Études for the 21st Century - Robert Cahen, John Conomos, Kingsley Ng and Steve Hui

2013-11-28 18:00 - 2013-12-28 19:00

Études for the 21st Century - Robert Cahen, John Conomos, Kingsley Ng and Steve Hui

When: 28 Nov - 28 Dec 2013
Where: Osage Gallery
Opening Reception: 28 Nov 2013 Thu 18.00-21.00

Études for the 21st Century

给二十一世纪的练习曲-Robert Cahen、John Conomos、Kingsley Ng、伍韶劲

Presented by Osage Art Foundation


exhibition concept by Kingsley Ng

This exhibition presents two sets of études. Originally meaning "study" in French, the word is widely adopted to describe a short musical composition, typically for one instrument, written as an exercise to improve one's technique, while also played for its artistic value. The practice of art, regardless of media or form, can be said as a lifelong endeavour to advance oneself technically, aesthetically, intellectually, ethically and spiritually.

Études for the 21st Century

Études for the 21st Century © the artists and Osage Art Foundation

As parallels in this exhibition, the two sets of études are the results of collaboration with international and local art and cultural practitioners, whose reflective practice casts light upon the ontology of art and the oscillating forces between the sublime and the quotidian.

Études for the 21st Century

Études for the 21st Century © the artists and Osage Art Foundation

One austere and self-contained, the other light and open, Études for the 21st Century and Études for the Everyday are contrasting and complementary studies on the essence of art, living and being in time. While the former contemplates life and asks what it takes to be human, the latter is about experiencing life and living as a human. For the 21st Century generates practice for the future and the eternal. Everyday is practice for the transitory present.

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Études for the 21st Century Études for the 21st Century

Études for the 21st Century © the artists and Osage Art Foundation

Departing from, in John Conomos's words, "the whirlwind of the last century's aesthetic, cultural, political and technological revolutions, a century of manifestos and paradigm-shifting creativity of art, culture and knowledge," how do we move forward from "art for art's sake" to "art for the sake of life"?

Through art, how do we learn about life and living? How do we learn to look, reflect on, and manifest attentiveness? How do we learn from the impulses of man and nature? How do we sustain our impulses? How do we process them, and ultimately register them as memories? And how does memory in turn affect our ways of seeing and acting?

Études for the 21st Century Études for the 21st Century

Études for the 21st Century © the artists and Osage Art Foundation

Reflecting on this series of questions, Étude for the 21st Century is a large-scale multi-channel video installation, articulated on a 30-meter long oscillating string. With moving images filmed by Robert Cahen and John Conomos over the last 40 years, the work is a glimpse of the world through the artists' eyes. The flickering, fleeting projection traces a kind of human process. Moments of impulses - as light, as energy, as an image - are intercepted. How does one conceive, contemplate, rationalize and distil these moments? How can one capture them, and resist their disappearance in time?

In a world of excessive images, only a few remain. The work is a tribute to artists whom have preserved these intense moments of life, and whose unwavering energy sustains these images through eternality.

Études for the 21st Century Études for the 21st Century

Études for the 21st Century © the artists and Osage Art Foundation

Kingsley Ng
Kingsley Ng is an inter-disciplinary artist with a focus on conceptual, site-specific, and community-engaging projects. He believes that art helps us mediate our environment, whether as viewer or as participant. It reveals the invisible, gives shape to the intangible. These principles are driven not by a self-indulgent romanisation of art, but a belief that art can be socially relevant. Art provides a language to render social issues alive and meditate ideas and impressions that can engage across a larger public.

Ng's pursued the arts in different postgraduate programs. He received postgraduate training at Le Fresnoy - National Studio of Contemporary Arts in France under the tutelage of renowned artists including Alain Fleischer, Andrea Cera, Atau Tanaka and Gary Hill and graduated with the highest honors (les felicitation du jury à l'unanimité). He continued his studies with an MSc Sustainable Design degree from the University of Edinburgh in the UK and a BFA New Media Art degree from the Ryerson University in Canada.

