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"Consolidating Hong Kong’s Experience of Participating in the Venice Biennale - Study of Future Strategy in Promoting Hong Kong Visual Arts to the Overseas"

To examine the past experience of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC)’s participation at the Venice Art Biennale (the Biennale) since 2001 and to explore future strategies to participate in the Biennale and promote Hong Kong visual arts overseas, a Study was conducted, named “Consolidating Hong Kong’s Experience of Participating in the Venice Biennale – Study of Future Strategy in Promoting Hong Kong Visual Arts to the Overseas” (the Study).

The Study was commissioned to Mr. Tobias Berger, Head of Arts of Tai Kwun and written by Mr. Berger and Ms. Elaine W. Ng, Editor and Publisher of ArtAsiaPacific. The Study analyses the past experience and impact of Hong Kong’s past participation in the Biennale through desk research, surveys and interviews of a wide pool of both local and international artists, curators and experts. It also analyses how other countries and cities organise their exhibition in the Biennale. Based on these data, the Study provides recommendations for the future direction of Hong Kong’s participation in the Biennale and on other possible strategies for promoting Hong Kong visual arts overseas. The executive summary of the Study can be downloaded in the link below.

It is agreed to the recommendation of the Study that the Venice Biennale is a distinguished platform to showcase the Hong Kong contemporary art to the world due to its unique nature of allowing participating countries or institutions to decide on its own content and artists. To ensure the Hong Kong exhibition delivers a high standard of presentation and strategic promotion, the HKADC agrees to the Study’s recommendation to partner with a major institution which is able to contribute professional staff resources, international curatorial expertise and additional funding.

Yet, referring to the Study’s recommendation of conducting an invite-call for proposals from major institutions, the HKADC is aware that the current manpower, resources and timeline of other major arts organisations have made the 2017 collaboration impossible with the exception of M+ of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA). Building on the desirable result of co-contributing professional resources, additional funding and international network, the HKADC has decided to continue the partnership with M+ of WKCDA in the 57th Venice Art Biennale in 2017. One major initiative of the coming collaboration, paired with an aim to further nurture curators with experience in international biennales, is that the participating artist of 2017 edition will be invited to recommend his/her preferred curator to work together with the M+ team for the exhibition. For details, please visit the related press release.

Through the participation in the Biennale, the HKADC also recognises the importance of engaging the local art sector as well as the public. Therefore, besides the curatorial internship programme which has been organised in the last two editions, the HKADC will introduce a subsidy scheme to support a certain number of local artists, curators and arts critics to visit the Venice Art Biennale in 2017 during the preview period and experience one of the most important cultural events in the world. The HKADC will also increase the support for the Response Exhibition held in Hong Kong and local educational programmes in order to promote contemporary art and the Hong Kong artist to local audiences. Apart from the Venice Biennale, the HKADC will explore more platforms to promote Hong Kong visual arts overseas, as well as nurture our local art practitioners and institutions with dynamic international experience and exposure. For instance, schemes are launched to encourage and facilitate practitioners to visit large-scale exhibitions and establish international network strategically. The above initiatives are supported by the HKADC’s Visual Arts Group and related advisors and experts.