The exhibition reflected upon the Yeu-Lai Mo’s own experiences as an artist proposing an alternative, and more critically and culturally engaged, curatorial approach to presenting work by artist of Chinese heritage. It examined the relationship between the curator and the artist and bringing attention to the balance between the comfort of belonging to a group and the need for individuality. The curatorial process was central to the exhibition: how curators will construct an argument, often following a specific agenda and personal investment.
Notes on a return by susan pui san lok was a video projection framed by blank till rolls, set to the sound track of a poem by exiled poet Bei Dao, read by the artist and her parents in Cantonese and later in English. Both the tentative readings and the disparate images of the projection heighten the sense of fragmentation in the individual stories. The work was also accompanied by After Words, a silent projection re-framing details from the artist’s family photograph album.
Cast was a newly commissioned piece by Erika Tan, created with film footage taken during an earlier residency in Shanghai in response to one of the particular features of the city, the parks illuminated at night by coloured lights.
Inactions (16.15 - 17.30 hours) by Mayling To was the second piece of work commissioned for the exhibition. The work was created from video recorded by static cameras outside the artist’s home which focused on the daily arrival of an ice cream van. It was structured to stimulate a response to what is seen in the daily drama of a suburban street in London.
Jen Wu’s Scenes from Meat City featured a jumble of monitors and televisions, of vary obsoleteness, with text, clothing and objects which featured in fragments of video footage shown on the screen. The footage is drawn from Wu’s earlier projects - semi-scripted scenarios where the artist takes on the persona of a series of strong female characters.
The exhibition was first shown at SPACE gallery, London before moving to the Centre in July 2005. It was also accompanied by a booklet edited by curator Lisa Le Feuvre. The exhibition preview was held on the 28th July and also featured an open studio by resident artist, Stella Lai.
Other events associated with the exhibition included a panel discussion with Yeu-Lai Mo (1st September) and a workshop ‘Notes on a Return’ by Sophia Hao which was inspired by susan pui san lok work (17th September).