Hong Kong Conversations is a series of talks that considers Hong Kong’s art ecology within a wider cultural and socio-political framework. This year, independent cultural practitioner Lau Kin Wah facilitates a discussion in response to Asia Art Archive’s ongoing project that maps the personal archive of late Hong Kong-based artist Ha Bik Chuen (1925–2009).
A 'Self-Taught' Artist’s Quest for Knowledge
Extract from the working document: A 'Self-Taught' Artist’s Quest for Knowledge, Lau Kin Wah
The late Hong Kong-based artist Ha Bik Chuen collected a vast amount of materials and images in his personal archive: from his artwork documentation, to reference books, collage books, as well as clippings and information of various depths on events that happened in Hong Kong’s art ecology. The materials most familiar to us are perhaps his extensive photographic documentation of exhibitions, which span from late 20th century into the new millennium. What kinds of narratives can Ha’s legacy and materials spawn for the writing of Hong Kong’s art history? Why did Ha Bik Chuen keep what he kept? Were they kept for his personal reference as he developed his artistic practice? Or was it an archival impulse that just had to be addressed?
This talk explores and contextualises the materials collected by Ha Bik Chuen to re-examine the meaning of 'self-taught' in the discourse surrounding art in Hong Kong.
Lau Kin Wah, Independent researcher
Phoebe Wong, Independent researcher