SCREENING

Sites of Construction: The moving image as a site of art historical construction

When August - October 2013
Where Multiple Venues

中文

August Programme | September Programme | October Programme


The documentary form has been employed in myriad ways to record the ecology of the art field, offering endless potential to create new stories, complicate old ones, and circulate them to an expanded audience. This screening series looks at how documentaries can shape the way histories of art can be constructed, remembered, mystified, and debated. The programme has been developed in partnership with selected Hong Kong institutions with an interest in film and art to reflect the diversity of interest, perspective, approach, and audience. Over 20 selected titles will be screened at multiple venues. This series will end in October to coincide with the symposium ’Sites of Construction: Exhibitions and the making of recent art history in Asia.

This event is part of Sites of Construction


OCTOBER PROGRAMME


Wed 16 Oct, 7pm, agnès b. CINEMA, Hong Kong Arts Centre,
2 Harbour Road, Wanchai

Screenings followed by a discussion between Doryun Chong, Chief Curator of M+ and Hammad Nasar, Head of Research and Programmes of Asia Art Archive


Trip to Korea
Director: Shigeko Kubota (Japan) | 1984 | 9 minutes | English

Trip to Korea is Shigeko Kubota's poignant account of her husband artist Nam June Paik's return to his native Korea after a 34-year absence. In documenting his reunion with surviving family members and friends, she ‘writes’ an intimate chapter of her video journal in which memory, history, and the present collide: The Paik family must pass through a U.S. military base to reach their ancestors' graves; the family home is now part of a storefront. In translating the private to the public, Kubota confronts personal and cultural loss, and the negation and reclamation of memory and history.
 

SoHo SoAp/Rain Damage
Director: Shigeko Kubota (Japan) | 1985 | 9 minutes | English

This chapter of Kubota's ongoing video journal chronicles the aftermath of a flood that destroyed Kubota and Nam June Paik's loft studio, after an irresponsible roofer left work unfinished during a rainstorm. Kubota tells this story, and the ensuing battle with their co-op, as a subjective, tragicomic documentary. On-screen text merges with Paik's often incomprehensible, running narration; images of the former editing studio are ‘keyed’ into photos of the destruction. The emotional impact of the loss of the artists' invaluable tapes, and the irony of the significance of water in Kubota's art, are felt throughout. As Kubota states, "It rains in my heart, it rains on my video art... Art imitates nature, nature imitates art."


Sexual Healing

Director: Shigeko Kubota (Japan) | 1998 | 4 minutes | English

This chapter of Kubota's ongoing video diary is an intimate and humorous portrait of her husband, artist Nam June Paik, as he undergoes physical therapy after an illness.


April is the Cruelest Month

Director: Shigeko Kubota (Japan) | 1999 | 52 minutes | English

With April is the Cruelest Month Kubota continues her ongoing video diary project. Here she reflects on her relationship with her husband Nam June Paik. While the prior instalment, Sexual Healing, focused on Paik's recovery from an illness, this chapter is a tender tribute. Kubota constructs a collage of historical documentation, including interviews, performances and installations with and by Paik, as well as footage of the couple in Miami Beach, where they spent their winter months.


Winter in Miami 2005

Director: Shigeko Kubota (Japan) | 2006 | 14 minutes | English

Winter in Miami 2005 is Kubota's touching tribute to her husband, artist Nam June Paik, who died at their home in Miami in January 2006. This intimate piece features previously unreleased sound recordings of Paik at the piano in his New York home in 2005, playing haunting compositions that he wrote in 1945, when he was 13 years old. Layered footage of Kubota and Paik, sitting together in Miami in the winter before his death, takes on the resonance of memory. Kubota premiered this work at a tribute to Paik at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in October 2006.



