Art and Friendship

12:00 pm
Grand Stair

Merce by Merce by Paik Part One: Blue Studio: Five Segments

Charles Atlas
Merce Cunningham
15 min

Modern Poetry Exhibition

Chang Chao Tang
4 min

Private Antonio

Antonio Mak
Neco Lo
13 min

What Makes a Home?

36 min

This screening celebrates the transformative power of friendship and collaboration in art and filmmaking circles. Through a selection of four short films spanning more than five decades, the programme explores the creative connections that arise from trusted friendships and from across different artistic disciplines. As art and life become one and the same, these candid films illustrate the life-giving sustenance of creativity and human connection.

A collaboration between video artist Nam June Paik, filmmaker Charles Atlas, visual artist Shigeko Kubota, and dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham, Merce by Merce by Paik Part One: Blue Studio: Five Segments epitomises Atlas and Cunningham’s ‘media dance’ experiments, where the camera becomes an active part of the choreography and the audience’s experience alongside the dancers themselves. Created for New York public television, the work sees Cunningham dance together with his own multiplied image, responding to a dense electronic score by Paik.

Modern Poetry Exhibition is a silent black-and-white video by experimental photographer and filmmaker Chang Chao Tang, documenting the work of his artist friends Huang Hua-cheng, Long Sih-liang, and Huang Yong-song, each of whom transformed their favourite modernist poem into an art installation. The controversial exhibition, which pushed a new wave of modernism during Taiwan’s conservative martial law period, was shut down in two Taipei venues and ultimately ended up in a field.

Antonio Mak Hin Yeung, one of Hong Kong's prominent contemporary artists, challenged the art establishment and played a pivotal role in establishing an alternative art scene during the 1980s. Known for his figurative cast-bronze sculptures that explored the socio-political climate of colonial Hong Kong, Mak is captured in his home studio in the intimate three-part film Private Antonio, directed by Neco Lo Che Ying, a close friend of Mak’s and a pioneer of animation in Hong Kong.

Founded in 2020, 楔Xiē (‘Wedge’) is an artist collective that grew out of fragmented online conversations about social issues and global political events. The collective comprises four friends: Hao Jingban, Shen Xin, Yunyu ‘Ayo’ Shih, and Qu Chang. Their video What Makes a Home? was made in Berlin, Beijing, Taipei, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Minnesota, and New York during the COVID-19 pandemic and meditates on the importance of the home in times of enforced isolation.

The screening will be accompanied by a free talk between Neco Lo Che Ying and M+ Curator-at-large of Hong Kong Film and Media, Li Cheuk-to, in the Festival Lounge on Friday 31 May at 16:00. The talk will be conducted in Cantonese.

Merce by Merce by Paik Part One: Blue Studio: Five Segments | Charles Atlas, Merce Cunningham, Merce by Merce by Paik Part One: Blue Studio: Five Segments, 1975-1976. Single-channel digital video (colour, sound), duration: 15 min. 38 sec.. M+, Hong Kong. © Charles Atlas/EAI

Modern Poetry Exhibition | Chang Chao Tang. Modern Poetry Exhibition, 1966. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

Private Antonio | Neco Lo, Antonio Mak. Private Antonio, 1986/2019. Photo: Courtesy of the artists.

What Makes a Home? | 楔Xiē. What Makes a Home?, 2022. Photo: Courtesy of the artists.