Myth Makers – Spectrosynthesis III
Dates : 24 December 2022 – 10 April 2023
Venue : JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun, Hong Kong
Curators : Inti Guerrero & Chantal Wong
Opening Hours : Tuesday-Sunday 11:00-19:00
Tai Kwun’s social distancing measures comply with the latest safety regulations. For more information, please visit Tai Kwun’s website.
About the Exhibition
As one of the first major exhibitions on LGBTQ+ perspectives in Hong Kong, Myth Makers circles around the core notion of “queer mythologies”. At the same time, the exhibition explores contemporary mythologies and practices of the body by gathering a diverse range of artistic idioms related to LGBTQ+ perspectives from over 50 artists from Asia and its diasporas. Curated by Inti Guerrero and Chantal Wong, and presented by Tai Kwun and Sunpride Foundation, Myth Makers includes over 100 artworks in all Tai Kwun Contemporary galleries, with one third of the works loaned from Sunpride’s collection; the exhibition furthermore includes a publication collaboration with Queer Reads Library. Myth Makers— Spectrosynthesis III also expands on the “Spectrosynthesis” series from Taipei, Bangkok, and now Hong Kong.
Myth Makers draws inspiration from artists addressing “queer mythologies”, who highlight either same-sex love and desire or gender fluidity as found in ancient belief systems and traditions in Asia. The exhibition also foregrounds the “new traditions” of our times, of spectacle and celebrity, playful and/or transgressive, along with non-normative bodily practices and histories in artworks by contemporary artists. The exhibition unfolds through three distinctive chapters and encompasses more than 100 works, which include new productions, historical works from the 1950s to the 1990s, and artworks on loan from the collection of the Sunpride Foundation. In bringing together such a plethora of artistic perspectives and vocabularies, Myth Makers endeavours to present a multiplicity of conversations, representations, and anti-representations of stories, individuals and communities. While the bulk of the exhibition focuses on living artists, some visionary and transformative figures of the past will also be underscored, including artists who lived in times when present-day LGBTQ+ identifications were not possible.
Chapter 1 Queer Mythologies: On and Off the Stage
“Queer Mythologies: On and Off the Stage” brings together artists who evoke mythological figures, creation stories, and traditions based on homoeroticism, androgyny, cross-dressing, and gender ambiguity. In doing so, they probe the possibilities of “queering” dominant cultural values—including religion—and highlight queer mythological representations that already exist in traditions across Asia. In counterpoint, other artists playfully unpack idol veneration in contemporary celebrity culture, a mass cultural formation with a significant role in weaving contemporary mythologies, which bind collective identities across the continent.
Chapter 2 Body Politics: Criminalisation, Control, and Counter-Narratives
“Body Politics: Criminalisation, Control, and Counter-Narratives” is firmly weighed down by the violence of history, delving into body politics, power, control, and criminalisation. Such themes moreover reflect the historic location of F Hall: originally a government printing shop, F Hall was later turned into a reception and fingerprinting office with remand cells as well as visitation booths. The physical venue thus offers a historical prism through which to engage the curatorial theme.
Chapter 3 Queer Futurities: Dematerialisation, Transformation, and New Vocabularies
“Queer Futurities: Dematerialisation, Transformation, and New Vocabularies” presents a darkness that suggests without revealing, for obscurity brings a sense of freedom, self- determination, and disinhibition. The body alludes and is alluded to, forming a ground for exploration and potentiality. By darkening the gallery space, the body is removed from sight, opening up the possibility for new meanings and horizons; at the same time, one moves away from a notion of the body as stable—in the imagination of Eurocentric science and medicine—or as sacred, as taught by different religions. On the contrary, the body is reconceived as a site of transformation and potentiality, made up of cells, atoms, organs: a site that can be disassembled, re-designed, and morphed. It is not a limit but a ground to be reclaimed.
