THE INFINITE
NOTHING
NOTHING
THE INFINITE
Highlights
  • Exhibition catalogue – buy onlineThe illustrated catalogue explores the intricate layers of Tsang's artistic practice through an overview of his previous work, an artist-curator interview, and an examination of the philosophies and ideologies crystallised within the Venice exhibition.
  • Walkthrough of 'The Infinite Nothing'Conceived specifically for the exhibition, ‘The Infinite Nothing’ consists of four stand-alone video installations that, altogether, form a narrative of transformative journeys through stages in life, exploring a perpetual cycle of self-inquiry and discovery.
  • Photo gallery of 'The Infinite Nothing'Get a glimpse of the immersive journey of the exhibition featuring four stand-alone video installations that intend to represent a perpetual cycle of self-inquiry and discovery.
  • Ashley's Venice Photo DiaryLearn more about our interns' experiences in Venice via the Interns' Blog.
  • Exhibition catalogue – buy onlineThe illustrated catalogue explores the intricate layers of Tsang's artistic practice through an overview of his previous work, an artist-curator interview, and an examination of the philosophies and ideologies crystallised within the Venice exhibition.
  • Walkthrough of 'The Infinite Nothing'Conceived specifically for the exhibition, ‘The Infinite Nothing’ consists of four stand-alone video installations that, altogether, form a narrative of transformative journeys through stages in life, exploring a perpetual cycle of self-inquiry and discovery.
  • Photo gallery of 'The Infinite Nothing'Get a glimpse of the immersive journey of the exhibition featuring four stand-alone video installations that intend to represent a perpetual cycle of self-inquiry and discovery.
  • Ashley's Venice Photo DiaryLearn more about our interns' experiences in Venice via the Interns' Blog.
  • Exhibition catalogue – buy onlineThe illustrated catalogue explores the intricate layers of Tsang's artistic practice through an overview of his previous work, an artist-curator interview, and an examination of the philosophies and ideologies crystallised within the Venice exhibition.
  • Walkthrough of 'The Infinite Nothing'Conceived specifically for the exhibition, ‘The Infinite Nothing’ consists of four stand-alone video installations that, altogether, form a narrative of transformative journeys through stages in life, exploring a perpetual cycle of self-inquiry and discovery.
  • Photo gallery of 'The Infinite Nothing'Get a glimpse of the immersive journey of the exhibition featuring four stand-alone video installations that intend to represent a perpetual cycle of self-inquiry and discovery.
  • Ashley's Venice Photo DiaryLearn more about our interns' experiences in Venice via the Interns' Blog.

Tsang Kin-Wah

Born in Shantou, China in 1976, Tsang Kin-Wah lives and works in Hong Kong. He studied fine arts at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and book arts at the Camberwell College of Arts in London. His work is well known and critically acclaimed for its innovative use of text and language, which are manipulated by using computer technology to create immersive installations.

The artist has exhibited extensively. Recent solo exhibitions include 'We Know: NOTHING', Ark Galerie, Yogyakarta (2014); 'Ecce Homo Trilogy I', Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong (2012); 'MAM Project 015: Tsang Kin-Wah', Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2011); 'Tsang Kin-Wah: The Third Seal', Pekin Fine Arts, Beijing (2009); 'What Are You Looking At?', Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester (2008); 'Tsang Kin-Wah', Yvon Lambert, Paris (2008) and New York (2007). He has also presented his work globally in numerous group exhibitions and museums, such as Sharjah Calligraphy Biennale, Sharjah (2014); 3rd Mediations Biennale, Poznan, (2012); 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, Shenzhen (2012); 2011 Asian Art Biennial, Taichung (2011); Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2010); 17th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney (2010);

 

1st Aichi Triennale, Nagoya (2010); 10th Lyon Biennale, Lyon (2009) and Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (2008), among others. His work was also showcased in M+’s second public exhibition of Hong Kong artists, 'Mobile M+: Yau Ma Tei', in 2012.

Tsang is the recipient of the TDC Prize, Tokyo Type Directors Club Annual Awards (2007); Sovereign Asian Art Prize, Sovereign Art Foundation (2005) and winner of the Prize of Excellence at Hong Kong Art Biennial (2001). His work is held in several important private and public collections including Burger Collection and The Sigg Collection in Switzerland, A3 Collection of Kadist Art Foundation in San Francisco, DSL Collection in Paris, Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, CODA Museum in the Netherlands, Hong Kong Museum of Art and Hong Kong Heritage Museum.