Shigeko Kubota brings a singular sensibility to her extensive body of video sculptures, multi-media installations, and single-channel videos. Over the five decades of her career, Kubota has forged a lyrical confluence of the personal and the technological, often merging vibrant electronic processing techniques with images of nature, culture, art, and everyday life. A prominent Fluxus artist in the 1960s, she has created an ongoing, idiosyncratic video diary since the 1970s. Her distinctive fusions of the organic, the art historical, and the electronic are at once poetic and witty.




SEPTEMBER PROGRAMME



A Monkey’s Raincoat
Director: Mani Kaul (India)
| 2005 | 51 minutes | English with subtitles
Sat 28 Sep, 2.30pm,
Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty

A Monkey’s Raincoat is a documentary about young artists working at the Rijkasakademie, Amsterdam, an institute that offers annual residencies to artists from around the world. During their annual Open Studios, the resident artists’ work and research is presented to the public. Director Mani Kaul follows a group of resident artists to the Venice Biennale and then to their studios in Amsterdam. We see three in particular – Serbian artist Slobedan Milosevic, Croatian artist Lala Rascic and Chinese artist Kan Xuan – as they embark on their personal pursuits of the true nature and creation of modern art.

Mani Kaul (1944-2011) was born in Rajasthan into a family hailing from Kashmir. His uncle was the renowned actor/director Mahesh Kaul. A graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India, Mani Kaul’s films have radically overhauled the relationship of image to form, of speech to narrative, with the objective of creating a ‘purely cinematic object’ that is above all visual and formal. His 1989 production Siddheshwari was awarded the National Film Award.


Yanguan Town                                                                                                       Director: Yang Bo (China) | 2009 | 35 minutes | Mandarin with Chinese and English subtitles                                                                                                                     Thu 26 Sep, 7pm, Spring Workshop, 3/F, Remex Centre, 42 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen
Screenings followed by a discussion with Ou Ning, artist, curator and Chief Editor of Chutzpah! and Pi Li, Sigg Senior Curator of M+ in Mandarin (7.45pm)

In the summer of 2009, artist Liu Xiaodong traveled to Yan Guan County in Gansu Province, China. For centuries, the area was known for its horse-trading. The painter had spent the previous year there painting horses and had become fascinated by the region's crossroads of cultures. On this return trip, he seeks to depict the peaceful co-existence of Muslims and Christians — both non-indigenous cultures and foreign to Liu — through portraits of two families. 

After graduating from the Beijing Film Academy in 2008, Yang Bo has worked as a director, director of photography and post-production editor on a variety of films, short videos and commercials.


Dong
Director: Jia Zhangke (China)
| 2006 | 70 minutes | Mandarin with Chinese and English subtitles
Thu 26 Sep, 8.15pm,
Spring Workshop, 3/F, Remex Centre, 42 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen
Screenings followed by a discussion with Ou Ning, artist, curator and Chief Editor of Chutzpah! and Pi Li, Sigg Senior Curator of M+ in Mandarin (7.45pm)


Artist Liu Xiaodong visited the Three Gorges area to create his oil painting series, Hot Bed. A group of 11 local construction workers became models in his work. Director Jia Zhangke visited Liu on the banks of Fengjie, a city soon to be submerged under the Yangtze River with the completion of the Three Gorges Dam. They later travelled to Bangkok where Lui invited 11 Thai women to be his models for the same series of paintings. Both cities have their own river running through the centre of the city, charging forwards and never returning.

Jia Zhangke was born in Fenyang, Shanxi Province. He graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in 1997. His first feature film Xiao Wu (1998) was very successful at the Berlin, Nantes and Vancouver festivals.  His latest film Sanxia Haoren (Still Life) received the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival 2006.


Hometown Boy
Director: Yao Hung-I (Taiwan)
| 2011 | 72 minutes | Mandarin with English subtitles
Wed 25 Sep, 7pm,
Spring Workshop, 3/F, Remex Centre, 42 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen

Chinese artist Liu Xiaodong left home when he was 17 to study art in Beijing and went on to become a renowned artist. Thirty years later, Liu decided to return home to create a body of work that would capture his hometown—and its many changes. He painted his family, friends and the city. This documentary records Liu’s art making process, from an empty canvas and ending with an abundance of content and form. Each of Liu’s paintings is part of a larger series, a frozen moment infused with childhood memories and present-day experiences.

