(Original language: Mandarin)
LIANG SHUO: When I create a site-specific work, I do not have a specific plan in mind. Instead, I look at the space first and observe its conditions. I then write a set of rules. Rules of a game that don’t need to be too explicit and that can be revealed layer by layer.
This is what I hope for my work. Not to have to be clear on every detail.
When I was standing in this space, the first thing I noticed was Central, Hong Kong’s downtown and behind it, the Peak. So the first thing I did on that day was to walk from the museum to the Peak. During my walk, I experienced the urban space and discovered how widely used bamboo scaffolding is in Hong Kong.
This type of construction really is everywhere. It’s a rather bold visual language. It has formed a relationship with Hong Kong's glossy, modern buildings. I think it is an excellent relationship of co-existence.
I’m approaching this work intuitively. One of my considerations is that I need to think about how to create a relationship between the installation and the human body. You are not only seeing the work, but you are also entering it, interacting and building relationships with it. Perhaps you need to step on it.
Since the work is enveloping the viewer, it has to have a very strong structure. It has to be very sturdy. This is one of my considerations when it comes to the choice of material. A material like bamboo, which obviously makes up the scaffolding, has always directly interacted with the human body.
[I was inspired by] the ‘Peach Blossom Spring’ story, because I’m interested in forms of space and their psychological implications. The Peach Blossom Spring comes from a fable written by Tao Yuanming, called ‘Peach Blossom Spring Story’. It embodies the idealised life of seclusion.
Whether such a place truly exists may not really matter. I would summarise the ‘Peach Blossom Spring’ type of space as one that has a very narrow entrance leading to a vast and open space. I hope I have created a disorienting space in which everything is separated. Sometimes, in an unexpected situation, the work might surprise you with something wide and open.
Then, when looking back at the path that you have just walked with a new perspective, you may no longer recognise it. This space does not allow you to see everything at once.
Artist Liang Shuo defines an approach characterised by what he calls ‘scum’: roughness, a reliance on processes of construction and destruction, and an interest in everyday objects. In his site-specific work In the Peak (2019), he used bamboo scaffolding to create an immersive structure on the terrace of the M+ Pavilion as part of the Sigg Prize 2019 exhibition. Bamboo scaffolding is a recyclable construction material widely used in Hong Kong, forming a relationship with the city’s urban environment.
Two small windows in the structure incorporate views of the distant Victoria Peak and the nearby M+ building under construction. This alludes to the technique of borrowed scenery in Chinese garden design. After entering from the green space of the West Kowloon Cultural District, visitors are led into the constructed landscape along an ascending spiral walkway. This experience is a transition from the crowd to Liang’s ‘dongtian’—a Taoist heavenly grotto.
This video was originally published on M+ Stories.
- Produced by
- M+ Curatorial Research
Pi Li, Isabella Tam, Kary Woo
- M+ Video Production
Chris Sullivan, Jaye Yau, Angel Ng