LAND VISIONS: In Search of Land Art in Hong Kong

Department: Landscape Architecture
Research Centre: Healthy High Density Cities Lab
Active Dates: November 2014 - May 2016

Principal Investigator: Vincci MAK
Funding body: Hong Kong Arts Development Council, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Division of Landscape Architecture

Abstract

Land Art first started in the United States and Europe in 1960-80s, during a period when the Western world began to question environmental issues. In Asia, we saw the emergence of Land Art starting from 1990s, perhaps also as a reaction to the environmental degradation following the Western society’s footsteps.
From projects such as the Spiral Jetty (1970) by Robert Smithson, Wheatfield – a Confrontation (1982) by Agnes Denes, to the initiative of the Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale (since 1996) in Japan, Land Art projects intend to provoke a new way of understanding our landscape, and generate insights of how we can better conserve our environment in the future.

Being an international city in Asia, Hong Kong has her unique approach in channelling environmental questions through creative work. Many local artists have taken environmental settings in Hong Kong to become their “studios” in creating artworks that integrate with the native landscape, while addressing local environmental issues.
This exhibition aims to look at land-related art projects generated in Hong Kong in the past 10 years, to examine how local environmental issues are discussed through the artists represented here. The lineage of how these local art projects relate to the fundamental qualities and essences of early Land Art will also be explored, both through art forms and artistic approaches that artists from these two generations applied.

The vision of early Land Art is to use site-specific approaches to reflect on land issues and generate ideas. Do we take such physical interaction with the land to define what Land Art is? Do Hong Kong contemporary art projects dealing with land issues share the same vision? Do they reveal the essence of the land, through site-specific approach and physical interaction with the environment ? Are they considered Land Art? And to push the investigation further, do we have Land Art in Hong Kong?
Reviewing the course of Land Art development – from pure artistic explorations to play with natural materials in the landscape when the genre of Land Art emerged in the 60s, to how the Japanese took it as a way to embrace the rural community and to revitalise village living since the late-90s – it s definitely a question worth projecting, to explore how the genre of Land Art has developed in the past decade in Hong Kong, as a way to express our voice to our changing environment, and to respond to our unique rural-urban development context of 21st Century Hong Kong.

Objectives

The goal of this curation is not only to showcase some of the local works of Land Art, but also to link our local endeavours to the global platform and discourse of Land Art.

Results

“LAND VISIONS: In Search of Land Art in Hong Kong” Exhibition, 16 April – 2 May, 2016, 10am-8pm Daily, at Hong Kong Arts Centre Comix Home Base 3-4/F.

Outputs

Vincci Mak. (2016) “LAND VISIONS: In Search of Land Art in Hong Kong” Exhibition Booklet.

Anticipated Impact

It is hoped that this exhibition can bring awareness of Land Art in Hong Kong. A potential symposium on contemporary Land Art development may be collaborated between HKU Division of Landscape Architecture and UCL Slade School of Fine Art in Spring 2017, to continue such research effort.

UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE