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Conference « After the Umbrella Movement – Countervisuality and Socially-engaged art practices in Hong Kong »

by Frank Vigneron, Professor, Fine Arts Department, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

In late 2014, the pro-democracy demonstrations that were called the ‘Umbrella movement’ revealed to the world that Hong Kong was not the money-obsessed society it had often been portrayed as. During these 79 days, its participants produced a very large amount of ephemeral objects that came to represent a number of things to various people. Presented as art by some, as mere mementos by others, they collectively represent an important trace of a major intellectual and political event whose consequences are still extremely difficult to assess. In the words of Nicolas Mirzoeff, professor of visual culture at New York University, they can be seen as a manifestation of the countervisuality enacted by the participants of the Umbrella movement: they represent the resistance of those fighting for the right to see and be seen. As such, these ephemerals need to be preserved. This talk will trace the destiny of a collective of artists and activists who tried to keep them as a living collection and how these objects and the way they have been managed have revealed many of the contradictions inherent in the society of Hong Kong today.
Following the idea of socially-engaged art practices as dissensus formulated by Jacques Rancière, and considering it in the context of the idea of universal education he analyzed in The Ignorant Schoolmaster, this talk looks at different ways to introduce contemporary art practices to a public not prepared to appreciate them. Several art events organized in Hong Kong over the last few years, and analyzed as either tactic or strategy (following Michel de Certeau’s classification), will be presented in order to understand how they function in Hong Kong as a way to the public’s emancipation aesthetically and, sometimes, even politically.

Biography :
Professor Vigneron
received a Ph.D. in Chinese Art History from the Paris VII University, a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the Paris IV Sorbonne University and a Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He joined the Department of Fine Arts, CUHK in 2004, teaching courses on the History of Western Art, the theories of Modernism and Postmodernism in art, and Chinese and Western comparative aesthetics. His research focus is on the history of Chinese painting from the 18th century onwards and on different aspects of contemporary Chinese art seen in a global context. In 2010, he became Chair of the Hong Kong Art School Academic Committee as well as a member of the Hong Kong Art School Council. He is also a member of the International Association of Art Critics Hong Kong. Professor Vigneron is also a practicing artist. He has held several solo exhibitions in Hong Kong and has taken part in local and international exhibitions.

Friday 10 March, 12.15 pm to 2 pm

Salle AZ.4.103
Campus Solbosch
Bâtiment A – Porte Z – 4e niveau – Salle 103

Free entrance

Contact : east@ulb.ac.be