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Ink in Movement: Silke Schmickl on the Transferring Picture

Ink in Movement: Silke Schmickl on the Transferring Picture

Fusing ink art with moving image, Silke Schmickl – Chanel Lead Curator of Moving Image at M+ Museum – explores an ancient Chinese concept through the establishment’s latest exhibition, Shanshui: Echoes and Signals.

I came to Hong Kong to join M+ three years ago and have always been a fan of the city and the important work the museum has been doing, even before its opening in November 2021. It was my interest in interdisciplinary practice and cross-regional projects that brought me here and I’m glad to contribute my international experience and networks to M+ and the West Kowloon Cultural District. Hong Kong’s art scene is vibrant and exciting with a good mix of institutions, galleries and independent spaces. It’s an interesting time to be here, as the scene forges new regional alliances and continues to be an important international city for the arts. 

The Moving Image is one of the most exciting media of our time. Creators from various backgrounds, from filmmakers and artists to designers and practice-based researchers, make innovative use of the medium to share their stories and experiences of this world. Because of the digitalisation of society, it’s also an everyday medium that’s accessible to anyone and feels familiar. 

The field also offers a wide range of expressions in form and content, from narrative, documentary to abstract works, and their presentation in single-channel or multi-channel formats, and increasingly immersive installations. Artists’ inventiveness seems unlimited, and it’s exciting to welcome their ideas at M+, where we have an amazing infrastructure with multiple screens and galleries to work with. I’m particularly interested in time as a material for artmaking and the moving image, together with sound and performative art forms, is part of this exciting field. 

The exhibition’s initial premise was to bring together our exceptional holdings in ink art and moving image, two art genres that share a particular relationship to time, space and spirituality. The proposal evolved very quickly, as we found striking connections with sculptures, paintings, prints, design object, digital art and sound, that demonstrate artists’ broad and ongoing interest in iterating key ideas of shanshui into formats that are relevant to their time and context of production. Echoes and Signals reflects the multiple connections offered by the exhibition’s intermediality and the bringing together of artists from different generations and cultural backgrounds.

As its title suggests, the exhibition invites visitors to see, hear and feel the echoes and signals that stem from artists’ cultural consciousness in relation to shanshui, their spiritual friendships and collective research to make sense of our world. Experimental and experiential, the exhibition draws on the principle of lyrical association and correspondence rather than attempting to establish an authoritative art historical discourse. 

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It’s been great pleasure to work with artists Vivian Wang and Guo Chen on site-specific commissions and to stage new M+ co-commissions by Nguyen Trinh Thi and Amar Kanwar. We decided on these presentations after working for three years’ conceptualising the exhibition. Most of the works haven’t been shown as part of any previous M+ projects. 

One of the biggest successes for any curator is to inspire their audience, to spark curiosity about art and the world. For me exhibitions aren’t about didactic displays but opportunities to focus on the real power of art, the experience of objects in space. We can learn so much by simply experiencing art; when looking at it and opening up to it, new perspectives and correspondences between ideas, things and people naturally emerge. 

Source: Prestige Online

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