4A returns to Art Central Hong Kong for the fifth time with a bespoke performance series. The hum of the art fair will be interrupted by performances from internationally acclaimed artists Chun Yin Rainbow Chan (陳雋然) (Australia), Amitesh Grover (India) and 圍傳婆婆 Once and Again (Hong Kong).
The three artistic projects for 2020 profile gentle gestures and soft language as a means to practice memory and meditation. Through small acts – of song, sound and repetition – the artists seek to build oral archives that continue legacies of the past while imagining the future. Seemingly insignificant on their own, each little gesture complies to form a continuous tradition illustrating how everyday actions, no matter how tiny, can amount to something bigger.
In the midst of the busy bustle of the fair each performance will evoke a sense of stillness and contemplation. These poetic disruptions to the fast- paced nature of the fair demonstrate how, in a world of increasingly rapid change, sometimes the more tender acts are the ones that have the most impact.
Amitesh Grover (b. New Delhi, India 1980 lives and works in New Delhi, India) has a practice that occupies the intermediate space between Performance, Interactive Art, and Theatre. Training in Live & Digital Arts at the University of Arts London his work has a strong orientation towards experiencing a radical form of proximity. He creates intimate art to explore the conditions of being near or close by. He has created work on grief, on sleep, on happiness, and on several other ephemeral grounds of knowledge. His works have been shown internationally, and he is the recipient of several awards and artist residencies. Most recently he has performed and exhibited Table Radica, Oddbird Theatre, New Delhi, (2019) What the frog’s eye’s cannot tell the brain, originally commissioned for the exhibition Hangar For The Passerby, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, (2017) Notes On Mourning, Festival Belluard Bollwerk International, Switzerland, (2016) Body Double, Deutsches Theatre Berlin (2015) Gnomonicity at The Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon, India (2012) and H.O.M.E, Rote Fabrik Studio, Zurich Switzerland (2008).
Amitesh Grover, Study for Performance x 4A 2020, 2019, courtesy the artist.
Chun Yin Rainbow Chan 陳雋然
Chun Yin Rainbow Chan (陳雋然) (b. 1990, Hong Kong, lives and works in Sydney, Australia) is a producer, vocalist and interdisciplinary artist of Hong Kong- Chinese descent. Chan is interested in mistranslations, diaspora and the effects of globalisation on modern Chinese society. She is currently researching women’s history, folk songs and language with a focus on her ancestral ties to Weitou people, the first settlers of Hong Kong. Most recently Chan’s major exhibitions include Gloss, Project Space, Cement Fondu, Sydney (2019) Gloss, project Space, Beijing (2019), A Kingdom of Flowers for My Mother, Firstdraft, Sydney (2018), How Deep is Your Like? in STORAGE, Newtown, Sydney (2017), To Enclose One’s Mouth in Familiar Stranger, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney (2017), Broken Vessel of 1996 (一九九六年的破釜), Longli International New Media Arts Festival, Longli Ancient Town, China (2016) and Faking it: Melamine Milk and Other Chinese Counterfeits in Conspiracy no.9, Minerva Gallery, Sydney (2016).
Chun Yin Rainbow Chan performs as part of her Familiar Stranger work To enclose one's mouth, 2017, ink, silk, wood, video loop, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist. 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Image: Document Photography.
Once and Again 圍傳婆婆
Once and Again 圍傳婆婆 (Hong Kong) is a performance group comprised of elderly Weitou women from the small walled-villages of the Lung Yeuk Tau region, in the New Territories of Hong Kong. The group are a part of a wider project, run by the Caritas Lung Yeuk Tau Community Development Service Center in Hong Kong. The project focuses on recording the oral history of the senior ladies, the delivery of first hand information and community propagation of bridal laments as well as the public’s reaction to these songs. Over the course of a year, these old ladies performed local ballads from half a century ago, providing memories and lyrics that offer glimpses into the history and sentiments from a bygone era. The recording of these ballads has been accepted by the collection database at the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office and the aforementioned project is sponsored by the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust. It is also assisted by scholars, Dr. Shirley Suet-Lin Hung from Hong Kong Baptist University and Dr. Stephen Cheung from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Over the last year, public support has strengthened the sense of self-worth of these old ladies and the exercise has brought residents across different generations closer to each other. As a community development service, this project places stronger emphasis on the group of senior women that has long been neglected with the hope they receive the recognition they deserve and the opportunity to showcase their narratives and strengths.
