[Short Intro /短介]

Art sales as well as galleries are seemingly blooming in Hong Kong for the moment. Under this climate, the newly founded Blue Lotus Gallery is boldly taking its lead, as it stages the exhibition "FAIR ENOUGH", bringing to the forefront the sensitive issue of value in art making and art consumption, via playful and challenging works by five Hong Kong artists.

在香港,藝術市場的銷情近年愈況受人注目,不但畫廊四處冒現,藝術投資、拍賣也成為了城中熱話。這發展對於香港藝圈而言,一如「伙炭」,也算是一種新鮮事態。在火炭開張不久的Blue Lotus Gallery決定在這一時刻,借主題式之策展,把藝術生態中極為敏感的價值問題放到展覽前臺來,透過藝術家們高度自覺的審思,讓觀眾們幽默領會其在此生態中的處境。


[Full Introduction /介紹論述]

Art fairs and auctions fetching record-high prices have recently raised many Hongkongers' eyebrows. Art sales as well as galleries are seemingly blooming, and art as an investment has definitely become a hot topic in town. For local Hong Kong art, it had not been happening for some while, and is quite a phenomenon. Under this climate, Blue Lotus Gallery is boldly taking its lead in the local art scene, as it prepares to stage an exhibition titled "FAIR ENOUGH", bringing to the forefront the sensitive issue of value in art making and art consumption, via playful and challenging works by five Hong Kong artists.

“Fotanian” is an annual event held in the little town of Fotan, outside Sha Tin, where about 100 artists work in unused industrial spaces, opening their studios to public for consecutive weekends. Since 2003, Fotanian is annually bigger in scale, and this is the first year participation for Blue Lotus Gallery (opened in Oct, 2007). The present show "FAIR ENOUGH" will open coincident with the Fotanian annual open day function. A promotional counter will be setup for the first weekend and performances will be conducted too. A full-blown exhibition will be held within the gallery for the second week of the Fotanian, and lasting till the 17th February.

"FAIR ENOUGH" was chosen as the title of the exhibition because it can be read as both a playful reply to the art fair fever, while by itself, it signifies an agreeable experience of lively exchange. It will include five thoughtful and interesting artists, namely Leung Mee Ping, Joel Lam, Luke Ching, Law Man Lok and Doris Wong. The artists are from different backgrounds, and having various ties with the Fotanian. Their works will range from painting, mixed media, film, video, to installation and performance. Guest curator Jaspar K.W. Lau grouped them together, for despite their diverse forms, they are all attentive to the issue of value in art in their different ways. What they all commonly share is a playful flipping strategy, between being art works for sell and being reflective to such a context.

"FAIR ENOUGH" is much like a coin with two different sides. On the one side, it is presented by a newly founded gallery, a space that known as a marketplace of art. On the other side, the gallery fosters an exhibition that tries to address critically the question of value in art from within this specific context of the Fotan artists' studios cluster. By playing with the presentation and the general expectation of the gallery-goers, artists contribute their reflectivity towards the subject, right from the production end to the final accomplishing of their own artworks, via the participation of the audiences.

The exhibition is not a show one-sidedly sceptical about the relationship between art and money, or wanting to condemn the commodity status of an artwork as alienation. However, contra to the local development of mall art or in response to museum as supermarkets, "FAIR ENOUGH" is more a lively play with high-end art in a real gallery space. It is more an articulated interpenetration, the appropriation of one language for the other, a commodification of an anti-commercialised act, alongside a kind of commercial aestheticization. This synergy of humour and criticality is of course, paradoxically, almost a kind of token (currency) for the present generation of contemporary art to succeed.

In many ways, "FAIR ENOUGH" is an advanced look at the logic of art making, characterized by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu as the "inversed logic" of the cultural production field. It demonstrates how art and creativity could become the ultimate "value enhancer", challenging the Marxist understanding of "surplus value" and labour exploitation. As a playful addressal of the complex issue of value in the art field today, the exhibition is really after an ambivalence that actually opens up more possibilities in our understanding of values within and beyond contemporary art practices.

For an alternative reading, able to pronounce, "the market is never fair, and we are having enough of it" from within a gallery show, was this itself not a "fair enough" deal?


「伙炭」是鄰近沙田、位於火炭工業村中,近乎百位藝術家們每年度一次(接連雙周末)把工作室群對外開放的展覽活動。從二OO三年起,「伙炭」的規模不斷擴大,去年十月份開張的畫廊Blue Lotus Gallery,今年將是首次參與「伙炭」。這次展覽取名Fair Enough,中文標題「展銷藝術」表面貌似展覽是為了要促銷藝術,題旨實質是帶出一批關注「展銷」課題的藝術。標題中這雙向的浮動意義,無疑正是展覽希望帶出的一種觀賞維度。

Fair Enough展覽包括有五位香港藝術家,程展緯、林健雄、羅文樂、梁美萍、黃慧妍。藝術家們本地或海外進修的背景各異,跟火炭藝術村的關係也親疏有別。客席策展人把他們召集起來共同展出,是因他們都不約而同對於本地藝術場域中的價值問題有所關注,並不單能把他們的觀察放到藝術的創作上來呈現或應用,也能夠對這次展覽的內部(畫廊)與外部(藝圈)脈絡,合而提供富意義的多角度思考。

Fair Enough展覽猶如一幣兩面的錢幣般,一方面它是在一個位於火炭藝術工作室群間的畫廊中發生,而畫廊本來就是一個藝術品的交易場所;但另一方面,這是一個由畫廊一手促成,讓策展人、藝術家們以及觀者們也能對藝術中的價值議題作批判性審思的展覽情境,無疑是個對各方面也有趣的冒險實驗。

Fair Enough不是要單面向的質疑藝術和商業的混結,又或批判藝術品變成了商品的異化。相反地,正是反商業的商品化,商品的美學化,產生出值得思索的空間及語言。Fair Enough欲把具自我反省能力的當代藝術,真實地在畫廊展銷,跳出當下「商場藝術」或「博物館淪超市」的同質化,讓作品介入於藝術和價值的議題的當下情境,開拓另一種作品類型。

至於這種以幽默帶出批判的協同策略,某程度上而言,正是在當代藝術體系中要成功或流行的一種程式(價值取態)。在對於自身價值認受的一種曖昧遊戲中,Fair Enough希望能為我們開啟出更多樣性對於價值的理解和想像,這不論對於當代藝術的自我理解,又或藝術場域以外的生活世界都同樣受用。換一角度想,市場的交易若從來也非真正的公平,透過藝術市場反照這一點,這未嘗不是也算頗公平的一宗交易吧?

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