Yao Hung-I joined Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s film studio (now 3H Productions) in 1994. He directed his first feature film in 2005 and has worked as director, assistant director, cinematographer, art director, film editor, and executive producer.

 

Cassandra’s Gift
Director: Payal Kapadia (India)
| 2012 | 22 minutes | English
Sun 22 Sep, 2.30pm,
Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty
Screening followed by a discussion with director in English (3.40pm)

Over a period of two years, Nalini Malani created In Search of Vanished Blood, a video/shadow play consisting of six video projections and five reverse-painted, rotating Mylar cylinders, as part of dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel. Cassandra’s Gift traces various thoughts behind the artwork that comment on social issues such as gender, displacement and violence, and draws on the Greek mythical figure of Cassandra – the princess cursed with the gift of prophecy that no one believed in.

Payal Kapadia is a filmmaker living and working in Mumbai whose work deals with issues concerning the socio-political themes in India and spans documentary, experimental film, and animation. Her film Titli Udi (Flight of the Butterfly, 2009) has been shown at numerous international film festivals.


As the Crow Flies
Director: Kumar Shahani (India)
| 2004 | 23 minutes | English
Sun 22 Sep, 3.15pm,
Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty
Screening followed by a discussion with director in English (3.40pm)

As the Crow Flies is an aesthetic exploration of the works of the eminent painter, Akbar Padamsee. Director Kumar Shahani shares concerns in art, aesthetics and philosophy with Padamsee, and converses with the artist via the sound of the city, the music of Gnan, and images that spiral into cocoon-like structures of meditative space.

Kumar Shahani is an Indian film director, born in Larkana, Sindh (now Pakistan) in 1940. Shahani was a student of Ritwik Ghatak at the Film and Television Institute of India and also studied under the renowned Marxist historian DD Kosambi. Upon receiving a French Government Scholarship, Shahani left for France to study at the Institut des hautes études cinématographiques (IDHEC) and assisted Robert Bresson on Une Femme Douce. He returned to India to make his first feature film Maya Darpan in 1972.


Figures of Thought
Director: Arun Khopkar (India)
| 1990 | 33 minutes | English
Sat 21 Sep, 2.30pm,
Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty
Screening followed by a discussion with director in English (5.15pm)

This film takes a large glass mural created by Bhupen Khakhar, Nalini Malani and Vivan Sundaram as its starting-point and a means of transition between the three sections devoted to the work of these individual artists. Through a cinematic language that draws upon the narrative and theatrical traditions of India, this film creatively interprets the practices of the three artists.

A graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India (and before that a mathematician), Arun Khopkar is a documentary filmmaker who has produced numerous short films on educational and social welfare issues, including the award-winning short film Tobacco Habits and Oral Cancer (1977).


To Let the World In, Volume 1
Director: Avijit Mukul Kishore (India)
| 2012 | 93 minutes | English and Hindi with English subtitles
Sat 21 Sep, 3.30pm,
Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty
Screening followed by a discussion with director in English (5.15pm)

To Let the World In, Volume 1 is the first part of a film project that looks at the history of contemporary Indian art from the early 1980s to the present day, and was produced as part of the exhibition “To Let the World in: Narrative And Beyond in Contemporary Indian Art” curated by art historian Chaitanya Sambrani at Art Chennai in 2012. In 1981, the exhibition ‘Place for People’ brought together a group of practitioners who sought to explore locality, class, and politics in their practice. Among the inheritors of their legacy were younger artists who continued this dialogue. The film’s featured artists include Atul Dodiya, Anita Dube, Ranbir Kaleka, Nalini Malani, Pushpamala N, Sudhir Patwardhan, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Nilima Sheikh, Arpita Singh, and Vivan Sundaram along with art critic and curator Geeta Kapur. (Producer: Sanjay Tulsyan. Production Company: Art Chennai.)

