Infinite Narratives

When 15 Dec 2017 - 30 Dec 2017
Where Chinese American Arts Council
456 Broadway, 3rd Floor (Gallery 456)
New York, NY 10013
United States
Enquiry (212) 431-9740

Opening Reception: Friday, December 15, 6-8pm
Panel Discussion: Saturday, December 16, 4:00-5:30pm
Panelist: Alexandra Chang (NYU), Ingrid Chu and Tomato Grey artists

An exhibition by the Tomato Grey artist collective With 6 artistic collaborators

In direct response to Tomato Grey’s New York exhibitions in 2010 and 2012, scholar Alexandra Chang of New York University published an essay entitled “Approaching the Infnite Narrative: Asian Art Now & Te Tomato Grey Collective” in 2014. In this article, Chang discusses cultural narratives and their unfolding in the “Now” vis-à- vis the complex trans-national tendencies of a “Hong Kong identity:”

“How does one approach a narrative that veers towards infnite possible simultaneous trajectories in a real-world setting? Tis is the ultimate difculty in thinking through a longue dure ́e Asian contemporary art history within a global and transcultural framework while taking into account transnational artists’ mobility and the international fows of their artistic production [...] When using the term ‘Now’, I am not indicating the contemporary as a moment of vanguardism, but as the visualization of artistic production within a specifc contextualization relative to a given narrative of the near-infnite possibilities of the ‘Now’ of art history.”

- Alexandra Chang, the Tird Text Vol. 28

Numerous animated – even heated – discussions among the group’s artists followed Chang’s publication. We questioned exhibition making as a way to generate meanings. We questioned the legitimacy, operative logics, and boundaries of a so-called “collective voice.” We questioned our authenticity. Ultimately our questions rest with one fundamental issue: why do we cling to a (collective) Hong Kong voice? Why must we speak as one? Could one speak for/as many? If a united front is merely a “necessary evil” in the name of political resistance, then how do we permit, enable, and even nurture infnite narratives within a singular authentic voice? In Tomato Grey’s 2017 project, each Tomato Grey member – all of whom are self-identifed Hong Kong artist but some of whom reside in New York – will each choose an artist partner (whom they got acquaintance in New York) from outside of her/his city of resident to perform actions of identity re-enactment. Individual artist’s contributions are unifed by two common understandings, namely that:

(a) Te result shall constitute a “collective action,” and (b) Hong Kong artists are to respond to Alexandra Chang’s closing remarks in her 2014 essay, which stated that: “…Tere is no fnal conclusion [when it comes to a Hong Kong identity]… only the hope of gaining a grasp on what is yet to be done or strived for, even if that horizon will never quite be reached.”

While the self-proclaimed Hong Kong artists from the Tomato Grey collective will produce works that explicitly reference Hong Kong, the partnering non-Hong Kong artist will be asked to “copy” and “respond to” the perceived identity as projected in the work, in acts of deliberate and creative misreading. Te “now-ness” is brought into sharp focus through a chain of representation, re-presentation, and re-appropriation.

Tis collaboration will eventually take the form of an artist book, to be published in 2018. Tis exhibition at Gallery 456 will feature individual pages as works-on-paper from the 6 artistic duos. Participating TG members and their collaborations include Samson Young and Seth Cluett, Bing Lee and Ik Joong Kang, Kwong Pui See and Erika Kobayashi, Kaho Albert Yu and Yoko Naito, Annysa Ng and Patrick Fabian Panetta, Wong Kit Yi and Emily Cruz Nowell.

About Tomato Grey

Tomato Grey is a New York-based Hong Kong-artist collective comprised of artists across disciplines. Tomato Grey is devoted to:

  • Te promotion of Hong Kong Art in New York City.
  • Te fostering of cultural exchange and mutual appreciation between practitioners of arts in Hong Kong andin New York.
  • Te raising of awareness of the many facets of Hong Kong’s creative activities, which is achieved through regular exhibitions, performances, public lectures and other cultural activities.Tomato is neither a fruit nor a vegetable, while grey is an achromatic color. Tomato Grey we take to signify a state of constant fux, a gesture towards embracing, rather than rejecting, this state of constant drift. As a collective of artists from Hong Kong – a city of perpetual cultural motion – we do not believe in the act of disambiguation as a cultural strategy and artistic goal, as it leads an forged singularity of origin that is dependent upon the political climate au currant. Rather, only by acknowledging the full extend of our multi-cultural, multi-national and multi-faceted heritage will then a genuine geographically-relevant artistic voice emerge.Photo courtesy of the organizer/s.

    For more information, please click here.