Curatorial statement on “Beyond Revolution from the Periphery”

“Beyond Revolution from the Periphery” Korean Residency and Cultural Exchange Project

(“Beyond Revolution from the Periphery” is the cultural exchange and residency project presented by openspace bae from Busan, Korea and Art Together from Hong Kong.)


Translated by CHAN Nin

To exceed, to ‘go beyond revolution’ in the way the title of the exhibition suggests is an incredibly daunting task. After all, for so many of us in this city, ‘revolution’ necessarily connotes failure. How, then, are we to go beyond it? In an art world populated by mirages, where the imagination is given room to speculate, it might perhaps be possible to think about what this ‘beyond’ might mean. For artists engaged in art informed by political passions, for artists who regard art as a means by which the world might be changed, creation seems powerless, even futile when compared to actual political struggle.

This sense of powerlessness, of course, takes nothing away from the value of the work, as despondent as the artist feels for falling short of her ethical obligation to a world indifferent, for the time being at least, to what she creates. Perhaps even the most rational of artists harbor tender sensibilities. Unarmed and impoverished, the artist, like the public of which he is a part, has nothing but the resources of humor, of embittered mockery, playing the clown or the jester.

This exhibition elaborates on the ‘beyond’ of revolution, taking the margins and the undercurrent of this beyond as its thematic focus. Here, three local artists attempt to explore how we might create in a ‘revolutionary’ fashion, as well as how we might employ art to catalyze infra-political micro-revolutions inside the social field. This is all informed by the belief that if we are to go ‘beyond’ revolution, further and further beyond, our foremost concern should be with the sustainability of our struggle.

Lock Lo, through engaging with his deep sense of political disenfranchisement, has come to develop a sense of distrust towards art, and his sense of struggle and persistence in the face of a self-destructive, disorienting art world is reflected in his work. It is this personal exemplarity and intensity, his conviction about the possibility of rebirth after death that he hopes to communicate to others.

Brandon Chan’s idea of socially participatory art situates itself inside neighborhoods. What it seeks to affect is not the passions of the populace, but the intellect and sensibility of each and every body. Through ensnaring thought in a labyrinthine web, he seeks to bind isolated bodies in networks of poly-dimensional construction.

Gum Cheng, who is also the curator for the current exhibition, is accustomed to regarding things from the perspective of totality. He endeavors, through the process of creation, to identify and illuminate problems, using art as a cathartic conduit for rage and frustration, in the hope that these muted screams might resonate with the disaffection of others. In truth, whether one lives in Hong Kong or Korea, to adopt the vocation of being an artist is in itself a kind of revolutionary practice, an assumption of lifelong struggle against society.