Avijit Mukul Kishore is a filmmaker and cinematographer based in Mumbai. He specialises in documentary film and collaborates with visual artists on video and film-based installations.


4 x 4 – Episodes of Singapore Art                                                                             Director: Ho Tzu Nyen (Singapore) | 2005 | 88 minutes | English with subtitles Screening followed by a talk by the director in English                                                  

Thu 12 Sep, 6.30pm, A Space, Asia Art Archive, 10/F, Hollywood Centre, 233 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan

This series is an attempt to present four important artworks by four Singaporean artists in a manner that is visually innovative and thought provoking. It seeks to do away with the usual clichés of the art documentary, by dramatising the process of interpreting, understanding and debating modern art. In each of the episodes, a single artwork will serve as the focal point through which a host of issues such as modernity, urbanisation, and the value of modern art can be introduced and discussed. 4 x 4 – Episodes of Singapore Art is in itself a work of art by artist-filmmaker Ho Tzu Nyen and was conceived specifically to tie in with the Singapore Art Show 2005. This series thus marks a historical precedent in Singapore – a collaborative effort between the worlds of visual art and television production, as well as being the first time that the Singapore television channel Arts Central was used as a platform to present a piece of visual art.

Ho Tzu Nyen makes films, videos, and performances related to historical and philosophical texts and artefacts. Recent one-person exhibitions of his work include MAM Project #16 at the Mori Art Museum (2012), the Singapore Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011), and ‘Earth’ at Artspace, Sydney (2011). Exhibitions that he has taken part in include ‘Homeworks 6’, Beirut (2013), 5th Auckland Triennial (2013), ‘No Country’ at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (2013), the 6th Asia-Pacific Triennial (2009), the 1st Singapore Biennale (2006), the 3rd Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale (2005); and the 26th Sao Paulo Biennale (2004). His performances have been presented at Theater der Welt (2010), the KunstenFestivaldesArts (2006 and 2008) and the Singapore Arts Festival (2006 and 2008). His films have been shown at film festivals such as Cannes Film Festival (2009) and Venice International Film Festival (2009), and his short films were the subject of a retrospective at the 60th Oberhausen Short Film Festival.

 

Light and Belief 
Director: Dinh Q Le (Vietnam)
 | 2012, commissioned by dOCUMENTA (13)| 37 minutes | Vietnamese with English subtitles
Screening followed by a discussion with director in English

Fri 6 Sep, 6.30pm, 
A Space, Asia Art Archive, 10/F, Hollywood Centre, 233 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan

Light and Belief presents eleven senior Vietnamese artists, some of whom were soldiers during the Vietnam War and others who spent a great deal of time in the war zone. Parallel to the ‘official’ imagery they were producing, they also produced private drawings – intimate portraits of soldiers and civilians, mundane everyday activities, and atmospheric landscapes that delivered another view of the war, in their longings for some normality. Light and Belief takes an intimate look at the role of these artists and their art.

Based in Ho Chi Minh City, Dinh Q Lê was born in Ha-Tien, Vietnam. His artistic practice consistently challenges how our memories are recalled within the context of contemporary life. Whether his work highlights the dominance of film and media in the creation of historical legacy, addresses the confluence of cultural tradition and contemporary tragedy through his woven photographs, repurposes everyday urban objects into artistic wonders, or documents the unchronicled stories of those who endured the first helicopter war, his artistic investigations elucidate a commitment to the artistic process as a means of excavating history, and uncovering and revealing alternate ideas of loss and redemption. His work has been exhibited worldwide at institutions including Bellevue Art Museum, Washington State; Asia Society, New York; and Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York. He was also included in the 55th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (2009), City Visions Festival in Mechelen, Belgium (2009), Singapore Biennale (2008), ‘Thermocline of Art’  (2007), ZKM, Germany, the 5th Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (2006), Gwangju Biennale (2006), and Venice Biennale (2003). He also participated in dOCUMENTA (13) in 2012. Besides being an artist, Lê also co-founded Sàn Art, an active non-profit gallery in Vietnam. In 2010, Lê was named Visual Art Laureate by the Prince Claus Fund, Amsterdam.

