A very interesting dialogue between Ou Ning (of the Alternative Archive in China) and international curator Hou Hanrou, who made a short visit to Saigon in 2004. On exhibitions, Hou Hanrou says:
Exhibitions first and foremost have to be experimental, and should do their utmost not to repeat things that people have seen before - they should give people a new visual experience. That said, a purely visual experience is not enough, there should be new experiences for the mind and body as a whole. Perhaps the most important element in any successful exhibition is its orientation to a certain time and place, its cultural backdrop, its significance within its locale. For me, an exhibition is a special activity, a special event. It is not simply a matter of taking existing works and hanging or installing them. From the choice of theme, artists, and artworks to the actual realisation of the exhibition itself, all of these things represent a living and breathing process. Contemporary art is not just purely about making works of art. On top of this it also has the possibility of constant continuation, it is a creative process that is always deepening. An exhibition is the equivalent of amplifying or emphasising the development process of a group of artists or a cultural issue, or like showing people a particular moment in time enlarged. At the same time, an exhibition can give artists the opportunity to undertake more experimental work, an opportunity that might not otherwise arise. When I undertake an exhibition, if at all possible I invite many artists to make their works on site. Very seldom do I use their existing works, and on the occasions when I do, I integrate them with the specific locale of the exhibition, re-examining the relationship of the work and the exhibition space, not to mention the relationship of that work to other works and to the local audience.
For the full interview in English please visit:
Ou Ning. Talk Goes on... Interview with Hou Hanru
Posted by on May 16, 2006 2:53 PM | Permalink