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Event Scores by Artists-Parents 事件譜之又係藝術家又係阿爸阿媽

Published by Rooftop Institute 出版社:天台塾 /
Ysabelle Cheung /

There is a backwater thought that once an artist (usually female, according to patriarchal hierarchies) bears children, they become somewhat infertile in their creative practices. “After I gave birth, some people apparently thought that I had retired to take care of my child,” Wong Wai Yin once stated in an article. In truth, she had only taken a five-year hiatus from traditional exhibition-making. Then, in 2016, she produced Without Trying, a monumental solo exhibition at Spring Workshop that revealed her engagements in entirely new creative practices as a result of motherhood: learning French, dog training, spiritual response therapy and playing the ukulele.

This peeling away from the art world circuit and its capitalist expectations can be liberating, a fact that Wong and 48 other Hong Kong-based artist-parents reveal in Event Scores by Artists-Parents. Published by Rooftop Institute and grouped into six chapters, the contributions document in writing and photographs the co-learning experiences that occur daily between artists and their children, reframed playfully as highly experimental “event scores” or “instructional art”. Three introductory notes by Law Yuk Mui, Hui Po Keung and Stella Fong further identify the book’s main themes: empathy, play and how to facilitate ludic activity at home during a pandemic.

Courtesy Kwan Sheung Chi and Rooftop Institute.

Words that seldom appear in art statements, such as “fun”, “happy”, “exciting” and “loves”, populate these contributions. In expressing the vocabularies of their children, these artists resist the emotionless rigour of academic text, and recall the primal, instinctive joys of artmaking and education. The re-enactment of famous buildings becomes “performance art” to Clara Cheung and her daughter. Kwan Sheung Chi reveals that his son Man gets nervous when following instructions, so he devised a game in which he and Man would run a race. The race was recorded for the work Before the End: Les Quatre Cents Coups (1959) (2017), shown at the artist’s solo exhibition at Edouard Malingue Gallery in 2017. At the opening, Kwan recalls, Man happily realised that he had in fact helped his father complete the work. “Yes, thank you,” Kwan replied.

Courtesy Tang Kwok Hin and Rooftop Institute.

Other similar tender moments of mutual understanding and awareness, with parent and child taking turns to teach and experiment, are standouts. Instead of punishing his son for kicking his classmates, Zunzi draws him a comic strip to demonstrate the moral repercussions of such behaviour. Ink artist Chui Pui Chee shows his daughter how to paint, and then observes her interest in brush-washing water over the watercolours; she then declares, “Dad, I teach you to paint!” In Dance With Her, Tang Kwok Hin describes how to teach the language of performance to a child: “Make faces where there are reflections, she will discover what she looks like and then act with herself; when she observes you, you stretch your limbs and she starts to spread her arms like open wings.” In this way, he continues, a child may begin to experiment with this language of movement autonomously. “When the time comes, let your child guide you.” In these fluid role reversals – teaching, experimenting – the possibilities of creation are numerous.

Courtesy Zunzi and Rooftop Institute.

In her introductory note, Stella Fong, who leads the M+ learning and interpretation team, states that artists “may not be the best students, but they are often the best learners”. By learning how to be parents, artists are perhaps also learning more about praxis; even feeding times can be performances, as Kurt Chan notes in The Story of Eating. “A meal with a kid, half done or reluctant to finish; arrange the uneaten food on the container like a ‘picture’. Tell a story, eat a story, eat up the rest of the meal.” Yim Sui Fong, in “learning the meaning of crying every day”, composed an adaptable vocal score based on breastfeeding times and her lamentations. By inhabiting the daily spaces of family, Event Scores by Artists-Parents makes room for every artist’s most important medium: play.


有一個守舊的觀念,覺得藝術家一旦有了孩子後,創意便會枯乾。受父權制度影響,這種偏見尤其常出現在女性藝術家身上。黃慧妍曾在一篇文章中表示:「在我產下孩子後,有些人認為我為了孩子而退休了。」但實際上,她只是暫時放下傳統藝術展覽五年。在2016年,她於Spring Workshop舉辦了一場極具意義的個人展覽「不要太努力讓事情發生」。這次展覽黃慧妍初次嘗試新的創作方法,展現了她為人母後的轉變:學習法語、訓練狗隻、靈性反應療法及彈奏烏克麗麗。

在《事件譜之又係藝術家又係阿爸阿媽》中,黃慧妍和另外48位已為人父母的駐港藝術家指這種脫離傳統藝術創作圈和放下資本主義考量的做法給予了他們更大的創作空間。《事件譜之又係藝術家又係阿爸阿媽》由天台塾出版,書中分成六個章節,收錄了關於藝術家與孩子一同創作的文章及照片。這次的項目以實驗性質的創作模式「事件譜」或「指令藝術」進行。三篇序言由羅玉梅、許寶強及方詠甄撰寫,點出了本書的主題:同理心,玩樂和疫情期間如何在家中設計娛樂活動。

一些罕見於藝術文章的詞彙,例如「好玩」、「開心」、「興奮」和「愛」在本書中常常出現。在記述孩子們的話時,這些藝術家父母盡量避免使用嚴肅冷漠的學術字眼,這次項目亦重新喚回了他們對藝術創作及教育最初的興趣。張嘉莉與女兒合作重現了不同著名的大廈,一起創作出「行為藝術作品」。關尚智透露他的兒子阿文一旦被要求遵從指令就會變得非常緊張,所以他設計了一場遊戲,讓兒子和他進行一場賽跑。這場賽跑的影像最後變成了他在2017年於馬凌畫廊舉行的個人展覽上的展出作品《終結前:四百擊(1959)》。關尚智憶述在展覽開幕時,兒子知道自己幫爸爸完成作品後感到非常興奮。關尚智回答他:「是的,謝謝。」

父母和孩子這樣透過互相指導及試驗以了解對方的感人時刻令人印象深刻。在兒子踢同學後,黃紀鈞並沒有懲罰兒子,他選擇用自己畫的連環漫畫教育孩子這種行為的道德影響。水墨藝術家徐沛之先向女兒示範怎樣畫畫,然後發現比起水彩顏料,女兒對洗筆水的興趣更大,女兒之後更說:「爸爸,我教你畫畫!」在《與她共舞》中,鄧國騫分享怎樣教導孩子表演的表達方法:「在有倒影的地方做鬼臉時,她會看到自己的模樣,然後會與自己做戲;在她觀察你的時候,當你伸展手腳,她亦會嘗試展開雙臂如同打開翅膀。」他續指,這樣孩子就會開始主動嘗試這種肢體的表達。「當時候到了,讓你的孩子指導你。」這樣的指導與試驗帶來了多樣的角色變化,創造出不同的可能性。

M+教學及詮釋組的組長方詠甄在序言中指藝術家「也許不是最好的學生,但他們通常是最好的學習者」。在學習成為父母的同時,這些藝術家可能亦在學習如何實踐;即使餵食孩子也可以是一場表演,如陳育強的《吃故事》。「當孩子吃飯吃到一半或不想吃完時,把吃剩的食物在碗碟上排列成一幅『圖畫』。一邊講故事,一邊吃故事,把剩下的食物吃完。」嚴瑞芳在《胃口歌》以餵奶時間和她對此的悲嘆編寫了一份簡譜。《事件譜之又係藝術家又係阿爸阿媽》融入了家庭的日常生活,為每位藝術家最重要的媒介——玩樂創造空間。

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