Rehearsing the Museum

What is the potential of speculation as an artistic strategy? If the museum is a stage, how might artists rehearse with it? Taking cue from these questions asked by London-based artist Marysia Lewandowska, the event begins with a screening of her latest film Rehearsing the Museum (2018, 30 min.) and brings together art practitioners to discuss how they envision, co-produce, and speculate on future museums. 

Scripted by Lewandowska in collaboration with Beijing-based writer Zian Chen, Rehearsing the Museum revolves around a dialogue between two women—a property developer, and a young woman who aspires to build a collaborative museum model in which artists and users are at the centre of its operations. Filmed in Beijing, Shanghai, and Bergen, and featuring archival footage of cooperative housing projects and artists’ villages, Rehearsing the Museum questions how the scale and ambition of recent museum projects are connected to the movement of financial capital, as well as gift economies and issues of artefact repatriation. As the camera shifts between bird’s-eye views of landscapes, close-ups of plants in urban gardens, and museum spaces outside of galleries, the film suggests how remoteness and participation are performed by people who imagine, build, and use museums. 

Following the screening, Asia Art Archive and Tai Kwun Contemporary host a conversation between Lewandowska and three Hong Kong–based practitioners, including writer and editor Daniel Ho, artist and academic Sampson Wong, and curator and writer Yang Yeung. Moderated by Özge Ersoy, the conversation asks: How might speculation as an artistic strategy contribute to the public perception of museums? How might museums value artworks as much as the social and economic contexts in which artists, arts professionals, stakeholders, and users live? 

The event is free and open to the public.

 Suitable for All Ages

Daniel Szehin Ho is an editor, writer and translator based in Hong Kong. He is currently in charge of publications at Tai Kwun, where he has produced artists’ books and other publications, as well as leading the project for Booked: Tai Kwun Contemporary’s Hong Kong Art Book Fair, which opened in January 2019. He is also co-founder and now editor-at-large at Ran Dian, a bilingual online and print magazine on contemporary art in China and beyond; and contributed texts to a number of art magazines, including Frieze, Art Forum, Broadsheet, Art Agenda, and Kaleidoscope

Marysia Lewandowska is a Polish-born, London-based artist who has been exploring the public functions of archives, museums, and exhibitions. Her work has been presented by Tate Modern, Moderna Museet, New Museum, Muzeum Sztuki, and Whitechapel Gallery. She has been Professor of Fine Art at Konstfack in Stockholm (2003–13), Chinese University of Hong Kong (2014–16), and most recently at Goldsmiths College, London. Her most recent project is a commission for the Pavilion of Applied Arts in the 58th Venice Biennale (2019).  

Sampson Wong is an artist, curator, academic, and urbanist based in Hong Kong. His practice is dedicated to exploring issues related to contemporary urbanism, activist art, and social practice. He teaches at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. His current research focuses on plagues in Hong Kong and the Umbrella Movement. 

Yang Yeung is an art writer and an independent curator based in Hong Kong. She is Founder and Artistic Director of the non-profit soundpocket. Yeung is a member of Institute for Public Art, Art Appraisal Club Hong Kong, and International Art Critics Association Hong Kong. She was awarded the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship 2013–14.  She was selected to participate in the UNESCO workshop on the Convention on the Promotion and Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in 2018. She teaches classics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. 

Özge Ersoy is Public Programmes Lead at Asia Art Archive.

Co-presented by Asia Art Archive and Tai Kwun Contemporary and organised in partnership with NYU Shanghai Art Gallery.