Bunny Cadag, Oscar Chan Yik Long, Shu Lea Cheang, Christopher Cheung, Isaac Chong Wai, Club Ate (Justin Shoulder & Bhenji Ra), Roy Dib, Jes Fan, Chitra Ganesh, Sadao Hasegawa, Fan Chon Hoo, Hosoe Eikoh, Hou Chun-Ming, Yuen Hsieh, Andrew Thomas Huang, Bones Tan Jones, Siren Eun Young Jung, Bhupen Khakhar, Jiaming Liao, Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho, Zihan Loo, Ly Tran Quynh Giang, Zoe Marden & Sonia Wong Yuk Ying, Josef Ng, Patrick Ng Kah Onn, Alfonso Ossorio, Beatrix Pang, Ellen Pau, Sornchai Phongsa, Khairullah Rahim, Ren Hang, Anne Samat, Josh Serafin, Tejal Shah, Shang Liang, Raqib Shaw, Sin Wai Kin, Sputniko, Ho Tam, Hiram To, Kwong Chi Tseng, Virtue Village, Danh Vō, Wang Shui, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Ka Ying Wong, Martin Wong, Wu Jiaru, Xiyadie, Maru Yacco, Yau Ching, Trevor Yeung, Alex Yiu & Kei Ying Wong, Kohei Yoshiyuki, Samson Young, Zheng Bo, Bruno Zhu
About the Curators
Independent curator and art historian, Inti Guerrero has curated exhibitions across Asia, Europe, and Latin America. He was the artistic Director of bap – bellas artes projects in the Philippines (2018–2022), the Estrellita B. Brodsky Adjunct Curator at Tate, London (2016– 2020), curator of the 38th EVA International, Limerick (2018) and Artistic Director of TEOR/éTica, San Jose. He has also curated or co-curated the exhibitions: “Institute for Tropical and Galactical Studies” in Yokohama Triennale 2020, Yokohama Museum of Art; “Ming Wong. Your Special Island” at the CCP Cultural Center of the Philippines, Manila (2019); “Soil and Stones, Souls and Songs” (touring at MCAD, Manila, Para Site, Hong Kong, and Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok, 2016–2017); “Udlot-Udlot: on Jose Maceda” at Asia Art Archive (2016); “Afterwork” (touring at Para Site, Hong Kong; and ILHAM, Kuala Lumpur, 2016–2017); “A Journal of the Plague Year” (touring at Para Site, Hong Kong; The Cube, Taipei; Arko Art Center, Seoul; and Kadist Art Foundation and The Lab, San Francisco; 2013–2015). He has edited and contributed his writing to numerous books, magazines, and exhibition catalogues and has taught and lectured at different universities, art academies, and institutions across the world. Recently, he was named co- Artistic Director of the upcoming 24th Biennale of Sydney (2024).
Co-founder of three charities in Hong Kong: Things That Can Happen, an art space set up to connect art to the socio-political context of the city; Learning Together, empowering refugee and asylum seeker youth to take on leadership through access to education, scholarships, and leadership training; and Women’s Festival, a platform promoting gender awareness and equality through public discourse. She is a Ford Global Fellow, a global community working to combat inequality brought together by the Ford Foundation. From 2017 to 2021 she was the founding director of culture at Eaton in Hong Kong, a purpose-driven hospitality brand where she led a culture and programming team to transform the property into a champion for creativity, artistic experimentation and safe- space for intersectional communities, in particular those who have been historically marginalised, and activists. Prior to this she worked with Asia Art Archive, a research centre and archive of modern and contemporary art from Asia as head of strategy helping to build up an invaluable resource for the (re)writing of histories with post-colonial perspectives from the region.
About Tai Kwun
Tai Kwun is Hong Kong’s Centre for Heritage and Arts — a cultural destination for inspiration, stimulation and enjoyment. We aspire to offer the best heritage and arts experiences, and to cultivate knowledge and appreciation of contemporary art, performing arts and history in the community.
Tai Kwun invites all visitors on a journey of discovery that unites across multiple genres of arts, heritage, culture and lifestyle in Hong Kong. Here, visitors will discover the rich heritage of the site through the thematic exhibitions and immersive public programmes that explore Hong Kong’s history and culture, alongside a multitude of vibrant and inclusive contemporary art presentations and performing arts offerings all year round.
Opened in May 2018 and operating on a not-for-profit model, Tai Kwun is the fruition of a joint partnership between The Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Government of the HKSAR to conserve and revitalise the buildings of the historic Central Police Station compound, which represents one of the most significant revitalisation projects in Hong Kong. The site comprises three Declared Monuments of Hong Kong – the former Central Police Station, Central Magistracy and Victoria Prison – all have been meticulously conserved, with unfailing attention to authenticity. The site also includes two new buildings – JC Contemporary and JC Cube, by renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron – and several outdoor spaces – Parade Ground, Prison Yard and Laundry Steps – providing an exciting venue for the public programmes presented by Tai Kwun and its partners.
Tai Kwun, which means “big station” in Chinese, is the colloquial name used by Hong Kong people to refer to the former police headquarters and the surrounding compound. The name has been adopted as a reminder of the historical importance of this living heritage site.
In 2019, Tai Kwun received the Award of Excellence in the 2019 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. This is the highest honour of the prestigious Awards, which bestows an international recognition of the outstanding achievement in the conservation and revitalisation efforts of Tai Kwun.
Tai Kwun Contemporary is the not-for-profit visual art programme of Tai Kwun. Realising six to eight exhibitions a year and curatorially driven, Tai Kwun Contemporary showcases and commissions artists from Hong Kong and beyond, while offering an extensive range of public programming. With the aspiration to contribute to and transform the experience and understanding of contemporary art in Hong Kong, Tai Kwun Contemporary is devoted to inspiring the Hong Kong public with an inquisitive attitude and committed to offering a conducive platform for learning and experimentation.
South China Morning Post – LGBTQ art exhibition at Tai Kwun Contemporary in Hong Kong a celebration of Asian queer identity, by Enid Tsui, 30 Dec 2022
LifeStyle Journal, HKEJ – 同志回家去, by 何兆彬, 12 Jan 2023
Zolima CityMag – Hong Kong’s Queer Evolution: Patrick Sun Brings LGBTQ+ Art to Tai Kwun, by Oliver Giles, 13 Jan 2023
The Culturist 文化者 – 始於神話 終於未來 大館舉辦香港最大型 LGBTQ+ 藝術展「神話製造者」, by 鄭思珩, 25 Jan 2023