We have spent years developing alternative connections, seeking out non-commercial art scenes in China. Since Handover in 1997, we have worked with cultural strategist, artist and curator Danny Yung and his organization Zuni (Hong Kong).
It has been a long march to get Canadian media art recognized inside China. In the early 1990’s, Paul was connecting with artists who had no intention of leaving Hong Kong and who stayed to be the cultural activists shaping ‘reunification’. Since 1997 he has participated in several exhibitions, conferences and festivals as an artist and as a curator, and used his position as an exhibiting artist to expand on curatorial exhibiting opportunities for other artists. This has included “Fortune Cookies” (ICA, London 1997), “Danny Yung” (Art Beatus, Vancouver 1998), “Journey To The East” (Hong Kong 1998), “Table and Two Chairs” (Hong Kong 1998) and “Centrifugal Vision: Video Circle” - the ten-city 108 artists video installation presented at the Vancouver Museum in May 2003 and most recently his participation in the Beijing Biennal “In The Line of Flight” in June 2005. He presented digital prints curated by Sara Diamond at the 2nd Beijing Biennal.
We have established these relationships on our own, unlike many of the career curators, the so-called ‘China art experts’ in our community who carefully guard their sources. We have always openly shared information, introducing artists to curators to institutions. We are not interested in the commercial dealer international art market that has in the past decade created the lucrative, and predictable, Chinese avant garde scene. Most of this art is made exclusively for export to Western markets. We are interested in the new now generation of emerging Chinese artists who are making work in and for their real local communities.
Paul met with artists, curators and venues to re/establish old and new contacts, sharpening our focus on new art and artists working in China to create exchange opportunities for Canadian artists to exhibit in China. Paul has strategically used his own exhibiting opportunities to include others into future projects.
We will now use the context of the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 and Vancouver in 2010 to develop a dialogue between our two cities/countries. We will build on our strong ties with Zuni in Hong Kong and Curator David Chan in Shanghai.
We have already located a venue in the 798 District of Beijing - an area of light industrial buildings that has been converted into a thriving arts community. The proposed building houses both a theatre and exhibition studio.