 

Herb & Dorothy
Director: Megumi Sasaki (Japan) ∣ 2008 | 87 minutes | English
Thu 5 Sep, 6.30pm, Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty

Herb & Dorothy tells the story of Herbert Vogel, a postal clerk, and Dorothy Vogel, a librarian, who managed to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history with very modest means. In the early 1960s, when very little attention was paid to Minimalist and Conceptual Art, Herb and Dorothy Vogel quietly began purchasing the works of unknown artists. Devoting all of Herb's salary to purchasing art they liked, and living on Dorothy's paycheck alone, they collected artworks guided by two rules: each piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one bedroom Manhattan apartment. Within these limitations, they proved themselves to be curatorial visionaries; most of the artists they supported and befriended went on to become world-renowned, including Sol LeWitt, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Richard Tuttle, Chuck Close, Robert Mangold, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Lynda Benglis, Pat Steir, Robert Barry, Lucio Pozzi, and Lawrence Weiner. After thirty years of meticulous collecting, the Vogels managed to accumulate over 2,000 pieces, filling every corner of their tiny one bedroom apartment. 

Born and raised in Japan, Megumi has lived in New York City since 1988. Originally a freelance journalist, Megumi's first big break came in 1989 as she covered the fall of the Berlin Wall. After a 3-month period taking photographs and gathering stories directly from the streets and living rooms of Eastern Europe, Megumi produced a 10-part series portraying the confusion and excitement gripping the lives of people from former Iron Curtain nations. In 2002, Megumi founded the production company Fine Line Media to streamline ongoing commitments to Japanese TV while facilitating her new interest in feature documentary projects. Herb & Dorothy is the first of these, a labour of love both directed and produced by Megumi.

 


AUGUST PROGRAMME

 

From Jean-Paul Sartre to Teresa Teng: Contemporary Cantonese Art in the 1980s
Written and directed by Asia Art Archive (Hong Kong) ∣ 2010 ∣ 48 minutes ∣ Mandarin and Cantonese with English subtitles
Screening followed by a discussion with researcher and writer Phoebe Wong in Cantonese

Sat 31 Aug, 6pm, Film Culture Centre, Flat A3, 11/F, Tung Nam Factory Building, 40 Ma Tau Kok Road, To Kwa Wan, Kowloon

The 1980s was a seminal period in the history of contemporary art in China. However, the contribution and experimentalism of the art scene in South China, particularly in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, have generally been overlooked. Due in part to the proximity of Hong Kong, Western ideas from translated books and articles as well as popular culture in the form of television shows and Canto pop, flooded over the border to Guangdong at the end of the Cultural Revolution. This influx of new ideas and popular culture sparked great excitement, debate, and experimentation in the arts. Based on primary research, rare film footage, and personal interviews with key artists, this documentary bears witness to the reading fever that gripped the Chinese art world in the 1980s. It also highlights the experimentalism and verve of artists and critics in South China whose contributions to the development of contemporary art have been long-lasting and deep.


Huang Chin-ho, Hou Chun-ming, and Hsu, Cheng-jen, 3 episodes from
Avant Garde Liberation: The Huang Mingchuan Image Collection of the 1990s

Director: Huang Mingchuan (Taiwan) ∣ 2003 ∣ 78 minutes ∣ Mandarin with English subtitles
Screening followed by a discussion with director in Mandarin

Fri 23 Aug, 6.30pm, A Space, Asia Art Archive, 10/F, Hollywood Centre, 233 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan

Recipient of the first annual Taishin Arts Award, this 14-episode documentary by filmmaker Huang Mingchuan focuses on young and exciting conceptual art in Taiwan following the lifting of martial law in 1987. Beginning in 1992, the project took nine years to complete and was broadcast as a weekly programme on public television, the first of its kind to bring Taiwanese contemporary art to a wider audience. The documentary episodes to be screened focus on artists Huang Chinho, Hou Chunming, and Hsu Chengjen.

