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Book Launch of Taiping Tianguo: A History of Possible Encounters

Feb 24, 2015


Connecting Space (Zurich University of the Arts), G/F, Wah Kin Mansion, 18-20 Fort Street, North Point

Para Site is pleased to announce the launch of the publication Taiping Tianguo: A History of Possible Encounters, which is based on the highly acclaimed exhibition 太平天國/Taiping Tianguo, A History of Possible Encounters: Ai Weiwei, Frog King Kwok, Tehching Hsieh, and Martin Wong in New York presented at Para Site in summer 2012, and subsequently at SALT Istanbul, NUS Museum Singapore and e-flux New York. The publication is edited by Doryun Chong and Cosmin Costinas and co-published with Sternberg Press.

Both the exhibition and book began as a series of questions: How did Ai Weiwei, Frog King Kwok, Tehching Hsieh, and Martin Wong—four artists of Chinese heritage from various corners of the world—end up in New York in the heady days of the 1980s? Did they know one another? By considering them together, what can we learn about the storied time and place in art history and about the divergent practices of these well-known figures? With nuanced glimpses of the artists’ overlapping experiences, networks and friendships in the whirlpool of downtown New York and re-contextualized discussions of their artistic legacies, the book joins the exhibition in contributing to a critical reading of this period—the first decade of contemporary Chinese art and the prelude to the era of globalized contemporary art.

The publication includes original contributions by a wide range of authors: a conversation between Doryun Chong and Cosmin Costinas about the project; an essay by Anthony Yung on the presence of Chinese artists in New York in the 80s; a conversation between groundbreaking choreographer Xavier Le Roy and Costinas on the influence of Tehching Hsieh’s practice on dance and performance today; an essay on Hsieh’s theatricality by Fukuen Tang; an essay by Christina Li and Yung Ma on the life and work of Frog King Kwok; short essays on Martin Wong by Mark Dean Johnson, Barry Blinderman, and Lydia Yee; as well as an essay by Anton Vidokle about his own experience in Lower Manhattan in the 80s. The book also contains comprehensive images of the artists’ works, and an original chronology of the artists’ biographies within the general historical and artistic background.

The book launch will feature a discussion with the editors, contributors, and the managing editor of the publication, Lesley Ma. The publication will be available for purchase at the launch event for 200 HKD and sold at major art bookstores in Hong Kong, internationally, and online.

The event is kindly hosted by our new neighbors Connecting Space Hong Kong.



This book has been made possible through the generous support of The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation.

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About The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation

Established in Hong Kong in 2005, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation is a private philanthropic organization that seeks to foster and support Chinese arts and culture and to promote a deeper understanding of Buddhist teachings and their application in everyday life. In pursuit of that mission, the Foundation engages in strategic, long-term projects in Hong Kong and around the world to support efforts that make traditional Chinese arts accessible and relevant to different audiences. It also supports the creation of new works that brings innovative perspectives to the history of Chinese art, and that improves the quality and accessibility of scholarship on Chinese art. Guided by a belief that the insights of Buddhism have a vital role to play in approaching the challenges facing contemporary society, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation has committed substantial resources to expanding the understanding, interpretation, and application of Buddhist philosophy. To learn more about The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation and its activities, visit www.rhfamilyfoundation.org