Learn more about Tsang Kin-Wah’s previous works at
www.tsangkinwah.com

The Infinite Nothing – Trailer

Exhibition

Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing?

The work of Tsang Kin-Wah can be characterised as a sustained and constant search for meaning in life, with a full understanding of its potential futility. The title of Tsang’s solo exhibition as well as of the suite of four new video projections created for it, The Infinite Nothing continues this artistic and philosophical exploration. The title is derived from a passage in Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Gay Science (1882), in which appears the notorious pronouncement of the death of God: ‘Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space?’ Around this central idea, Tsang brings together a host of philosophical concepts expressed through metaphors and allegories, along with religious symbolisms and popular cultural references.

 

Included in this panoply of ideas are Heraclitus’s river into which ‘one cannot step twice’; Plato’s Cave Allegory; and Nietzsche’s notions of ‘Camel Spirit’, ‘slave morality’ and ‘the Overman’. The Hindu/Buddhist notions of karma and reincarnation, which are important influences in the artist’s practice, play a role here as well, and two films — Béla Tarr’s The Turin Horse (2011) and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) — also provide sources of inspiration. Altogether, the exhibition manifests Tsang’s continuing inquiry into systems of religious belief and the human quest for self-betterment. This search is realised in this exhibition in the form of a cycle of four stages of transformation, titled 0, I, I and 0 respectively, with the end of the journey leading back to its beginning, thus giving physical shape to another Nietzschean concept, that of ‘eternal recurrence’.

close

What is in Tsang Kin-Wah's Mind?

Christianity is the first state of the Three Metamorphoses, which describe the transformation of human consciousness, as presented in Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The weight-bearing camel is the image of the weary soul burdened by the trials and obligations of life, undertaken through a sense of duty. When the dutiful camel begins to question his condition, it transforms into a fearless lion; once the lion succeeds in challenging the dragon of tradition, it transforms into an innocent child who, as an embodiment of freedom, is able to create new values and beliefs. Having passed through these Three Metamorphoses, the individual becomes the overman, who possesses the will to power.
Introduction
Trailer
Mindmap

Co-Curators

Doryun Chong, Chief Curator, M+, West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong

Doryun Chong assumed the post of Chief Curator, M+ in September 2013. He oversees all aspects of curatorial activities, including collection, exhibitions and symposiums, as well as learning and interpretation. Prior to joining M+, Mr. Chong held the position Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York from 2009 to 2013. At MoMA, he acquired contemporary works for the collection as well as organised special exhibitions, including Tokyo 1955-1970: A New Avant-Garde, selected by the New York Times and Artforum as one of the best museum exhibitions of 2012. Chong has also worked at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, served as the coordinator for the Korean Pavilion exhibition at the 2001 Venice Biennale, and worked as curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis between 2003 and 2009. During his time at the Walker, he organised a number of exhibitions including major retrospectives of Huang Yong Ping and Tetsumi Kudo. Chong has also contributed writings to a wide range of contemporary art periodicals such as Artasiapacific, Artforum, Parkett, Afterall, The Exhibitionist, and Bijutsu Techo (Japan) and Art in Culture (Korea).

 

Stella Fong, Curator, Learning & Interpretation, M+, West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong

Stella Fong is Curator of Learning and Interpretation at M+. Previously, she worked as Senior Assistant Curator at Hong Kong Museum of Art (2010-2011) and Hong Kong Heritage Museum (1997-2009), and curated numerous exhibitions including megARTstore (2006), which featured over 300 works from the museum collection along with 10 commissioned projects by architects, artists and designers. Her other professional experiences include: curatorial internship at Liverpool Biennial in 2004; Asian Cultural Council Fellowship in 2007; and participation in the International Studio & Curatorial Program in New York (2007) and the International Curators’ Exchange Programme at Tate Modern (2010). Parallel to her full-time museum work, in 2008 she founded “wrongplace” a research collective focusing on exhibition practices and in 2010 instigated the one-year project “Exhibiting Experiments × Experimenting Exhibitions”, which questioned the exhibition itself as a form and process. She holds a M.A. in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art in London, a graduate diploma in Museum Studies from the University of Sydney and a B.A. in Fine Art from The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Consulting Curator

Lars Nittve, Executive Director, M+

Following studies at the Stockholm School of Economics, a M.A. at Stockholm University and Post Graduate Studies at New York University, Dr Nittve served as a lecturer in art history at the University of Stockholm (1978-85). During the same period he held a post as senior art critic at the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet, and contributed regularly to Artforum magazine, New York.

