Mansudae Art Studio, Pyongyang, North Korea (2014) @ Art Basel 2019 60 cm (H) x 75cm Archival Glossy Inkjet Print, Acrylic Face Mounting
Flash Drives for (Artistic) Freedom: Art Basel Hong Kong (2018)
Animated GIF in a camouflaged flash drive
Founded in 1959, Mansudae Art Studio, Pyongyang, is one of the largest ‘factories’ in art production in the world that is owned by state, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Artworks produced by Mansudae Art Studio, like paintings of realistic depiction or propagandist persuasion of lives and ideology in North Korea, are manufactured, displayed and sold at the gallery attached to the Studio. An art market of its own – operation, economy, worldview, and dream. A photograph of Mansudae Art Studio is now situated at Art Basel Hong Kong 2019, one of the largest art markets in the world.
The work is comprised of two parts: a glossy digital inkjet print displayed at Art Basel Hong Kong 2019, and an animated gif of images of Art Basel Hong Kong 2018 (images gathered by data mining) stored in a camouflaged flash drive awaited to be trafficked to North Korea.
Howard, Danny, Brother Kuen (2018)
at Listen Up?! Exhibition, 1a space, Hong Kong
1520mm (h) x 210mm x 140mm (d) (Set of 2)
Summer 1999, I first visited 1a space at Oil Street, a temporary premise for non-profit and independent art spaces in Hong Kong. I was there for SiXhibition. Howard Chang, my best mate’s brother, was part of the show. Six young architects built a model of 1a space at a scale of 1:1.2 within the physical premise itself. Twenty years passed by, memory fades away. I could only recall the material – wood, lots of wood, and a very narrow corridor. Wood was my first impression of 1a space.
Autumn 2003, as a recent university graduate and an unemployed, Kobe Ho and May Fung included me in Danny Yung’s Tree Man exhibition project. I worked on the publicity and I designed a book. 1a space was, and still is, part of the Cattle Depot family in 2003. I could not think of anything else, but wood and tree, to encapsulate my earliest encounters with 1a space.
October 2018, I went all the way to Dill’s Corner (Kwu Tung), looked for Chi Kee Sawmill & Timber and Brother Kuen, the owner. We went through mountains and mountains of raw tree trunks, and we found a piece of eucalyptus wood. I am told eucalyptus is difficult to work with – it cracks when sawn – as difficult as you and me, I thought. I sanded the wood, tempered the surface. Twenty years of experience in the art world, you and I are tempered, polished. We listen, and we learn from listening.
筆者亦有參考歐美照片歷史文獻，理解瓷相作為影像載體的早期歷史。在 Christopher James 的 The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes 中，作者引述二 十世紀初 Fraprie and Woodbury 的 Photographic Amusements 一書(1905)中一種叫 dusting-on 的方法，和瓷相「上粉」的工序十分相似，並分享一個以先人骨灰 作先人遺像的故事，內容大概是:「家屬圍成一圈跪在地上，各人以雙手拿著已感光的先人遺照之一角，口中含著吸管，溫柔地把濕潤的空氣呼在照片表面，好讓先人的骨灰附在照片上。」方法是真是假在一百年後的今天真是無從稽考，但這故事更讓我們理解瓷相工藝在處 理先人遺照上的歷史脈絡。