In 2006, a member of Hong Kong’s artist community came into Asia Art Archive’s library before departing the city, and in haste, deposited a box of material related to Oil Street. Kept in AAA’s Special Collections room until 2011, the box was recently rediscovered to reveal a range of material around the Oil Street artist village and the ensuing 'Save Oil Street Campaign', which took place in the late 1990s.
Oil Street’s is a history built as much on gaps as on record and nostalgically lives on in the memory of the community as an important moment in the city’s cultural development—as an instance that allowed artists and organisations to engage in unconstrained experiments with large space at a low rent and as a precursor for the art community’s increasing engagement in attempts to safeguard cultural space in Hong Kong.
For AAA, the box represents an entry point through which to read and reinterpret a history as well as an opportunity to expose the complexities and ambiguities of the research process. With existing documentation, news clippings, letters, drawings, and photographs, and through conversations with members of the artist village, AAA reconstructs parallel timelines of the history of the site (1908 – present) and that of the artist village (1998 – 2000). AAA looks to playfully reflect on the subjectivity of memory through a series of new drawings of the site, and invites a wider interpretation of the material with talks by New York-based artist Paul Chan and local storyteller Uncle Hung Jai.
Library, Asia Art Archive
11/F, Hollywood Centre, 233 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Wednesday 16 May – Thursday 28 June 2012
AAA Booth Z1, ART HK 12
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wanchai
Thursday 17 May – Sunday 20 May 2012
Why artist groups form and why they fall: a theory
Talk by Paul Chan, New York-based artist
Time: 11am-12pm, Friday 18 May 2012
Venue: Asia Art Archive
Storytelling by Yuen Che Hung, Hong Kong-based storyteller
Time: 1:45pm & 4:15pm, Saturday 19 May
2pm & 3pm, Sunday 20 May
Venue: Booth Z1, ART HK 12
Time: 2.30-3.30pm, Thursday 17 May
3-4pm, Friday 18 May
1-2pm, Saturday 19 May
3.30-4.30pm, Sunday 20 May
Venue: Booth Z1, ART HK 12
Funded by Burger Collection
Supported by 84000 Communications, ART HK 12, Pico Group
This project was made possible by contributions from individuals from the Hong Kong art community, including: Art Promotion Office, Carolyn Cartier, Howard Chan, Damien Cheng, Almond Chu, Frog King, May Fung, Andrew Lam, Lily Lau, Jeff Leung, Leung Po Shan, Fion Ng, Robert O'Brien, Pak Sheung Chuen, Ellen Pau, To Wun, Tsui Pui Wan, Vivian Ting, Wong Chi Fai, C.W. Wong, Wong Leung Shek, James Wong, Stanley Wong, and Videotage.