Dr Nittve was appointed chief curator at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 1986. He served as the founding Director of Rooseum – Center for Contemporary Art in Malmö, Sweden 1990-1995. In July 1995, Dr Nittve became the Director of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, Denmark, where he also curated the ground-breaking exhibition Sunshine & Noir – Art in L.A. 1960-1997 and the first solo exhibition of Cai GuoQiang outside Asia. In 1998, he was named the first Director of Tate Modern, London, which opened in May 2000 to great acclaim. In November 2001, he returned to Moderna Museet in Stockholm as Director. Since January 2011, Dr Nittve has been with the West Kowloon Cultural District as the Executive Director of M+.

Curators
Consulting Curator

Co-Presenters

M+

A cornerstone of the ambitious West Kowloon Cultural District, M+ is Hong Kong’s new museum for visual culture, encompassing 20th and 21st century art, design and architecture, and moving image from Hong Kong, China, Asia and beyond.

From its vantage point in one of the world’s most dynamic regions, M+ will document the past, inform the present and contribute to the future of visual culture within an ever more interconnected global landscape. The museum will take an inter-disciplinary approach that both challenges and respects existing boundaries, while creating a meeting point for a diversity of perspectives, narratives and audiences.

Since 2012, M+ has been presenting a wide range of public programmes and exhibitions, and is building a permanent collection, in the run-up to the scheduled 2018 completion of the museum building designed by Herzog & de Meuron with TFP Farrells and Ove Arup & Partners HK. To find out more about M+, please visit www.westkowloon.hk/mplus.

West Kowloon Cultural District

Located on the Victoria Harbour, the West Kowloon Cultural District is one of the largest cultural projects in the world. Its vision is to create a vibrant cultural quarter for Hong Kong. With a complex of M+, theatres and performance spaces, the district will produce and host world-class exhibitions, performances and cultural events, as well as provide 23 hectares of public open space, including a two kilometre water-front promenade. To find out more about West Kowloon Cultural District, please visit www.westkowloon.hk.

 

Hong Kong Arts Development Council

Established in 1995, the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (ADC) is a statutory body set up by the government to support the broad development of the arts including literary arts, performing arts, visual arts as well as film and media arts in Hong Kong. Aiming to foster a thriving arts environment and enhance the quality of life of the public, the ADC is also committed to facilitating community-wide participation in the arts and arts education, encouraging arts criticism, raising the standard of arts administration and strengthening the work on policy research.

Major development strategies:

  • Supporting promising artists and arts groups for artistic pursuits
  • Promoting arts administration to improve the management of arts groups
  • Focusing on the arts environment and proposing policy recommendations
  • Enhancing public participation and exploring arts space
  • Fostering strategic partnerships and bringing arts resources together

The ADC has been taken part in the International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia as a collateral event since 2001, with an aim to enhance exchange and communication between Hong Kong and other countries in the world. About 460,000 people have visited the past seven exhibitions.
To find out more about ADC, please visit www.hkadc.org.hk.

Catalogue


Tsang Kin-Wah: The Infinite Nothing
Hong Kong in Venice

Authors: Doryun Chong, Stella Fong, Sharon Chan, Winnie Lai
Publisher: M+, West Kowloon Cultural District
ISBN: 978-988-16240-7-9
Language: English and Chinese
Retail Price: HKD 280
No. of Pages: 248

This illustrated bilingual (Chinese and English) catalogue was published in conjunction with ‘Tsang Kin-Wah: The Infinite Nothing’, a solo exhibition by Hong Kong artist Tsang Kin-Wah at the 56th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia. The text explores the intricate layers of Tsang's artistic practice through an overview of his previous work, an artist-curator interview, and an examination of the philosophies and ideologies crystallised within the Venice exhibition. With contributions from Tsang Kin-Wah, Doryun Chong, Stella Fong, Winnie Lai, and Sharon Chan.

