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「RePlace / RePlay」 展覽關於藝術和首飾創作實踐的可能，並探討可持續發展議題。我喜歡展覽名稱以大、小寫英文子母組成，讓「replace」和「replay」 兩詞一語雙關地提示主題的多個面向：替代、地方、把玩和重用等。這些面向正合乎近來的展覽潮流和社會文化。設計業一直推動可持續發展的消費和生產，本地藝術界近年亦多了舉辦有關地方文化和社區發展的藝術項目，如「時刻導賞員」曾介紹的「九龍城公務員合作社文獻展」和已結業的清山塾文藝空間。
「RePlace / RePlay」展品均以回收物料「升級再造」（upcycling）創作，大多回應因城巿發展和生活消費而產生的廢料議題。展品安排於歌德學院藝廊前後兩區，大體分為主流藝術形式和首飾創作情境為本兩類。首飾創作展品不只關心使用功能，不少背後充滿故事。「垃圾手作」回收各種產品包裝，然後升級再造成不同玩具，亦在網上開放其製作方法，邀請大家把製作過程變成親子活動。程詩賢收集「無用」的碎寶石、碎玻璃及外賣膠蓋等，組合成《Made in Hong Kong Series》胸針系列。由此可見，首飾不再只作裝飾，而是用來說故事的生活物件。
玉器與中國傳統文化關係密切，如人們相信「玉碎」為擋災之兆。陳寶鋒把一隻斷開的玉鐲，以黃銅鑲托，變成一對像半月的手鐲，名為《I Would Still Found You》（我仍會找到你）。他把原來象徵「逝去」的破損，變成「結合」或「重逢」意象，實是材質和意念上的雙重Upcycling。如此，首飾成為創作人表達信念的媒介，不僅是給用家的消費品。當代首飾和其他當代工藝一樣，延續「工藝美術運動」和「Bauhaus」的精神，要為產品賦予靈魂，創造既有功能價值亦能體現人類精神和文化的消費產品。首飾創作人兼大學教授Jack Cunningham博士提出一種首飾類型：「敘事性首飾」（narrative jewellery），強調首飾的意義生產在於創作人、用家和觀者三者的互動。首飾的意義，通過創作人轉化物料及用家或觀者的詮釋而產生，陳寶鋒作品是為一例。當代首飾不只是佩帶者展現身份的象徵符號，首飾的造形與材質，像畫布與顏料，成為創作人表達意念和故事的媒介。當代首飾文化雖然沒有顛覆巿場秩序，但已進佔了一些份額，並在藝術界立足，成為一種創作類式。
「RePlace / RePlay」展覽由香港浸會大學視覺藝術院師生籌辦，參展者亦不乏校友。印象中，該院每年畢業展均有十位八位畢業生以首飾為創作媒介。早年的畢業首飾，多以小型場景及雕塑構成敘事式首飾組合。近年則更多為「類首飾」的小型雕塑，畢業生都以材料特質或文化意涵表達意念。這類創作模糊了首飾與雕塑、實用與觀賞的界線，有效引導觀眾想像和重新定義首飾。
鍾家鵬於觀塘成長，他把城市重建範圍（如裕民坊）的廢木碎磚收集回來，藉作品《Living》記錄當區變遷。那些碎片從《Living》取出能變成胸針，以物寄情，彷彿把歷史時刻扣掛心頭。當代藝術創作模式既跨越範疇，又新舊兼融。除了英國藝術家 Grayson Perry 爵士以仿古陶器和巨幅電腦編織掛氈來繪畫人類文化衝突和差異，不少亞洲當代藝術家經將傳統工藝融合至創作裡，並有意無意間現代化了手藝。因此，當代工藝不止於工藝，而是一種獨特的當代藝術媒介。
日期：14- 30 May 2021
Contemporary Jewellery and their Upcycling Stories
Written by Jeff Leung, edited by Chan Sai-lok / art critics of “Free Walk In”
The exhibition “RePlace/ RePlay” focuses on the possibilities of art and jewellery-making practices and explores the notion of sustainability. I like how the exhibition title plays with upper and lower case letters to devise double entendres that imply the multiple facets of the theme. The wordplay suggests how the theme has incorporated ideas like replace, reuse, playing and places. These aspects are in line with recent trends in exhibitions and social culture. While the design industry has been promoting sustainable consumption and production, the local art scene has also been organising more art projects on local culture and community development in recent years, such as the “Kowloon City Civil Servants' Cooperative Building Societies Exhibition" and the now-defunct Casphalt that Free Walk In has introduced before.