Ng's works have been featured in notable exhibitions and international venues. Examples include Guangzhou Triennial in China, Land Art Biennial in Mongolia, Echigo Tsumari Art Triennial in Japan, NIME at IRCAM- Centre Pompidou in France, Fabrica Centre in Italy, Kunsthalle Wien in Austria, Lille Europe Pavilion in Shanghai Expo, InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre in Canada, and the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Art Basel Hong Kong and featured in the "Young Discovery Program" of Art Taipei 2013.

The artist is also the recipient of numerous number of grants and awards, including the Asia Cultural Council Grant 2013, Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial Awards 2009, Hong Kong Young Design Talent in 2008, the Hong Kong Independent Short Film & Video Gold Medal Awards 2007, the Canada Council for the Arts - Travel Grants to Media Artists 2006, and the InterAccess Visual Arts Award 2003. He was also artist-in-residence at Cité internationale des arts in Paris in 2010. He is currently a lecturer of Master of Visual Art Programme in the Hong Kong Baptist University.

Études for the 21st Century Études for the 21st Century

Études for the 21st Century © the artists and Osage Art Foundation

Robert Cahen
Robert Cahen was born in France in 1945. In 1971, he graduated from the Conservatoire National Superieur Musique de Paris and became a member of the GRM (Groupe de Recherches Musicales). Robert is a pioneer in the use of electronic instruments and considered to be one of the most important figures in the field of video. He arranged and transformed images and music to demonstrate the possibilities of the boundaries between them. His work is distinctive for its use of slow motion and the way it explores sound in relation to images to create his poetic universe. Robert's works has been collected by a number of public collections in France and elsewhere, and has received a number of prizes at festivals and were exhibited in various important exhibitions, including the Villa Médicis Hors les Murs award (1992), Public Commission at Euralille (Lille, 1995), Robert Cahen s'installe (Frac Alsace, 1997), Le souffle du temps (Jeu de Paume, 2010).


John Conomos
John Conomos is an artist, critic and theorist who is an Associate Professor at the Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney. He has been exhibiting extensively both locally and internationally since the 1980s. Conomos's video, Lake George (After Mark Rothko), was exhibited at the Tate Modern, London, in February 2009. In 2008 Conomos was represented in the "Video Logic" exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in the same year Conomos's commissioned radiophonic essay on Luis Buñuel, The Bells of Toledo, for ABC Radio National was also broadcast. Conomos is a prolific contributor to Australian and overseas art, film and media journals and a frequent keynote speaker and participant in conferences, forums and seminars. In 2008 Conomos was awarded a New Media Fellowship from the Australian Council for the Arts. Conomos's most recent two exhibitions was "The Spiral of Time", at Sydney's Australian Centre for Photography which was accompanied by a forum and an extensive monograph (with Brad Buckley); and "Dada Buster" at Brooklyn's Plato Cave. Conomos is the author of a number of books including Mutant Media (Artspace/Power Publications, 2009) and most recently a collection co-edited with Andy Dong and Brad Buckley called Ecologies of Invention (Sydney University Press, 2013). He is currently working on a new collection (with Brad Buckley) Erasure: The Spectre of Cultural Memory (Libris Publishing, UK) and a memoir called Milkbar.


Steve Hui
Steve Hui graduated from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with a Master's Degree in Composition and Electronic music. He is a member of experimental electronic music group VSOP and a resident DJ at Sessions HK, a local bass music weekly event. Hui's main interest lies in exploring and experimenting the boundaries between contemporary music, sound art, multimedia theatre and pop culture. His creative works have been presented at various festivals including: Hong Kong Arts Festival, New Vision Arts Festival, Microwave International Media Art Festival, Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, Fringe Shanghai and Creative Cities (Hong Kong in London). Hui's first orchestral work Re-Autumn was commissioned by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta in 2004. He was invited by the Asia-Europe Foundation for the 'Hearing Helsinki' project in Finland in 2006. His first opera The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci was commissioned by Zuni Icosahedron in 2010. He was commissioned by the City University of Hong Kong to compose The Four Infinities for the opening of the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre in 2011.


