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By David Clarke

The booklet brings jointly a chain of essays approximately paintings in Hong Kong written over the past ten years, with the goal of providing a private chronicle of the Hong Kong paintings global in the course of a time of serious change.

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A museum display or a college curriculum presents us with an interpretation of the past, a partial view of it (in both senses of that word). One must always ask whose history is being represented (that is, question what interests a certain view of history serves, or ask what other histories are being occluded from view). The characteristic mode of display in the art museum involves the isolation of objects from one another, often against bare white walls. Such a display offers a feigned neutrality, as if it were history itself which was speaking, rather than a certain curatorial picture of it.

This was my review of that show. Despite the interest I felt in many of the artworks on display in the Hong Kong Museum of Art's City Vibrance show (fig. 1; fig. 2; fig. 5), this particular spectator was nevertheless left feeling that the exhibition as a whole lacked unity, that it was no more than the sum of its parts. There was no theme or argument being put forward by the exhibition, no real sense that it was trying to say anything about the very disparate works it brought together. At the curatorial level it seemed lacking in a rationale, to be unwilling to engage intellectually with and give form to the works which were its content.

Do we engage with it, or is it engaging (fascinaring, ca ptivating, enthra ll ing) us? 1 Engaging Tradition:detail of the installation in the Fung Ping Sh an Museum by Oscar Ho, 199 4. Photo courtesy t he University M useum and Art Gallery, Hong Kong University. 35 Art and Its Contexts I have been writing here about Hong Kong artists in the plural, rather than referring to the one Hong Kong artist, Oscar Ho Hingkay, who has been involved in turning the concept of Engaging Tradition into a reality (plate 1; fig.

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