions of the artist. In this regard, tradition forms a vital catalyst in an essential on going cultural dialogue.

...In my opinion the problem of contemporary art can be traced semiotically through a traditional methodology. For example, in Chinese system of treatment, reflexology, if the patient has a headache or other disorder elsewhere in his or her body, the treatment takes place through the nerve centers located in the foot. It is generally acknowledged that contemporary art, particularly contemporary art from Asia, is ruled by a different paradigm to that which governs Western culture."

- Heri Dono, Yogyakarta, August 2000.

[Excerpt taken from exhibition catalogue "Dancing Demons and Drunken Deities" Japan Foundation Asia Centre, 2000, p. 83]



Born in Jakarta in 1960, Heri Dono graduated from Indonesia Institute of the Arts (ISI) in 1986, and went on the study traditional puppetry, 'wayang kulit.' During this period he began making artworks, influenced by Indonesian traditional arts. One of the most prominent artists in the Southeast Aisa region, he has exhibited worldwide, including Australia, Jaan, U.S.A and Europe. Exhibitions in Japan include New Art from Southeast Asia, 1992; 4th Asian Art Show, 1994; and Visions of Happiness - Ten Asian Contemporary Artists, 1995. His work has also appeared in other international exhibitions including, Traditions/Tensions, New York, U.S.A., [travelling exhibition), 1996; Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemproary Art, Brisbane, Australia, 1993 and 1999; Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil, 1996, and Cities on the Move, Vienna, Austria, (travelling exhibition) 1997. More recently, in 2000, he participated in Sonic Boom, Hayward Gallery, London, UK; 12 ASEAN Artists, National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Humanism in Art, Volkenkundig Museum Nusantara, Delft, The Netherlands, and FUori Uso, Pescara, Italy. Dono currently lives and works in Yogyakarta, Central Jave.


Networking: Trickle Down, Trickle Up

We are experiencing probably one of the most exciting times in the history of the Asian region. The positive effect of contemporary communication is facilitating Asian contempirary cultures to be equal players in world contemproary culture development. Never befopre has any country of this region been willing to or able to project themselves so effectively into the world community. So rapid has been this process that if the possibility ingerent in it are not harnessed the momentum could be lost, or even worse, stagnate.

In this talk I intend to canvas my experience in China, Singapore, Europe and now Australia in developing artistic partnerships, institutional partnerships and trans-national partnerships. Within the parameteres of networking, I want to talk about the issues of constructive competition and counter-productive competition. I will examine the need for a broad picture of understanding at a policy level and how it affects each step in the development of modern culture. I wish to look at how decisions from the top filter down to the production end of culture-making, while at the same time, being aware how initiatives from the production end [factory floor] can filter up-ward.


Born in Beijing in 1959, Binghui Huangfu was among the first wave of artists to leave China in 1989 for Australia after studying art after the end of the Cultural Revolution. In 1996, she first joinded Lasalle-SIA College of the Arts in Singapore as a lecturer before managing and expanding the Earl Lu Gallery as Directlr. She was the curator of several local and touring exhibitions, including In & Out, 1997, featuring works by diasporic and Mainland Chinese artists; Text & Subtext, 2000, which focused on contemporary artwork by Asian women artists; Site & Sight - Translating Cultures, 2002, which explored the impact of globalisation on visual art and culture; Compound Eyes: Video Art From China, 2001, Contemporary Art From Thailand, 2003, and Science Fictions, 2003, to name a few. Binghui's interest lies in the promotion and understanding of contemporary Asian art practice, and the connection and network between contemporary Asian art and non-Asian countries. Binghui Huangfu is currently the Director of the Asia-Australia Contemporary Art Centre, based in Sydney and an academic advisor to the Asia Art Archive.



Chan Yuk-keung received his art education from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Cranbrook Academy of Art. He has participated in over 50 exhibitions, which include: 2nd Asia-Pacidic Contemporary Art Triennial, Queensland Art Gallery, Australia; Fusion: Hong Kong and New Zealand Artist Exchange, Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand; Contemporary Art of China, Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan. This year, his third solo exhibition was held at the Hong Kong Art Centre, as well as, a retrospective at Para/Site Art Space. In recent years, he has focused his attention on public art, working on and completing a number of projects.

Since 1989, Chan has been teaching at the Department of Fine Arts, the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is also an advisor for the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and Art School of Hong Kong Art Centre and co-editor of the Hong Kong Art Yearbook 1999, 2000 and 2003.



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