By 100+ art and cultural practitioners in Hong Kong (In alphabetical order by last name)

Nadim Abbas, John Aiken, Peter Benz, Philine Bracht, Amy Chan, Crystal Chan, Aric Chen, Movana Chen, Enoch Cheng, Grace Cheng, Vennes Cheng, Cheng Yee Man (Gum), Cheung Chi Wai, Clara Cheung, Enoch Cheung, Reds Cheung, Kimburley Choi, Thickest Choi, Choi Yan Chi, Chow Yiu Fai, Birdy Chu, Bryan Chung, Ribble Chung, Chung Wai Ian, David Clarke, Josephine Do, Valerie C. Doran, Elephant, Stella Fong, Vangi Fong, Frog King, May Fung, Raymond Fung, Arianna Gellini, Laurent Guttierez, Gerard Henry, Mette Hjort, Oscar Ho, Ho Siu Kee, Claire Hsu, Steve Hui, Tony Ip, Jhave, Kan Tai Keung, Daniel Kurjakovic, Alan Kwan, Dylan Kwok, Ida Kwong, Lai Chun Ling, Lai Tsz Yuen, Lai Wai Yi, Monti, Lam Laam Jaffa, Sef Lam,Lau Ching Ping, Gukzik Lau, Lesley Lau, Lau Tin Ming, Jamsen Law, Sophia Law, Lee Chi Wai, Lee Chun Fung, Lee Kit, Leung Mee Ping, Rosanna Li, Evelyna Liang, Lui Chun Kwong, Vincci Mak, Phoebe Man, MoBen, Ng Ka Chun, Lars Nittve, Janice Poon, Jeffrey Shaw, Stephanie Sin, Siu King Chung, Zoie So, County Tam, Eve Tam, Stella Tang, Greg Thomas, Vivian Ting, Derrick To, William Tsang, Adrian Tsing, Michelle Vosper, Josephine Wai, Annie Wan, Sunny Wang, Emma Watts, wen yau, Ada Wong, Bonny Wong, Wong Chi Chung, Fiona Wong, Justin Wong, Kacey Wong, Anthony Yeung, G Yeung, Douglas Young, Yeung Sau Churk, Yang Yeung, Bellini Yu, Cally Yu, Francis Yu, and Meipo Yuen.

Amidst growing unease and tension in this city, can the practice of art, in all its manifestations, inspire a kind of energy loop?

100+ leading art and cultural practitioners generously share, in the form of étude, how they sense, reflect on and act in everyday life, and invite the community to practise them together. As we make sense of the world through creative acts, what will we learn if we practise such sensitivity and imagination in the everyday? Will our world be different?

After the exhibition, practice of the études by the general public will be further encouraged through different channels, such as an online portal, outreach programmes and publication.


Concept by: Kingsley Ng, Stephanie Cheung
*Card catalogue cabinet used in the exhibition loaned by The University Archives, The University of Hong Kong


The Osage Art Foundation was established in 2004 with three main goals - Creative Communities, Cultural Cooperation and Creative Capacity and has since played an active role in developing education and training of young people, broadening cultural awareness and participation in artistic endeavours, nurturing creativity and critical thinking and fostering international cultural exchange.

The Osage Art Foundation is now known and recognized by the local community and internationally as having initiated many pioneering projects of international calibre. In order to better contextualize the work of the current generation of Asian contemporary artists, the Osage Art Foundation has helped to introduce a number of seminal contemporary Asian masters to the wider international artworld. For example, Roberto Chabet (1937 - 2013) made an unparalleled contribution to Philippine contemporary art as an educator, mentor, visionary, conceptualist, innovator, alchemist, poet and tireless promoter of younger talents, but until recently was not as well known internationally.

To date in 2013 the Osage Art Foundation has shown the Andy Warhol exhibition "Hello It's Me, Goodbye: Andy Warhol's Cinema", jointly-presented by The Andy Warhol Museum, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and is preparing the second in its series of non-profit "Market Forces" exhibitions, "The Friction of Opposites" that opened in Hong Kong in May 2013 at the same time as the commercial art fair Art Basel Hong Kong in order to focus attention on the intrinsic values of art. In May 2013 The Osage Art Foundation was honored at the Hong Kong Arts Development Awards with an Award for Arts Sponsorship.


Opening Hours: 10:30-19:00
Tel: 852-27934817
Add: 4/F, Union Hing Yip Factory Bldg, 20 Hing Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong


*Information provided by Osage Gallery

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