Traveler’s Notes: San Antonio 2013.5.28–2013.7.14

Pak Sheung Chuen

In Residence: May 21 – Jun 15, 2013

Exhibition: Jul 11 – Sep 15, 2013

What was your artistic process like here in San Antonio?

I have written in the newspaper for almost 10 years. The newspapers are daily recording, writing, and reading that relate to people’s everyday lives. My artwork is very close to this nature. I try to explore my city every day; it becomes one of my habits. Every day I go out, explore, and write. I try to realize and visualize what I think by taking photographs, doing some sort of intervention, or taking a video. I find that this visualization also shows my reader to think my artwork is in their hand. But I am very sure my artwork is in their reaction. When I am meeting with someone, an instant idea comes out. This is the deepest part of my creation, and I focus on that.

How did you determine what ideas and text to put in your gallery?

I record all my ideas into my computer and classify them into different areas such as “religion.” I have a very strong connection to religious practices. Another area is “the body”: how the body can be out of body. And being separated from my family, I feel the need sometimes to work by myself. Also, “the map.” I try to use the map to locate myself. When I don’t have any direction in mind or have nothing to do, I will pick a corner of a map and walk diagonally across it. I tried to make the room like a meditation box. When people go inside, they see text installed that will spark their imagination. I am willing people to copy these sentences and re-write them or write them in their home. Looking at it every day will create interest and significance, and maybe one day it will become a part of them.

What are your feelings toward traveling and your artwork?

Travel is a spiritual practice for me. It relates to the historical background of the pilgrim. Especially when you travel by yourself, you’re very conscious of your body and your involvement. You keep on talking naturally, but this kind of talking is not to someone else—it is to yourself. I try to make myself a more in-tune person. I like silence, and I think it makes me have a stronger sense of security. At the same time, I also put myself in what some may call unsafe situations. I go out at night, and I was told it’s dangerous. But the nighttime is the time I want to travel because the night has temptation.

How has the layout of city of San Antonio affected you?

All my art is based on the human scale and places I can walk, but San Antonio is very big. For example, walking for three hours in Hong Kong, I can see a lot of different things because it is very dense. Here in San Antonio in three hours it is very different because from one hour distance to the next, the city does not have much variation. So I changed my plan and rode a bus to help me get to and from a destination. This allows me a broader area to observe and explore greater differences within the city.


Pak Sheung Chuen

Hong Kong, China

Born in Fujian, China, in 1977, Pak Sheung Chuen immigrated to Hong Kong in 1984. He obtained his BA in Fine Arts and Theology from Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2002. From 2003 to 2007, his work was published in the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao, and has been included in numerous solo exhibitions, including Killing 3000 (2012) at the He Xiangning Art Museum in Shenzhen, China; Hong Kong Diary (2010) at the Hong Kong Museum of Art; Making (Perfect) World in the Hong Kong Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009; and page 22 (2008) at the 58th Street Branch Library in New York. He is the recipient of The Best Artist, Chinese Contemporary Art Awards 2012, Beijing, and the Frieze London Best Stand Prize at the 2012 Frieze Art Fair.

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Hou Hanru

San Francisco, California, USA

Hou Hanru is the curator of the 5th Auckland Triennial which debuts in 2013. Between 2006 and 2012, he held the position of Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). As Director, he conceived and executed exhibition in SFAI’s Walter and McBean galleries. Additionally, he served as the Department Chair of Exhibition and Museum Studies, affording students international expertise and mentorship. In 2005, he collaborated with Hans Ulrich Obrist and Guo Xiaoyan, co-curating the 2nd Guangzho Triennale in his native China. More recently, Hanru curated the 2009 Biennale de Lyon. He is a consultant for several international art institutions that include the Solomon Guggenheim Museum, Deutsche Bank Collection, Global Advisory Committee of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Contemporary Art Museum in Kumamoto, Japan. Equally known for his prolific writing, Hanru is the French Correspondent for Flash Art International and a regular contributor to publications that include Frieze, Art Monthly, Third Text, Art and Asia Pacific, and Atlantica.

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