The Venice Questionnaire 2015 #2: Tsang Kin-wah

Representing Hong Kong at the 2015 Venice Biennale, Tsang Kin-wah answered our short questionnaire

Tsang Kin-Wah, The Infinite Nothing: I, 2015. Courtesy the artist TSANG Kin-Wah, The Infinite Nothing: I, 2015. Courtesy of the artist

ArtReview sent a questionnaire to artists and curators exhibiting in and curating the various national pavilions of the 2015 Venice Biennale, the responses to which will be published daily in the lead-up to the Venice Biennale opening.

Tsang Kin-wah is representing Hong Kong as a collateral event. The pavilion is on Campo della Tana, Castello 2126-30122.

What can you tell us about your exhibition plans for Venice?

I’m going to show a site-specific installation, which will contain four new video projections placed in different parts of the venue. The whole work is mainly based on my reading and interpretation of Nietzsche’s philosophy and some religious ideas from Christianity, Buddhism and Taoism. It’s more or less my thoughts and views on the meaning and pattern of life. So the courtyard of the space will be covered to turn day into night and to link all the existing rooms together, creating a journey for the audience to experience and explore.

Are you approaching this show in a different way as to how you would a ‘normal’ exhibition?

No. It’s just the same to me (though the scale of the exhibition/biennale is bigger and the audience much larger).

What does it mean to ‘represent’ your country? Do you find it an honour or problematic?

I don’t know… probably it only means that I’m selected to hold a show at the Hong Kong space in Venice. For me, I care more about how I can play with the space to make it a great work and a great show.

How are you approaching addressing the different audiences who come to Venice – the masses of artist peers, gallerists, curators and critics concentrated around the opening and the general public who come through over the following months?

We are preparing a brochure illustrating the concepts and references of the work, so that the audience can have a better understanding of the works. I think this could be very useful for the general public. And for those from the art world, I’m sure they can get the meanings without much difficulty (though the brochure would certainly give them some more ideas!)

What are your earliest or best memories of the biennale?

The first time I visited the biennale was in 2003, which is also the only memory I have relating to the biennale. It was actually the time when I had just finished my postgraduate study in London and went to Europe and Venice to check out some museums and exhibitions. My visit to the biennale was really great though it was crazy hot that year. Santiago Sierra, Chris Ofili and Su-Mei Tse are some of the participating artists that I still remember. Zone of Urgency curated by Hou Hanru was also very impressive and beyond my expectations.

You’ll no doubt be very busy, but what else are you looking forward to seeing?

I’m looking forward to seeing the main exhibition curated by Okwui Enwezor. I hope I can have some spare time to do that.

How does a having a pavilion in Venice affect the art scene in your home country?

I don’t know honestly. Probably Art Basel Hong Kong has a much greater impact on Hong Kong’s art scene now. 

Read all responses to the Venice Questionnaire 2015 edition published so far.

Read all 30 responses to the Venice Questionnaire 2013 edition.

Online exclusive published 8 April 2015