We are delighted to announce the opening of Dismantling the Scaffold, the inaugural exhibition at Tai Kwun Contemporary, presented by Spring Workshop. Curated by Christina Li, Dismantling the Scaffold draws attention to Tai Kwun’s historical function as Central Police Station, Victoria Prison and Central Magistracy, a site now transformed into a new permanent cultural institution and heritage site in Hong Kong.
The first show in one of two new buildings designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the exhibition brings together works from artists and collectives from Hong Kong and abroad who engage with the social and civil structures we collectively inhabit. They
include Nadim Abbas, Erkka Nissinen, Magdalen Wong, Big Tail Elephant, Chen Shaoxiong, Luke Ching Chin Wai, Tiffany Chung, Claire Fontaine, Kwan Sheung Chi, Wong Wai Yin, Bing Lee, Leung Chi Wo + Sara Wong, Liang Juhui, Lin Yilin, Roman Ondak, LH02 (Pak Sheung Chuen, Jaffe.T, Cathy Tsang, Grace Gut, Siumou Chow), PolyLester, Jhafis Quintero, Superflex and Jens Haaning, Koki Tanaka, Ulay / Marina Abramović, Bik Van der Pol, Yvonne Dröge Wendel, Xijing Men, Xu Tan.
This collaboration between Spring and Tai Kwun Contemporary has grown out of an auspicious convergence of timing. This show was developed over two years as Spring Workshop’s final exhibition before it began a planned hiatus earlier this year following five years of collaborating with non-profit organisations and artists around the world, just as Tai Kwun Contemporary undertakes its first collaboration as a new cultural hub.
Spring Workshop founder Mimi Brown says: “What we offer with this show, as a parting gesture from Spring, is a snapshot of the strength inherent to collaboration, a picture of what blooms from years of dialogue, exchange and communal effort. Together with Tai Kwun Contemporary, we aim to present the power that art has to open conversations, to make voices heard, and to bring us closer to recognising our positions in the collective present. We would like to thank Tai Kwun Contemporary and the Jockey Club for the opportunity to present these artworks, and hope they provide glimmers of insight into the radiant diversity of perspectives in our shared world.”
Curator Christina Li writes: “The artistic positions in Dismantling the Scaffold aim to open up insights and questions that examine established conventions that condition how we navigate and give shape to our everyday lives. The two major keystones in the exhibition concept are a) the site’s history, and b) the idea of collaboration: the unique background of the site of the former Central Police Station compound—as a police station, magistracy, and prison in the past—as well as the collaboration of two contemporary art organizations at a convergence in their timelines—the beginning of Tai Kwun Contemporary and the planned hibernation of Spring Workshop after its 5-year run.”
“The ‘scaffold’—the main motif for the exhibition—is commonly understood as a temporary support structure deployed while a building is being constructed or repaired. In its lesser-known usage, a scaffold refers to a construction historically used to stage public punishments. Dismantling the Scaffold intertwines these two meanings, and the array of artworks on show offer poignant reflections of the invisible and visible structures that organise our daily existence. These artistic manifestations grapple with a range of issues around collaboration, historical amnesia, identity politics, and individual autonomy. As a whole, the exhibition offers multiple interpretations to aspects of everyday structures that underpin our reality as human beings in contemporary civil society.”