Feigned Innocence. We All Look

Simon Birch, Julia Burns, Eva Chan, Fanny Cheuk, Christopher Cheung, Matina Cheung, Siu Chong, Almond Chu, Henry Chu, Silas Fong, Norman Ford, Laleeskin, Jonathan Hoi Yat Leung, Manu Luksch, Christian Niccoli, Steven Schkolne, Sinsong, Samuel Adam Swope, The Surveillance Camera Players, Yangachi

May 30 – Jun 28, 2009

Curated by Evangelo Costadimas Cathy Lam Hoi Sin Iris Lo Nana Seo

Para Site Art Space is honoured to present the exhibition Feigned Innocence: We All Look. This exhibition is curated by the students of the 08/09 Para Site Art Space - Hong Kong Jockey Club Curatorial Training Programme. The exhibition explores the idea of looking versus being looked at. The give and take between the watcher and the watched, the loss and gain of control in an interplay of power and desire. Each of the four curators will present a story in one of four self-contained rooms that comment on and raise questions about prescribed ways of visual conduct. They are stories that tread on the very fine lines between curiosity and spying, between the observer and the voyeur, between spectating and inspecting, between desiring and lusting.

The exhibition will feature work by twenty artists from Australia, China, Hong Kong, Germany, Korea, UK and USA, working in a variety of media including painting, photography, video and installation. The point of departure for the exhibition theme is “the gaze” which is a recurrent topic of discussion in visual culture and has been the subject of a significant number of writings in art history, psychoanalysis and critical theory. The exhibition analyzes the forms and effects of the gaze as social constructs defined by the relation of the viewer and the subject. The exhibition set-up is divided in four distinctive areas that are interlinked thematically under the common concept of “the gaze”. Each of the four curators will present a sub-theme in one of four rooms in the gallery. The Enigma of Phallus is the title of the first of these rooms, Lam Hoi Sin explains that “The visual form of the phallus or the physical male body is not manipulated and discussed as often as the female body, especially with regards to objectification. By seeing and focusing on the male body, we review our perception and existing notions of gender identities”. Curator Iris Lo works on the idea of the self-completion through the gaze, with a section that has the title of Desire. The works explore how lonely urban males and females search for self-identification and satisfaction through interpersonal gaze and the mirror gaze. The other eyes: Intruder – Stalker is the room curated by Nana Eun-A Seo, as the curator explains “in modern society, the idea of "watching/looking" does no longer only mean we are passively sensing or collecting visual information, seeing is now becoming an agent and a reason for our actions”. La Voyeuse is the last section of the exhibition and is curated by Evangelo Costadimas. It aims to challenge old stereotypes such as the commonly held perception that voyeurs are always male and controlling and that their subjects are always female and helpless. Are women not curious and just as likely to peep through a keyhole as men are? Through careful selection and arrangement of artworks, the presentation delves into a melange of notions relating to the gaze and voyeurism by suggesting alternate takes on prototypal scenarios such as what happens to the voyeur when the sudden awareness of also being watched sinks in, and can mutual satisfaction result in an opportune symbiosis between the roles of the voyeur and the exhibitionist?

Para Site Art Space - Hong Kong Jockey Club Curatorial Training Programme is funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. The exhibition is supported by Osage Gallery and Hong Kong Arts Development Council.

Public Programme: Panel discussion on Saturday 30 May, at 3 pm at Osage Kwun Tong. With the participation of exhibition curators Evangelo Costadimas, Lam Hoi Sin, Iris Lo, Nana Eun-A Seo and Programme Leader Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya.

ABOUT Para Site Art Space - Hong Kong Jockey Club Curatorial Training Programme:

Para Site Art Space - Hong Kong Jockey Club Curatorial Training Programme is an eight month full-time programme for training Hong Kong’s future curators through a series of workshops with leading international professionals and lectures with tutors, plus a field trip. Previous years participants visited Venice Biennale, Yokohama Triennale, Lyon Biennial, and Taipei Biennial, among others.

The course discusses how art is being curated under various particular spatial, exhibition frameworks and the different roles an institutional and a freelance curator play in the contemporary art world, bridging general concepts, themes and theoretical issues to explore the way we look at art in the context of contemporary society and culture. The participants will develop the necessary professional skills to develop their curatorial and arts management careers.