Launching today is Paddle8′s In the Gallery|Art HK 12, which will run from May 16th to the 24th, focusing on a select group of galleries participating in this year’s fair and featuring works drawn primarily from each galleries’ booth. In its fifth consecutive year, ArtHK12, will showcase the best of contemporary art from 266 galleries represented by 39 countries against the backdrop of Hong Kong’s epic metropolitan skyline. Conceptual Singaporean artist Heman Chong spoke to Paddle8 about a piece being shown at Wilkinson Gallery at Art HK, as well as his work being shown with Paddle8 gallery Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI):
Paddle8: Can you discuss the political and cultural significance of using Taiwanese currency and the books of Chilean author Roberto Bolano in your project “A Short Story about Money and Fathers (FOR CELR)”?
Heman Chong: In light of this context of how a public exhibition is completely funded by private money, I was interested in developing a piece which at the beginning of the project, a certain amount of money would be visible and can be easily accounted for, and at the end, a representation of a situation where the money would disappear into the hands of many, and would refuse any accountability. A system by which money is distributed freely and by chance. Or lost.
Through a conversation over lunch in New York with a close friend, CELR, we spoke about many things, and one of those things included how CELR is thinking about writing a novel and how the Chilean writer, Roberto Bolaño once mentioned that he stopped writing poetry and switched to fiction writing in order to earn money to support his family. Which just seemed like such a crazy idea to us. But at the same time, why not?
From this, I thought about how to force an association between money and this decision by Bolaño into one sphere, and to somehow inject the idea into a form of randomness and chance. I thought about how literature is circulated freely through public libraries and was wondering what would happen if money would follow the same trajectory. Hence, I decided to hide amounts of 2,000 NT (Taiwanese dollars) into books of Bolaño, creating a situation where money is literally given away, and can be found by chance, by readers of his work.
P8: What would your father advise you to do if you found 2,000 Taiwanese dollars?
HC: I don’t know. Maybe buy everyone dinner? For sure, he’ll tell me not give it to the police. They’ll just buy themselves dinner.
Our latest project features artworks, interviews and video content from artists including Uta Barth, Chantal Joffe, Peter Liversidge, Erianto, and Mathew Sawyer among others. Visit our Paddle8 Tumblr page to see more available artworks, and check out ArtHK12’s website for more visitor information. Also make sure to check out the Paddle8 page of Singapore Tyler Print Institute, which is Chong’s Singaporean gallery.