Poetic Heritage

Date & Time

2 Sep - 21 Nov, 2021 Tue–Sun | 11am–7pm

Location

JC Contemporary

Price

Free of charge

General

Artists:
Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan, Ursula Biemann & Paulo Tavares, Leelee Chan, Leung Mee-ping, Jorge Otero-Pailos, Wan Lai-kuen Annie

Curator: Tam Hok-nang Alex

Presented by Arthas

Poetic Heritage explores the critical and creative relationships between heritage and contemporary art through the works of six artists/artist groups from Hong Kong and beyond. Each of the artists offers insight on the many ways that “heritage” provides a productive lens to engage with contemporary issues, while expanding on the notion of “heritage” itself. In doing so, the exhibition also considers how much power and agency individuals have in determining what is retained and reimagined of our heritage.

Poetic Heritage looks at how discarded objects could be considered “heritage”. Rather than focusing on rare or expensive materials, some of the artists choose to salvage objects that are regarded as neglectable or negligible, prompting discussion about what differentiates art, heritage, and debris—and what is worth preserving. One of the overseas artists in the exhibition, Jorge Otero-Pailos, has suggested that “experimental preservationists carefully guard their freedom to choose objects that might be considered ugly, unsavoury, or unworthy of preservation.” Through their creative practices, artists have the potential to open up a new discourse on heritage-making, providing a more nuanced and pluralistic perspective on what to keep for future generations, and what to let go. By deliberatively salvaging unconventional things that have captured evidence of the past, the artists reveal the untold, forgotten, and neglected stories associated with expanded notions of heritage.

Poetic Heritage also reflects on the notion of identity, which at best may be associated with community and at worst with exclusion. In particular, the expert-driven process of heritage-making, together with limited conceptions of heritage, can end up producing grand narratives that reflect authoritative views and dominant values, while at the same time omitting the rights and voice of Indigenous groups, displaced peoples and minorities. A crucial question is how we may find ways to push beyond the limitations of present practice and explore what future possibilities may exist for heritage-making.

By examining a range of contemporary forms of art and artistic practices, Poetic Heritage not only articulates the diverse connotations of heritage but also offers up an analysis and exploration of how contemporary artists embody a material, dialogical, emotional, and intellectual response to heritage. Heritage conservation thus becomes an active and creative process that generates relatable ideas connected to the contemporary world and our common future, rather than a passive process of simply preserving things from the past.

Poetic Heritage is the result of Tai Kwun Contemporary’s Open Call for curatorial proposals.


Exhibition Views


Jorge Otero-Pailos
The Ethics of Dust: July 22, 2011
2014 Latex, dust
Courtesy of the artist and Sapar Contemporary

Installation view of "Poetic Heritage"
Jorge Otero-Pailos
The Ethics of Dust: July 22, 2011 (Partial)
2014 Latex, dust
Courtesy of the artist and Sapar Contemporary

Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan
Passage III: Project Another Country
2009
Cardboard boxes, wood pallets,
photographs
Courtesy of the artists

Installation view of "Poetic Heritage"

 Leung Mee-ping Sound of Silence
2021 Mixed-media installation
Commissioned by Tai Kwun Contemporary


Installation view of "Poetic Heritage"


Installation view of "Poetic Heritage"


Ursula Biemann Devenir Universidad
2021 Video, photographs 8 mins
Courtesy of the artist


Installation view of "Poetic Heritage"


Ursula Biemann & Paulo Tavares
Forest Law

2014
2-channel video installation, maps,
documents, objects, publication
38 mins
Courtesy of the artists

Installation view of "Poetic Heritage"

Installation view of "Poetic Heritage"
Wan Lai-kuen Annie
Where is My Peaceful Home?
2021 Ceramics, photographs, video
Video by Lam Wing Sze, 4 mins
Commissioned by Tai Kwun Contemporary

Installation view of "Poetic Heritage"
Leelee Chan
Pallet in Repose (Barren Rock)
2021 Used plastic pallets, reclaimed
granite, stainless steel threaded
rod and head nuts, iron structures,
resin, pigment.
Commissioned by Tai Kwun Contemporary
Installation view of "Poetic Heritage"
Installation view of "Poetic Heritage"

Installation view of "Poetic Heritage"