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Pak Sheung Chuen
China, born 1977

One of the foremost conceptual artists in Hong Kong, Pak Sheung Chuen represented Hong Kong at the Venice Biennale in 2009. For artists like Pak, a work of art is not necessarily defined by its objecthood; instead, it can be defined by the artist’s process and the actions he performs. This work demonstrates Chuen’s approach to performance as a poetics of the everyday within Hong Kong’s dense metropolis that often engages friends and bystanders. The textual ephemera and photographs each differently document waiting as a mundane and universal human action.
The photographs document three occasions upon which the artist engaged in waiting. In Waiting for a Friend (without Appointment), the artist waited in a subway station without making plans with anyone, and completely by chance saw one of his friends passing by at 16:43 (a fortuitous time commemorated by its own print). For Waiting for a Friend (without Appointment, Airport Version), the artist waited at the Hong Kong airport’s arrivals hall for three days, but to no avail. Waiting for All the People to Sleep was performed at night, outside of an apartment building where the artist waited for all residents to turn off their lights. Interspersed among documentation from these three performances is a reproduction of the parable of the Good Samaritan (a story about waiting) and the artist’s postulation that time becomes meaningful from waiting. There is also a diptych of two pieces of paper, one on which he artist wrote the names of all friends he could remember and another designated for friends whose names he could not recall. Presenting the materials as a constellation, the artist invites multiple possible connections across the words and images.

More information about this artist

Pak Sheung Chuen
Waiting for a Friend (without Appointment), 2006/2014/2018
Dimensions variable