[Text materials / First version]

When Fotanian is an Art Fair.

Suggested Artists / Suggested Works:

Luke Ching Chin Wai / Folk Art Series: Cockroach (Object/Video)
Joel Lam / All Code Express (DVD)
Law Man Lok / When June 4th is an art fair (Video Clip)
Leung Mee Ping / Made in Hong Kong / Shenzhen (Paintings/Video)
Doris Wong Wai Yin / Fire! (Photographs)

Even the bourgeois conception of art reifies the work (via the market) on the one hand, on the other, judges it (via the aesthetic) for the way it manifests this faculty of producing value ...
Creativity is to the cultural field what labor power is to the field of political economy. ... With Beuys, that is why the translation attempted here is so easy – the two fields precisely overlap – and this is what signals to us that their dialectic is over.

- Thierry de Duve

The title of the show borrows the title of the video work [>LML] “When June 4th is an art fair” by Law Man Lok. In the video, the marketing strategy of the art making by Law Man Lok were being discussed by two onlookers, not without reservation. But of course, the meta-commentary is the ultimate artist’s strategy, and the video the true artwork. The piece exemplifies well the intent of this exhibition, a playful addressal to value in art.

Recently, the art scene in Hong Kong seems to be on the move. The feverish art market is perhaps the most obvious sign to it. As a coin with its two sides (hopefully also a razor sharp edge), this exhibition tries to reflect upon the emerging synergy at the moment. One the one side, it is presented by a newly founded gallery within Fotan, as part of the high-profile “Fotanian” programme, which is by itself a phenomenon. On the other side, the exhibition tries to address critically to the question of value in art, as an intervention happening in amongst / from within the exhibiting context.

Via exhibiting artworks in a contrasting setting (art fair booths and a pirate DVD store), the show intends to reveal the contradictions of this “synergy” at work. The split framework, is somewhat a deliberate response to the mediocre compromise of the many recent mall art shows, or the Heritage Museum dressing down itself as the Mega-Store, plus the general replacement of public affordable fixed price artsupermarket by auctions for much more well off collectors held by Art Spaces. In order to awaken the deaden dialectics, we do not mind setting off a blazing fire here or there. [>WWY]

The show is however not just about art and money (the relationship between artistic value and monetary value / commercial pricing). It is more a play with high-end art, an advanced look at the logic of art making, the “inversed logic” of cultural production (Pierre Bourdieu), with art and creativity become the ultimate value enhancer (T.de Duve), turning even non-art to art, opening up the classical Marxist paradigm of labour work creating value. [>CCW, LTP]

It is not just touching on the status of an artwork as commodity, but its commodification (re-)presentation, being consciously played out as a kind of contemporary art making strategy (since Duchamp, Warhol etc.). How, in the extreme, the “promo” could be the “real” art work itself (and vice versa). [>LML, LTP] Or at the other end, how pirate DVD being the only affordable channel for accessing high art cinema, and it took an art film to put that into a statement. [>JL] How the contemporary artist unlearn her art to learn to paint in a trade paintings “factory”. [>LMP]

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