Remote Sample Access – Open Studio by Andrew Kearney

AVA’s Artist-in-Residence Andrew Kearney is going to showcase his latest artworks made in Hong Kong during his residence in AVA since June 2019.

Opening: 10 July 2019 (Wed), 4:00 pm

Exhibition Period: 11 -14 July 2019
Time: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Venue: AVA studio B01, Annex Building, Kaitak Campus, Academy of Visual Arts, 51 Kwun Tong Road, Kowloon

Remote Sample Access

Situated on a plateau of a forested hillside, the studio I currently occupy at the AVA campus in Kung Tong is now considered a building of historical importance from past colonial times. Constructed in the pre-war modern style characteristic of the adapted colonial Hong Kongese architecture of the era, the strategically located 1934 complex, now Grade 1 listed, once asserted its status overlooking Kowloon Bay but has since been completely obscured behind a series of residential tower blocks; testimony to the transformation Hong Kong’s landscape has undergone to accommodate the spatial demands that the city’s success and rising population brought with them.

While the simplified classicism of the building’s square section columns, bases, capitals, cornice and parapet paired with cross-braced ornamental balustrade panels reminiscent of Regency Style ironwork are a reinterpretation of the ruling class’s favoured archetype, the European classical temple and its order, the elegant wrap-around columnated veranda with its steel framed windows and wooden shutters is a response to the practicalities of living in a tropical climate by borrowing from the vernacular architecture of the area.

Since its construction, this strictly symmetrical flat-roofed two-storey block has hosted from 1934 to 1978 the Royal Air Force (RAF) Station and the Offices Quarters Compound Annex Block No.2 and from 1978 to 1997 the Detective Training School of the Hong Kong Police Force; while other buildings in the complex became after the British handover to China a Vietnamese Refugee Camp and Migrant Transit Centre.

Being myself, a temporary occupant of this historic building has made me think of the passage of people, of the shifting political structures that have and are shaping the development of Hong Kong over the last two centuries and of my own Irish family’s history as migrants to Asia. In the 19th Century, two generations of my family emigrated from Ireland to India both territories under British Crown rule. There they earned their living working for the British army and civil services in buildings that, like the one I now occupy, landmarked a distant ruling power. In many ways this influx of people with their foreign customs resulted in a hybrid landscape where otherwise distant canons coexisted, interweaved and regenerated.

Remote Sample Access is the culmination of my residency in this studio at AVA. Taking the studio space as vessel it sets up an almost theatrical scene where sound, lighting and props define perform to an outsider audience. Over the course of the open studios, this will form the base to a series of interventions that will aim to expose aesthetic and narrative threads within the work.

In its original state, Remote Sample Accesspresents a black sphere in constant rotation in the centre of what used to be my studio. Below this weightless body white netting stretches across the room supported from a bamboo scaffolding construction fixed to the studio’s walls. This notional datum divides the studio space at a height just below the window sills, discouraging those witnessing the installation from accessing the studio space, forcing them to look in through the open windows and doors instead. Meanwhile, a live stream of environmental sounds, those of human and animal activity or weather conditions, is captured outside the building, manipulated through a sound processor and projected within the studio. This layer of borrowed sounds introduces an element of unpredictability to the intervention blurring the boundaries between inside and outside space. Altogether the simple sculptural elements, familiar construction and manipulated sounds prompt us to reassess our own relationship with the changing environment of Hong Kong.

Andrew Kearney b. 1961, (IE/UK) is an Irish artist based in London. Kearney’s installation work is conceived not as representation or as presentation of a particular ‘thing’. Instead, these works respond to the site where they exist as disturbances of that same site, present as an event as much as objects. Awards and residencies include Barclays Young Artist (Serpentine Gallery, London 1992), PS1 Studio Award (New York, 1993), Glen Dimplex Award (1996), Informal Architecture (Banff, 2004), Phase2 and Spaces Buildings Make (AHRC funded project, Middlesex University, 2005-2008), Centre Culturel Irlandais (Paris, 2015) and Watts Gallery (Surrey, 2016). Commissions include Long Thin Thread (Heathrow Airport Terminal One, 1996), Illumination (Boiler House in Ballymun housing estate, Dublin 2002)Liquid Mountain (Wexford Opera House, 2009), SKYLUM (Nuit Blanche, Toronto, 2012) and (Justus Lipsius Council Building, Brussels, 2013), and Tell Me Something (Limerick City of Culture, 2015). Solo shows include Temporal Change, Douglas Hyde Gallery (Dublin 1995); The Policing of Pleasure, Camden Arts Centre (London, 1997); With Intent, (Limerick City Gallery of Art, Ireland 2001); Man Size(The Phatory, New York, 2012); The Meaning of Nothing (Limerick City Gallery of Art, 2014). Through 2017 to 2019 he toured his multifaceted installation Mechanism at Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, The Dock Gallery Carrick-on-Shannon in 2017, and at Crawford Gallery of Art Cork, Ireland, April 2019.


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