background/ realisation/ investigation
exhibition "investigation of a journey to the west
by micro + polo" is a double pun on a famous,
ancient Chinese mythological tale "Journey to the West"
and Marco Polo's visit to China in the 13th century. The title reflects
both the literal and physical nature of the exhibition through a
visit to the west in the high technology era of the 21st century
by two Hong Kong (China) artists: anothermountainman and Chan Yuk-keung,
aka "micro (soft)" and "polo" (names used
to symbolize popular brand names in general). The exhibition
is a marvellous, imaginative investigation of travel west in the
anothermountainman's stylised "redwhiteblue"
rendition of a Hong Kong-style tea house is a contemplative reference
to the absence of any mention of tea in Marco Polo's travelogue.
The work is also a statement on the importance of face-to-face communication
between people, which is becoming a lost art in modern society.
The red, white and blue plastic fabric - a low-cost wrapping material
- reflects the transitory and unsettled nature of Hong Kong. Perhaps
re-establishing human contact (over a cup of tea) can help society
resolve issues and regain its focus.
Chan's fascination with the imaginative nature
of travelogue draws on his own many travel experiences, which, like
Polo's, include ventures into foreign lands and cultures. His cityscape
installation in the shape of Venice, complete with a "canal/bridge",
reveals Chan's experiences as a traveller both metaphysically and
psychologically. The cityscape is elevated and inverted to enable
the viewer to make a thorough investigation of an imaginary, reinvented
The exhibition correlates with elements of
the Biennale's two themes: "Always a Little Further" and
"The Experience of Art". In some ways, the exhibition's
philosophical and fantastical approach is similar in concept to
the theme of "Always a Little Further", while the artists'
works are each closely connected to various experiences of art.
The fragmented structure of Chan's work invites viewers to recreate
their own individual experiences of life and art. By contrast, anothermountainman's
installation touches on the social and ideological phenomena of
our everyday life.
The exhibition investigates and explores the
blending and divergence of cultures in our societies through the
microcosmic vision of the artists. It reflects parallels and differences
between Hong Kong and Venice. Both these great cities are surrounded
by water; but one lives on its history, while the other is continually
striding into the future.