Organised as part of AAA’s twentieth anniversary, Life Lessons is a series that enquires into models for education led by artists. We ask: What was the most influential lesson they learned in school? And how have they, in turn, passed on what they learned about forms of knowledge and care to their students or communities of learners?
Launched in spring 2020, Life Lessons presents online and offline conversations and workshops with artists and art collectives who teach at universities, build educational programmes at arts organisations, and run their own schools. Each session addresses their unique teaching methods.
This session of Life Lessons features Simon Leung and Valérie Portefaix. The conversation will begin with some reflections on the two artists’ practices, based outside the traditional artist’s studio, and their longstanding careers as teachers within institutions of higher education. The conversation will also touch on how the place of Hong Kong relates to aspects of their artistic practices and thinking more broadly.
This series is part of AAA’s ongoing research about the role of academic and alternative pedagogy in the development of modern and contemporary art in Asia and beyond.
Simon Leung is an artist who lives in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. His projects include The Side of the Mountain, an on-going opera set in Los Angeles; a decades-long collaboration with the late Warren Niesłuchowski; art-workers’ theatre (ACTIONS!, at the Kitchen, 2013, and ACTIONS!/ADJUNCTS! at the Hammer Museum, 2016); and extended enactments of and meditations on the squatting body, often in relation to Hong Kong, his birthplace. He is Professor, New Genres Area Head, and co-Chair of the MFA programme at the University of California, Irvine Department of Studio Art. With Zoya Kocur, he is editor of Theory in Contemporary Art since 1985 (2nd edition, 2012).
Valérie Portefaix is, with Laurent Gutierrez, the co-founder of MAP Office, a multi-disciplinary platform established in Hong Kong in 1996. Portefaix received a BA in Fine Art, and a Master of Architecture and doctorate in Urbanism, and currently teaches in the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong. MAP Office was founded and has been based in Hong Kong, and uses multiple methods, including drawings, photographs, videos, writings, and performances, as part of their practice. Among their many exhibitions, they represented Hong Kong at the 2007 Venice Biennale and also won the Sovereign Art Prize in 2013. Their publications include MAP Office: Where the Map is the Territory (2011), The Parrot’s Tale: Gutierrez + Portefaix (2007), and Mapping Hong Kong (2001). In 2021, MAP Office transformed into MAP Ocean, and is in the process of relocating to Ishigaki, Japan.
Moderator: John Tain, Head of Research, Asia Art Archive
This event is part of the AAA Learning and Participation Programme, supported by the S. H. Ho Foundation Limited and C. K. and Kay Ho Foundation.