Jewellery that tells stories
Artworks at “RePlace / RePlay” are created through upcycling from recycled materials, responding to the waste issues brought about by urban development and domestic consumption. The exhibits are displayed in two areas in the Goethe-Gallery and Black Box according to two categories: mainstream art forms and contextual jewellery creation. The jewellery pieces not only attend to their function but also to the stories embodied. “Garbage Handmade”, which recycles product packaging and upcycles them into different toys, invites people to turn the creating process into a family activity by sharing their creating method online. Ching Size-yin Cicy collects “useless” pressed glass from old screen, sea glass, gemstones, and plastic caps from takeaway packaging to create brooches for her “Made in Hong Kong Series”. Hence, jewellery is no longer just decorative, but everyday life objects that tell stories.
Jade is closely associated with traditional Chinese culture, such as the belief that “broken jade” is an omen that danger and disasters have been warded off. Chan Po-fung set a broken jade bracelet in brass and turned it into a pair of half-moon shaped bracelet, titled “I Would Still Found You”. He has transformed the original symbol of “lost” into an image of “union” or “reunion”, a double upcycling of materials and ideas. In this way, the jewellery becomes a medium of expression for the creator, and not just a consumer item for the user. Contemporary jewellery, like other contemporary craftsmanship, passes on the essence of the Arts and Crafts movement and Bauhaus, injects souls to the products and creates consumer products that are both functional and embody human spirit and culture. Dr Jack Cunningham, a jewellery creator and a university professor, has introduced a genre of jewellery: “narrative jewellery”, which emphasises that the meaning of jewellery production lies in the interaction between the creator, the user and the viewer. It is created through the transformation of the material by the creator and the interpretation by the user or the viewer. The work of Chan Po-fung is an example. Contemporary jewellery is not just a symbol of the wearer's identity, the shape and material of the jewellery, like canvas and paint, is a medium for the creator to express ideas and stories. Contemporary jewellery culture has yet overturned the market order, but it has begun to gain ground and establish itself as a creative genre in the art world.
Craftsmanship as a Contemporary Art Medium
The “RePlace / RePlay” exhibition is organised by the faculty members of The Academy of Visual Arts of the Hong Kong Baptist University, and many of the exhibiting artists are alumni. My impression is that at least eight to ten graduates have used jewellery as a medium for their artworks for the annual graduation exhibition. In the early years, the jewelleries featured are pieces in groups shown with small scenes and sculptures in a narrative style. In recent years, they have become “jewellery like” small sculptures. Graduates express their ideas in terms of the characteristics of the materials used or cultural connotations. These artworks blur the boundaries between jewellery and sculpture, and the practical and the ornamental, and in doing so opens up the audience’s imagination and encourages them to redefine jewellery.
Grew up in Kwun Tong, Chung Ka-pang Adrian collected the construction work debris from urban redevelopment areas such as Yue Man Square to document the changes in the area through his work “Living”. The fragments from “Living” can be used as brooches which are also a form of sentimental tribute to historical moments that one can carry around. Contemporary art is created in a way that transcends the boundaries of the genre and blends the old with the new. Apart from British artist Sir Grayson Perry's pottery works that imitate antique and giant computer-woven tapestries, which depict cultural clashes and differences, many contemporary Asian artists are incorporating traditional crafts into their work and happened to modernise their craftsmanship. Contemporary craft is therefore not just set of skills and practices, it is a unique medium in contemporary art.
REPLACE / REPLAY: UPCYCLING IN HONG KONG ART AND JEWELLERY
DATE: 14 - 30.05.2021
VENUE: Goethe-Institut Hong Kong, Hong Kong Arts Centre
Anna Grasskamp (Assistant Professor at the Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University)
Ching Sze-yin Cicy (Lecturer at the Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University)