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Week 16 (23/1/23-27/1/23) "No art, no artists, but only artworks"

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

Let me try to tell a joke:

"People make artwork, because people make art work, because art works" (Chung, 2023).


Often now people find it harder and harder to understand art, especially contemporary fine art, as if it is to be understood.

Why is ______ _______? What does it mean?

In the critical perspective essay, I used the funniest "artwork" I have even known as an example: Take The Money And Run (2021) by Jens Haaning. He did it as a protest. We understand that now, but in the future years to come, what is left in this legacy would become nothing, when the context changed and no longer fit for that society.

Screenshot of my essay

And also, bear with me, to have a look at a Hong Kong artist, Luke Ching Chin Wai, to further comprehend my realisation.

It might be appropriate to regard him as a conceptual artist, whereas what he does is very hard to be considered art and when he does his things, he did not do them as an artist (art and artist here is only according to dictionaries or the usual conception). During undergraduate at the school of journalism and communication at CUHK, my photography teacher introduced him to the class with his identity cards. What's so special about these is that his mouth is open, because supposedly open mouth is not "permitted" for ID photos, but he did that anyway.

Nothing can stop him from being so extraordinary and legendary. In recent years, he was employed as a security staff in a building, a janitor at the railway station, and a shopkeeper at the popular Japanese supermarket Dondondonki's branches in Hong Kong. While he is "not" or "more" than an artist, he would fight for improvement in working conditions and working hours for those people in the job positions he has been in.

Back at what contemporary art is trying to do, is essentially everyone with a good will is trying to change the world and make it a better place, and thus artists must be trying to achieve the same. The irony is just when artists try too hard to put the focus on the society, there is no time or space for the art thus art is reduced to "nothing". Yet, there is no right or wrong to it. If art has, since time began and until time ends, any sacrosanct purposes, it would be: to awaken humans' ability to appreciate anything without any reason, as if they are babies. Art is the manifestation of the fate of mankind at the end of the day.

So, why can't one just be simply happy about one good thing happening, even if it is the only joy-able thing and just be happy about that single thing. And that's exactly how the reality looks like right now. Speaking as a Hongkonger, I found a reason to be a good person, even though everyone is sinking sorrow, everyone does emit the weakest light in the ominous darkness.

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