17 Jan – 10 March 2021
K11 Musea, 6F, Art & Culture Centre, Hong Kong
K11 Art Foundation and Q Contemporary is delighted to co-present ‘Tracing the Fragments’, a collaborative collection of prominent works of Central Eastern European and Chinese contemporary art that share great similarities among the differences they exhibit. The works selected explore the idea of timescape, as well as the formation and interpretation of memories.
Similar to how James Joyce has built a massive intellectual construction based on fragments, each work represents a fragment of personal experiences that can be interpreted as part of a broader collective memory with historical significance, forming dialogues with each other and filling in the void in each other’s accounts.
The geopolitical situation in Central Eastern Europe was similar to that of China in the second half of the 20th century. The elder generations were continuously revisiting their artistic language and found solution to express their will for freedom in the visual arts. Examples were shown in the rapid and varied development of the abstract form, conceptual art and tradition of geometry. Travel restrictions hindered yet also enabled certain artists to study and work abroad for a prolonged period of time, and such experiences of living a broad has profoundly impacted their artistic practice. Later these avant-garde and underground artists became the mainstream; they initiated artistic discourse with younger artists and helped them find their own visual language. Younger generations of artists found themselves reacting to the inheritance of the socialist era, with some artist still living under uncertain geopolitical conditions, and others developing strong painterly tradition.
To complete the narrative in the showcase, works selected by K11 Art Foundation document, explore and trace the formation of memories and historical narratives. In the second half of the 20th century when artists were confronted by a world of constant flux, art became a means of recording their personal experiences and their understanding of the wider geopolitical context that enabled such artistic creations.
Some of the works document the artists’ personal journey of experimentation in the age of new media, digitalization and creative technology; some works deliberately manipulate the documentary and the fictional, forming an experimental dialogue with the audience to create their very own personal story; other works explore how fragmented journeys, images and sound elements can be deployed to convey how time and memories are perceived and remembered.
This showcase is a cornerstone to create the very first comprehensive presentation of Central Eastern European art in Hong Kong and to create dialogues with other cultures. It is only through examining and piecing together scattered fragments that one is able to fill the void of multiple and layered perspectives and narratives – the process of mapping the hidden landscape of art. In this ever-changing global environment that we live in, the stability and accountability of memory and history is often challenged, and perhaps art offers an alternative and grounded perspective to understand our past, and opens the window to an answer to the future.
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