This project presents works by artists that exemplify the critical and creative relationships between heritage and contemporary art. Conceived as an ongoing research, it aims to create a common ground that facilitates conversations across disciplines, in which heritage and art sector can reflect on their practices and develop new ways to bring the most significant and valuable aspects of the past into resonance with the present.
I have always been interested in the connection between built heritage conservation and contemporary art. The term “contemporary art” means art that is responding to and telling us about its own time, rather than looking back at the past. Its relationship with the built heritage is imagined as a fluid and dynamic process of dialogue.
They are seemingly unrelated but since the rise of biennales and globalisation of the art world, there have been an increasingly large number of examples in which artists explore and occupy specific heritage sites in producing their works. These kind of site-specific artworks unfold our reading and imagination of the heritage sites. They impose questions that lead us to a new thinking about what do we want to conserve and how does conservation of historic site mean to present.
The case studies I included here look into experimental approaches that contemporary artists enter into dialogue with heritage buildings. They examine a wide range of contemporary forms of art and artistic practices, and articulate some ideas and considerations (and perhaps controversies) surrounding the question of the topic.
Alex Tam is first Centre Executive of the Centre for Research and Development in Visual Arts since
its establishment in 2013 by the Academy of Visual Arts, HKBU. The Centre’s vision is to promote the advancement of visual arts development in Hong Kong and neighbouring regions. His main area of interest is on art projects that engage with issues connected to the notion of history, memory, collective learning, and place-making.