Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
Title: Para/Site: Open Work
Publisher: Centre A
Size: 8 ½ x 6 inches / 21 x 15 cm
Description: Para/Site Art Space, founded by a group of artists in 1996, is the first contemporary art space in Hong Kong devoted to installation art. The exhibition, Para/Site: Open Work, offers a look at some of Para/Site’s projects from the past eight years that have made this artist collective a noteworthy case in the history of artist-run spaces. It stages an opportunity to reassess the identity of Para/Site, not so much as a coherent entity, but rather as a loose set of open book strategies that have always been mindful of the position of the ‘curator-artist’, as well as the role the quotidian plays in the work of artists. Para/Site: Open Work brings together works of art and documentation of past activities with the aim of examining the dialogues among artists with different publics. In the process, it interrogates artistic self-determination, and rethinks the relevance of parallel strategies of exhibition, curatorship and artistic practice. The exhibition at Centre A is presented as an open platform in order to allow visitors to participate actively in interpreting the artistic projects, instead of merely observing their existence. Accessible archival documents in the form of photographs, video and a variety of texts are interspersed with works of installation art that include a coffee shop, an architectural folly, and a walk to the sea. Purposely resisting the “frame”, this mode of display negates the conventional notion that meaning is communicated in an unbroken line from the artist through the work of art to the viewer. Instead Para/Site: Open Work seeks to embrace a variety of readings, inviting the audience’s own interpretive strategies and experiences to create the final meaning of the art space’s social commitment. It is precisely through this critical engagement that Para/Site itself becomes an open work of art.