By David Clarke
The publication brings jointly a sequence of essays approximately paintings in Hong Kong written during the last ten years, with the purpose of supplying a private chronicle of the Hong Kong artwork global in the course of a time of significant change.
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Extra info for Art and Place: Essays on Art From a Hong Kong Perspective
Abstract Expressionism: The Triumph of American Painting was the title of Irving Sandler's book of 1970, one of the key texts in the legitimizing of American Abstract Expressionism as the successor to pre-1939 European modernism. For Greenberg'S contribution to this process see for instance his essay '''AmericanType" Painting', Modern Art and Modernism, pp. 93-103. For a critique see D. Clarke, 'The All-Over Image: Meaning in Abstract Art', Journal of American Studies, Winter 1993, pp. 355-75. That recent developments in art have made the formalist model (and the picture of American dominance) harder to sustain should perhaps be noted.
For these reaso ns it is a pa rricu larly apposi te ti me to offer arrists an opporru nity to trear a museum co llection as thei r palette, and a specific museum space as the site to whic h the ir artistic endeavours are directed. Give n thar the Fu ng Ping Shan MUSClllll is prima rily a museum of Ch inese an, Ellgagillg Traditioll offers an added opportu nity: it enables us to see how Hong Kong artists relate to the C hinese heritage. Without prej udging the fo rm that enCounter may take in any pa rr ic ular case, it is this wri ter's obse rvation (made as a n outsider) that lllany Hong Kong people approach that heritage wi th a degree of ambivalence.
Here, as with tourism, the ritual function of photography is quite precisely defined even if it is rarely discussed. The activity of taking family snapshots, placing them in albums and looking through those albums are ways not just of recording family togetherness but of creating that togetherness, a medium through which family life is produced. Photography is an integral part of modern rites of passage, featuring prominently at weddings and graduation ceremonies, for instance. In Hong Kong, if nowhere else, it is very common to see young women being photographed by their boyfriends against scenic backdrops in their best clothes and in poses straight from the pages of a fashion magazine indicating that photography has insinuated itself even into the rituals of courtship.