Spring Exhibition
‘Social Fabric: New Work by Mariana Hahn and Kwan Sheung Chi’

Curated By David Elliott

This exhibition presents new work by two young artists who in their very different ways have responded to the history, culture and current social fabric of Hong Kong. 

Mariana Hahn (born Germany, 1985) has, in her previous performances and installations, engaged with both archetypical and local legends by weaving a common female mythology between them that enters into dialogue with the present. Her work shown here is the result of a residency last year in which she began to research the Zishunü(自梳女), the so-called 'self-wedded women' silk workers of the Pearl River delta, who chose to retain their independence by refusing to marry. Some had fled to Hong Kong in the 1940s, and two were rumoured to still live on Lantau. Hahn went there to see what traces she could find, happening also to meet one of the last of the old ‘Tanka’(蜑家) Boat Dwellers who fish from the island. Her work - objects, drawings and videos - brings together the stories and crafts of these people with a current state of amnesia and carelessness. They are forbidden to work beyond the threatening pylons of the Hong Kong-Macau Bridge and the waters surrounding Lantau have become so polluted that fishermen are no longer able to catch enough fish. Crafts, memories and human values are irrevocably lost in a mindless march of progress.

Kwan Sheung Chi (born Hong Kong 1980), an artist who confesses to ‘taking pleasure in thwarting people expectations,’ has over the past twelve years become established as one of the leading conceptual artists in Hong Kong. His varied and prolific work takes little for granted in that it questions not only the social and aesthetic ‘use’ of art in general, but also its relevance to and position in the local culture of materialism. With deadpan irony verging on absurdity, that punctures any pretension towards ‘great art,’ he struggles to devise work that is ‘necessary’ in the sense that it adds positively to common experience by providing clear and truthful perspectives. Other than a typically sardonic view of the vicissitudes of daily life, covered extensively in such performances as Everything Goes Wrong for the Poor Couple (2010), a five day closed event with live relay by video, he has also focussed on the question of Hong Kong’s culture, identity and future, as in A Flag-Raising-Lowering Ceremony on my Home’s Drying Rack (2007), a work that coincided with the 10th anniversary of the Handover. The large installation and other works he has made for this exhibition topic deal with the same subject, but within in the fluid and uncertain context of Hong Kong today.

David Elliot

2016.03.22 – 2016.04.23
Monday to Saturday 11am – 7pm
Closed on Sunday and public holidays except 03.25 - 03.28

Public Event: Conversation with David Elliott, Mariana Hahn and Kwan Sheung Chi
2016.03.26 Saturday
3 – 4pm
The event will be conducted in English. Limited seating. RSVP is essential.

+852 3979 2474 (weekdays 9am-6pm)

MILL6 Pop-up Space
The Annex, 2/F, Nan Fung Place, 173 Des Voeux Road C, Central, Hong Kong

'Social Fabric' Book Launch & Conversation - Weaving continues
2016.05.25 Thursday
7:30 – 9pm
The event will be conducted in Cantonese. Limited seating. RSVP is essential.

Wallace Chang, Associate Professor, School of Architecture, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Anthony Yung, Senior Researcher, Asia Art Archive

Evelyn Char, Writer


+852 3979 2474 (weekdays 9am-6pm)

Venue sponsor
ACO, 14/F, Foo Tak Building, 365-367 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
(Exit B of Causeway Bay MTR station, opposite to Tin Lok Lane)

Photo credit: Matthew Coleman

Photo credit: Matthew Coleman


Mariana Hahn was born in Schwäbisch Hall and lives and works in Berlin, Germany. She received a Fine Arts degree from the University of the Arts, London in 2012. Hahn poetically questions human fate as a universal condition through photography, performance and video. Hahn’s artistic practice is based on thinking of the body as carrier of continually weaving narrative. She believes that ‘weaving’ is a metaphor for creating human autonomy. Hahn often uses textiles which take the place of the human body, the textile itself becoming the carrier of the living narrative. Conceptually her work feeds from sociological and anthropological theories, as well as from the every day. In all of Hahn’s works one finds a story line, which does not follow chronological order but instead can be followed at any point in the narrative. Hahn has exhibited her work internationally, at museums, galleries and festivals.

Photo credit: Kwan Sheung Chi

Photo credit: Kwan Sheung Chi


Kwan Sheung Chi was born in 1980, Hong Kong. He obtained a third class honors B.A. degree in Fine Art from The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2003. His application was rejected from the MFA programme at Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2004 and 2007. Kwan is a founding member of the following local art groups: Hong Kong Arts Discovery Channel (HKADC), hkPARTg (Political Art Group) and Woofer Ten. In 2009 he was awarded the Starr Foundation Fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council. In 2013 he won the inaugural HUGO BOSS ASIA ART. Kwan’s artwork has not been widely exhibited around the world, and he has never participated in any major exhibitions held internationally.

Photo credit: Kate Elliott

Photo credit: Kate Elliott


David Elliott is a British curator, writer and teacher of modern and contemporary art who has directed museums in Oxford, Stockholm, Tokyo, and Istanbul. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Triangle Art Network/Gasworks in London, Chairman of the Advisory Board of MOMENTUM in Berlin and a Visiting Professor in Curatorship at the Chinese University in Hong Kong. A specialist in Soviet and Russian avant-garde, as well as in modern and contemporary Asian art, he has published widely in these fields as well as on many other aspects of contemporary art. In 2008-10 he was Artistic Director of the 17th Biennale of Sydney and in 2011-12 directed the inaugural International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Kyiv. From 2012 to 2014 he was Artistic Director of A Time for Dreams, the IV International Moscow Biennale of Young Art, co-curator of PANDAMONIUM: New Media Art from Shanghai and curator of Fragments of Empire (both for MOMENTUM, Berlin) and curator of Art From Elsewhere. Art from British Regional Galleries, a Hayward Gallery Exhibition still touring the UK. His exhibition Shen Shaomin THERE IS NO PROBLEM is currently on show at the Redtory Arts District in Guangzhou, and his next bookArt and Trousers: Tradition and Modernity in Contemporary Asian Art will be published by Art Asia Pacific later this year.

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Download 'Socail Fabric: New Work by Mariana Hahn and Kwan Sheung Chi' Press Release