Kwan Sheung Chi

Kwan Sheung Chi

Para Site

Wong Wai Yin, His Resting Place, 2006. Courtesy the artist.

September 4, 2014

Kwan Sheung Chi
The 21st Century Undead Coterie of Contemporary Art

6–12 September 2014

Para Site 
4 Po Yan Street
Sheung Wan
Hong Kong

Para Site is pleased to present the solo exhibition The 21st Century Undead Coterie of Contemporary Art by Kwan Sheung Chi, which opens at midnight on September 6 and continues through September 12. This marks the last Para Site exhibition at 4 Po Yan Street before the institution’s relocation to a larger new venue.

During the week of the Undead Coterie, the ground floor façade of Para Site is removed to create an open space that also serves as Kwan’s 24/7 residence. Changing his circadian rhythm to follow those of the living dead, the artist is hosting through the week intimate and informal nightly sessions of open studios, screenings and discussions on topics ranging from Para Site’s history in Hong Kong to the city’s independent art scene and the condition of contemporary artists.

The 21st Century Undead Coterie of Contemporary Art draws inspiration from Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) and its lengthened temporality as opposed to the anxiety-ridden accounting of time in equal and productive units. Employing dark humor and incongruous means, the exhibition examines several issues central to Kwan’s practice such as the growing professionalization of artists in Hong Kong, the role of the artist under such neoliberal circumstances and the commercial value of immaterial labor. The only physical artwork within the space at the start of the project is a single vial of Kwan’s blood, which will be eventually auctioned off for Para Site’s benefit. While open to the process of creating an artwork within the space, Kwan is governed by a set of self-imposed rules pertaining to his living and eating habits. Including abstinence from solid food, alcohol and cigarettes, in addition to the change in his sleeping patterns, these bring to critical light the temporal, immaterial, and physiological labor of artists at a time when commodification of art production is keenly felt in Hong Kong where the art market has been expanding rapidly over the last years.

The 21st Century Undead Coterie of Contemporary Art can be seen as an elaboration on Kwan’s earlier essay The Occupation and Career of the Hong Kong Artist (2002), which was written as an undergraduate reflection paper on the position of artists within the Hong Kong cultural landscape. Paraphrasing eminent artist and Para Site co-founder Tsang Tak Ping, Kwan pointed out that artists should be seen not as mere pawns driven by the vicious cycle of art production for survival but as individuals engaged in intellectual development supported through an ecology that is understanding of non-commercial enterprises. Kwan considers The 21st Century Undead Coterie as a temporary space that emphasizes on the lack of conventional and completed artworks and on the futility of a process that might not produce anything at the end of the seven days. And by using the word coterie, it assumes that all who participate are complicit in this possibility of failure through shared interests. The exhibition is curated by Qinyi Lim.

Kwan Sheung Chi (b. 1980, Hong Kong) received third class Honors in Fine Art from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in 2003 and failed to qualify for the Master of Fine Art programme at CUHK in 2004 and 2007. Kwan was a founding member of the local arts groups Hong Kong Art Discovery Channel (HKADC), hk PARTg (Political Art Group) and Woofer Ten. In 2009, he was awarded the Starr Foundation Fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council and was the winner of the inaugural Hugo Boss Asia Art Prize in 2013. Kwan’s artworks have not been widely exhibited around the world, and he has never participated in any major exhibitions held internationally.

Para Site Art Space is financially supported by the Springboard Grant under the Arts Capacity Development Funding Scheme of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

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

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September 4, 2014

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