Asia Art Archive hosts online presentations by Zhuang Wubin, Zeng Qunkai, and Deng Liwen—the 6th Edition of The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Greater China Research Grant Grantees Presentation.

Zhuang Wubin | Resurfacing Hong Kong in Southeast Asia: Circulations of Photography from the 1930s to the Handover

Sat, 17 Jul 2021, 3–4pm HKT

Zhuang Wubin | Resurfacing Hong Kong in Southeast Asia: Circulations of Photography from the 1930s to the Handover

This is a research project that examines the historical connections between Hong Kong and Southeast Asia from the 1930s to the Handover. It uses, as an entry point, the circulations of photography to re-imagine the histories, cultures, art, and politics of the region. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong became an important hub for the region in rolling out new, imported technologies in photography and printing. Before the re-opening of China, consumers from Southeast Asia helped to maintain its market position. Similarly, readers in Southeast Asia were the main consumers of the bewildering range of photo and pictorial periodicals, which were produced and circulated from Hong Kong since the 1950s. Hong Kong was also known as the “Kingdom of Salon Photography,” with its adherents often held up as a reference point for their peers across the region. In the era of decolonisation, photographers helped place the newly independent nations of Southeast Asia on the global map by clinching awards in the regional and international salons. For the Chinese photographers and readers in the region, Hong Kong was also the place through which they tried to maintain their homeland connections. In this talk, Zhuang will share some of the findings from the project.

Zhuang Wubin is a writer who makes photographs, publications, and exhibitions. He is interested in photography’s entanglements with modernity, colonialism, nationalism, “Chineseness,” and the Cold War in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. Zhuang’s published books include Shifting Currents: Glimpses of a Changing Nation (2018) and Photography in Southeast Asia: A Survey (2016). He is a recipient of the research grant from Prince Claus Fund, the Netherlands (2010), and the Lee Kong Chian Research Fellowship, Singapore (2017). He has been invited to various research programmes, including two residency programmes at Asia Art Archive—the Ha Bik Chuen Archive Project in 2018, and a Research Residency supported by Spring Workshop in 2015.

Moderator: Chương-Đài Võ, Asia Art Archive Researcher

Language: English

Image: Hong Kong photo periodicals popular in Southeast Asia (1950s–60s), <i>Asia Magazine</i>, and <i>Borneo Scene</i> photobook (by Sarawak photographer K. F. Wong; published in HK). Courtesy of Zhuang Wubin.
Image: Hong Kong photo periodicals popular in Southeast Asia (1950s–60s), Asia Magazine, and Borneo Scene photobook (by Sarawak photographer K. F. Wong; published in HK). Courtesy of Zhuang Wubin.

Deng Liwen | Southerness as an Angle: From Southern Artists Salon to Theatre 44

Sat, 17 Jul 2021, 4–5pm HKT

Deng Liwen | Southerness as an Angle: From Southern Artists Salon to Theatre 44

Deng Liwen’s research project, “Southerness as an Angle: From Southern Artists Salon to Theatre 44,” utilises Asia Art Archive’s Materials of the Future Archive and other archives about contemporary art in Guangdong, and proposes to use the term “southernness” to investigate the self-organised practices in Southern China from the 1980s: Southern Artists Salon, Big Tail Elephants, Yangjiang Youths and World Bookstore, and Theatre 44. Deng explores aspects of fluidity, connectivity, and autonomy in the practices of the above-mentioned groups and collectives. Referring and connecting to the archives of previous self-organised practices in Guangdong, Deng mainly discusses the practices of Theatre 44 and investigates how the idea of “southerness” has been configured and reconfigured to address their locality in relation to the broader context of contemporary China and the global cultural and geopolitical landscape.

Deng Liwen (Zoénie) obtained her PhD from Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam. Her research has been focused on non-oppositional criticality of socially engaged art in China. Now she works in Waag Foundation, Amsterdam. She has published various articles and reviews on LEAP, Artforum, and The Art Newspaper. Her research on art of southern China motivates a number of presentations and public talks, including “Critical Public Spaces in the City: Social Practices Growing or Roaming in Guangzhou” (University of Amsterdam, 2018) and “Art’s Social Practice in Pearl River Delta: from Residents Forum to Theatre 44” (Shanghai, 2017).

Moderator: Anthony Yung, Asia Art Archive Researcher

Language: English

Image: Theatre 44 in Guangzhou at night, 2016. Courtesy of Deng Liwen.
Image: Theatre 44 in Guangzhou at night, 2016. Courtesy of Deng Liwen.

Zeng Qunkai | Sensation, Modern, and Oasis: From Twelve Men Exhibition to Restart Exhibition in Xinjiang from 1987 to 2002

Sat, 17 Jul 2021, 5–6pm HKT

Zeng Qunkai | Sensation, Modern, and Oasis: From Twelve Men Exhibition to Restart Exhibition in Xinjiang from 1987 to 2002 | Mandarin
Zeng Qunkai | Sensation, Modern, and Oasis: From Twelve Men Exhibition to Restart Exhibition in Xinjiang from 1987 to 2002 | English Simultaneous Interpretation

Zeng Qunkai’s project, “Sensation, Modern, and Oasis: From Twelve Men Exhibition to Restart Exhibition in Xinjiang from 1987 to 2002,” investigates various works and activities of two pivotal exhibitions across this particular period in Xinjiang, which exhibit a trajectory of preparation, germination, peak, and a turn afterwards. Located in a historical area of multi-cultural collisions and assimilations, Zeng also traces the inspirations for art in Xinjiang in terms of public value, visual transformations, and sociopolitical concepts from Central China as well as Central Asia.

Zeng Qunkai is an artist, critic, and curator active in Xinjiang. He curated Scattered into the Enlightenment: New Art in the Xinjiang Province since 1985 and The Narrator of the “Yi” Field: The New Art Exhibition of Contemporary 80’s in the Xinjiang Province, and co-curated the exhibition Pink Public Opinion: Contemporary Art Exhibition of Chinese Female Artists. As an artist, Zeng’s works have been selected for major national art exhibitions. His recent essay “Parallel Geography and Parallel Experiment: Art Historical Norms and Experiments in Art Ecology of Xinjiang” was selected in the 34th World Congress of Art History.

Moderator: Congyang Xie, Asia Art Archive Researcher

Language: Mandarin, with English simultaneous interpretation

Image: Poster of <i>Restart: 2002 Xinjiang Contemporary Art Exhibition</i>. Courtesy of Zeng Qunkai.
Image: Poster of Restart: 2002 Xinjiang Contemporary Art Exhibition. Courtesy of Zeng Qunkai.

 

 

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