Chun Yin Rainbow Chan with Weitou women (from left) Tang Siu-fan, Liu Kam-lan, Man Fung-king, Yuen Yu-po, Tang Suk-kuen, Leung Siu-ha, Man Kam-lin, Man Kam-hop, Wong Kwai-fung, and Hau Kwai Sheung in Lung Yeuk Tau, 2018. Photo: Courtesy of the Caritas Lung Yeuk Tau Community Development Project.
Entering the fourth year of partnership with Art Central, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (Sydney) returned in 2019 with a curated performance programme featuring four interactive and live works by leading contemporary artists from across the Asia-Pacific region.
Ideas of time and duration, questioning the futility and fruits of human endeavour are all addressed by leading contemporary artists through a series of daily on-site performances, interrupting the hum of the fair, with challenging examination of the exhaustive state of perpetual busy-ness and the act of counting down. The participating artists were: Bettina Fung (Hong Kong/United Kingdom), Brian Fuata (Australia), Minja Gu (Korea) and Siu Lan Ko (Hong Kong/ Canada).
I am tired with you
Best known for her performative drawing practice that invites collaboration from the audience, Hong Kong born British-Chinese artist Bettina Fung will present I am tired with you – a piece that is fundamentally anchored in the traditions of print-making. The artist opens the performance with a plate filled with heavy-duty pigment before layering a piece of paper on top. As the paper adheres to the paint, members of the audience are invited to play the role of the printing press by writing, walking and conversing about a contemporary culture of busyness, sharing their reflections on fatigue and labour relations, while simultaneously contemplating possibilities of “non-doing”. Each of these audience interventions forms a palimpsest of mark making on the painted surface, creating a collective mind map of the audiences’ thoughts on the subject.
The Authentic Quality : HK
Expanding on a previous project, Korean artist Minja Gu has been commissioned to set up a restaurant-cum-exhibition-cum-relational aesthetics project in an art fair setting, where she adopts the persona of a cooking infomercial personality, using the ubiquitous two-minute noodle packet as a tool to prompt conversational exchange about food culture and societal pressure to conform. Through the performance, the artist seeks to mimic contorted media and commercial imagery in a pursuit of perfection – an act that takes much longer than the prescribed two minutes. Having never travelled to Hong Kong, Gu will use this cooking platform to understand the unfamiliar ingredients, politics and processes of the city – something which she hopes fellow sympathisers at the fair will help her navigate.
Care Disfigurements (flowers)
Sydney-based Samoan, writer and performer Brian Fuata has been commissioned to present his signature ‘ghost’ performance – a living series that considers the images of ghosts through a durational performance. Both an actor and artist, Fuata infuses dead pan humour with performance routines, combining bed sheets and mineral water in a clever cocktail that travels through the entire emotional, artistic and entertainment spectrum. This performance will traverse the fair, engaging with works from booth to booth, providing visual stimuli for his evolving poetry.
Siu Lan Ko
New Territories Old Territories
Canadian-based Hong Kong artist Siu Lan Ko creates text-based installations and durational performances that examine ideas of space, geography and nationhood. Drawing inspiration from cylindrical prayer wheels found in temples, the work, both a performance piece and an interactive sculpture, takes the format of three large spindles, each printed with words that describe the political trajectory of Hong Kong. As audiences interact with them, they form evolving sentences that reflect the continuously developing relationship between Hong Kong and China; “Hong Kong is Hong Kong”, “Hong Kong is China”, “Hong Kong isn’t China”, “China is Hong Kong”. Reflecting on Hong Kong’s 50-year period of transition, Siu Lan Ko invites Hong Kong performance artists to activate the installation with her in innovative ways that test the boundaries of duration, politics and performance. Visitors will also be invited to turn the spindles and consider their ideas of Hong Kong, now and into the future.