Huang Mingchuan graduated with a degree in Law from the National Taiwan University. In 1978, he traveled to New York to study painting and lithography before switching his focus to graphic photography in Los Angeles the following year. In 1982, he received the Grand Prize for the 1st Art Critics’ Award organised by Lion Art Monthly. He returned to Taiwan in 1998. During the 1990s, he directed public television programmes, documentaries, and several feature films such as The Man from West Island, BODO, and Flat Tyre. Since 2000, he has produced 100 Taiwanese Poets, Highlights from the New Wave of Taiwan Digital Art, and documentaries about artists including Liang Jenhung, Yuan Goangming, Shyu Rueishiann, and Hung Yi. In 2010, he directed five documentaries on authors born during the Japanese colonial period and wrote in Japanese: Huang Lingzhi, Jin Lian, Chen Chienwu, Lin Hengtai, andLo Lang. He completed two artist documentaries in 2011 entitled A Pungent Patriot: Dean-E Mei and Bloom Beyond Spring: Jun T. Lai. In 2012, he completed a series of oral history videos with five artists from Kaohsiung: Chen Shuitsai, Hsu Suchen, Lu Mingte, Lee Mingtse, and Liu Kengi.



Y.H.A. 30+ Young Hong Kong Artists Dialogue
Director: Machi (Hong Kong) ∣ 2010 ∣ 95 minutes ∣ Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles
Screening followed by a discussion with director in Cantonese
                                     Thu 22 Aug, 6.30pm,Ying E Chi, 4/F, Foo Tak Building, 365 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai

This film weaves together nine interviews with Hong Kong artists of the same approximate age as its director, Machi, all born in the 1970s. After graduating from university, they must cope with an economic crisis and a society too rigid to tolerate those who diverge from the mainstream. Pursuing a career in art under such circumstances seems an arduous task. How does one survive as an artist in Hong Kong?

Machi earned a BA in Fine Arts and an MA in Philosophy from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. In recent years he has focused on video art, but he also works in theatrical video, art documentary, and art direction for film. Extending his art practice into education, he is currently the Programme Leader of the Film and Digital Arts curriculum at HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity. In 2008, Machi began to develop his observations about the paradoxical circumstances faced by young Hong Kong artists into his most recent project Y.H.A. 30+ Hong Kong Young Artist Dialogue. It premiered at the Hong Kong Independent Film Festival and has been shown in Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Finland, Sweden, and Norway.


Details of the film programme will be updated periodically.

‘Sites of Construction’ is financially supported by the Arts Capacity Development Funding Scheme of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Programme Partners: Asia Society Hong Kong Centre, Film Culture Centre, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Spring Workshop, Ying E Chi
Funded in part by: Burger Collection
Publication Partner: Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art
Design Partner: 84000communications
Media Partner: House News

The content of this programme does not reflect the views of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

This event is part of Sites of Construction


Shigeko Kubota. "Trip to Korea", 1984. Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.
Shigeko Kubota. "SoHo SoAp/Rain Damage", 1985. Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.
Shigeko Kubota. "Sexual Healing", 1998. Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.
Shigeko Kubota. "April is the Cruelest Month", 1999. Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.
Shigeko Kubota. "Winter in Miami 2005", 2006. Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.
To Let the World In, Volume 1
Dong
4 x 4 - Episodes of Singapore Art
Light and Belief
Herb & Dorothy
From Jean-Paul Sartre to Teresa Teng: Contemporary Cantonese Art in the 1980s
Avant Garde Liberation: The Huang Mingchuan Image Collection of the 1990s
Y.H.A. 30+ Young Hong Kong Artists Dialogue
  
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