One Degree of Separation explores the role that social connections and artistic interconnections play in the practice of a group of artists from Hong Kong. The exhibition focuses not just on individual works of art but subtly draws attention to manifold interconnections between them, in a way that mirrors how the artists themselves relate to each other in their everyday lives, through shared concerns and working practices.
The art scene in Hong Kong is very small. Most of the artists graduated from the Fine Art Department of the Chinese University, Hong Kong. With an intake of only 22 students per year there are no strangers within this circle. Since 2002 graduates have been renting empty factory units in Fotan, in the New Territories, Hong Kong. There are now over 100 artists' studios in the area. With artists studying and making work in such a close-knit environment there is inevitably a great awareness and understanding of each other's work but beyond this there are similar interests, collaborations, participation in and the referencing of each other's work.
Luke Ching and Lee Kit collaborated on a picnic in front of the entrance of a huge shopping mall, Times Square, Hong Kong, to fight for the right to use public space. The event was initiated by Luke Ching in response to the newly announced definition of 'public space' by a government official and the picnic was hosted by Lee Kit on his hand-painted cloth. Seven artists from Hong Kong joined the picnic. Pak Sheung Chuen and Luke Ching have both been regular columnists for a daily newspaper in Hong Kong, Ming Pao, using the paper as a platform for their ideas around social issues. Between 2006 and 2007, Kwan and Wong collaborated on creating a series of photographs that referenced the photographs of Jackson Pollack and Lee Krasner taken by Hans Namuth.
Curated by Ying Kwok, Chinese Arts Centre's curator, who herself studied on the Fine Art programme at the Chinese University, Hong Kong, One Degree of Separation provides an insider's point of view of the intimacy of the Hong Kong arts scene.
Special thanks go to the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, London for their support without which the exhibition would not have been possible.