THIS WEEK, ORA-ORA SPEAKS WITH IVY lin from oi! on curatation and community art in hong kong.
Dr. Henrietta Tsui-Leung as Henrietta
Ivy Lin as Ivy
Henrietta: Let me introduce you all to my guest: Ivy Lin. Those who personally know Ivy will know that Ivy has been involved with the arts in Hong Kong since she had graduated from university. This interview is taken place at Oil Street Art Space. I’ve been here quite frequently, for many reasons. Please introduce this location to our audience, starting with the kitchen.
Ivy: You might find it strange that there is a kitchen within an art space, but with it, we actually wanted to introduce the concept that art can be found in our daily lives. We have two traditional galleries within our art space, but we also wanted to organise exhibitions involving experimental artworks. We like to invite artists and friends to join us and create art involving daily life.
Henrietta: This is a very comfortable space.
Ivy: For example, this is a kitchen setting. This is a temporary exhibition. The Stage 2 of the Oil Street Art Space is currently under construction. At this period of time, this kitchen setting becomes a public space which allows visitors to come together and relax.
Henrietta: People can come to this space any time they want.
Ivy: Yes. Exchange activities with the theme of ‘food’ often take place here in this venue. Our next chapter is ‘fair food.’ We hope to encourage a creative way of re-thinking the format of our daily lives.
Henrietta: We were just looking around and I noticed a lot of cups.
Ivy：There are many other plates as well.
Henrietta：So, is there any reason behind this?
Ivy: When we first started this project, we have events where we invited public figures and friends to participate in farming activities in New Territories. They will dig into the soil and use the local soil to make these plates, cups and bowls. We use these utensils during our daily meals as well. The forks and spoons we use are also carved using local lychee wood.
Henrietta: This is very meaningful! You just mentioned how venues such as White Cube have curated exhibitions. The standard of artwork is quite high there. Who is the target audience for your kind of artwork here?
Ivy: There is an exciting story behind this table. We open our doors at 10am every day. People who have finished their morning grocery shopping will come by and sit down to have a chat with each other. At around midday, workers will sit here for shelter and have a cozy lunch with pre-packed lunch boxes. At around 1pm, office workers will come by and have lunch here. They have their sandwiches and will sit on the lawn. If it’s too sunny or if it’s raining, they will come inside for lunch.
Henrietta: How does the setting affect the visitors’ awareness and feelings towards art?
Ivy: Oh, it’s very important! We hope that we can provide a platform for young artists to showcase their works. The kinds of artwork displayed in White Cube for example are usually more experimental and are not easily comprehended by the audience. The artwork displayed here is much more simple. People who came here for lunch usually like to walk around galleries to appreciate more serious artwork. We created a natural flow for visitors to walk between different spaces. When they come back, they’ll find artwork that is easier for them to understand.
Daily activities like eating and relaxing overlap with art. We believe that the daily scenes of life should be related to creativity; both of them are connected. So, we want to discuss this subject matter in this space. We hope to bridge day-to-activities with art and encourage dialogue between the two within this space.
Image: Oil Street Art Space building at North Point (Image courtesy of Ora-Ora)
Ivy: This art space is a historical building that was originally the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.
Henrietta: This historical monument is very beautiful.
Ivy: Yes, very beautiful. It is an important landmark on the coastline of Hong Kong Island. The green lawn outside was previously the sea. This building is a landmark which witnessed the development of the coastline for the past 100 years. There is a strong sense of history here. Oil Street Art Space Stage 2 is under construction in the opposite area.
Henrietta: It’s a very large space. I remember you said it’s going to be thirty thousand square feet?
Ivy: More than thirty thousand square feet.
Henrietta: Can you tell us more about your new ideas? Is it going to open during the night as well?
Ivy: Our current and future sites both value public accessibility and our relationship with the community and citizens. We aim to use art and creativity to build closer relationships with them. We had a new idea for the public space to be opened 24 hours a day, which is unprecedented.
Henrietta: So you can enter the public art space anytime you want during the day. You can experience or even have your late night suppers there. Imagine a quiet night in here and cooking in this kitchen…You can come in here to cook an instant ramen.
Ivy: We hope to extend our operation hours even for the indoor areas. We are proposing to open our indoor spaces for 24 hours a day during the weekends as well.
Henrietta: Even the indoor areas are opened for 24 hours! This is amazing.
ABOUT ORA-ORA LIVE
Each week, Ora-Ora will speak with various members of the art community — including artists, curators, academics and other professionals working in the cultural sector — to address topics of interest related but not limited to Hong Kong’s art and cultural scene. The series aims to be an outlet for creativity and a means to connect with peers who share similar interests. The episodes will also available live on Ora-Ora’s Instagram (@galerieoraora), Facebook (Galerie Ora-Ora) and later on Ora-Ora’s YouTube channel.