 

Buy Online

 

 

Gallery


Installation views of 'Tsang Kin-Wah: The Infinite Nothing, Hong Kong in Venice' at the 56th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia

Image courtesy of the artist

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Visit

9 May to 22 November 2015
10am – 6pm (10am - 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 May till 26 September 2015)
Closed on Mondays (except 11 May, 1 June and 16 November)

Campo della Tana, Castello 2126-30122, Venice, Italy
(Opposite the main entrance of Arsenale)

Vaporetto Stops: Arsenale or Giardini
Line: 1, 2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1 or 5.2

See Google Map

 

Venice Biennale Talk

As part of ‘Tsang Kin-Wah: The Infinite Nothing’, M+ has organised a series of talks in Hong Kong from May to July 2015 that take Tsang’s artistic practice and influences as a starting point to expand public understanding about key concepts in contemporary

art, as well as provide a greater context for Tsang's newly-commissioned work for Venice. Among the topics will be philosophy and film, and the relationship between art and language.

Free Entry. Online registration is required.
  • 7:00-9:00pm
  • agnès b. cinema, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
  • 2200-0204 / m+@wkcda.hk
Talk Series
  • On ‘The Infinite Nothing’

    26th May, Tuesday
    Detail
  • On the Threshold of Nihilism

    17th Jun, Wednesday
    Detail
  • On Language and Art

    27th Jul, Monday
    Detail

On ‘The Infinite Nothing’

Tuesday 26th May, 7:00-9:00pm

Tsang Kin-Wah’s oeuvre can be characterised as a search for the meaning of life, with a full understanding of its potential futility. The conceptual underpinning of his solo presentation at the 56th Venice Biennale, The Infinite Nothing, is a reference to Friedrich Nietzsche’s notorious pronouncement of the death of God in The Gay Science (1882). In this exhibition, Tsang brings together a host of philosophical concepts expressed through metaphor and allegory, along with religious symbolism and popular cultural references in four video works titled 0, I, I and 0.

In the first talk in the series, exhibition curators Doryun Chong and Stella Fong, and artist Tsang Kin-Wah will share their experience of mounting Hong Kong’s participation in Venice from concept to realisation. They will be joined by Professor Chan Yuk Keung, a past participating artist in the Venice Biennale, who will expand the discussion on Tsang Kin-Wah’s artistic practice and representing Hong Kong in Venice.

 

 
  • Doryun Chong, Stella Fong and Tsang Kin-Wah
  • View biography
  • Professor Chan Yuk Keung, Department of Fine Arts, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • English and Cantonese, with simultaneous interpretation
  • Online registration is now full. Thank you for your interest. Walk-in registrations will be allowed depending on the availability of seats on the day.
  • RegisterBack

On the Threshold of Nihilism

Wednesday 17th Jun, 7:00-9:00pm

This talk will focus on the relationship between philosophy and film with particular reference to how the concepts of Friedrich Nietzsche are manifested in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Nietzsche’s ideas are also central to Tsang Kin-Wah’s, The Infinite Nothing.

During his life, Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) believed that he was born too early. He criticized his contemporaries as being too easily contented with their lives, and unable to fathom the purpose or potentiality of their lives; that they appeared to be like herds of sheep rather than ‘men’. 

Nietzsche’s time was one of existential crisis in which he questioned whether human existence had any meaning or value. Within this nihilistic tendency in Western Europe, Nietzsche asserted that traditional values such as freedom, equality, moral responsibility, rationality and forgiveness etc. represented 2000 years of self-deception. 

Nietzsche’s concept of ‘the Overman’, exemplified by Zarathustra, stated that some men can only evolve as humans superficially; they eventually fall into mediocrity and become ‘common men’. He gives the example of Zarathustra arriving at the market, and witnessing a tightrope walker plunging to his death because he cannot withstand the bustling crowd.

Envisioning the future in the year 1968, film director Stanley Kubrick played the anthem of Thus Spoke Zarathustra in 2001: A Space Odyssey. In our modernity, we pay tribute to Stanley Kubrick in Interstellar, where once again man longs to gaze into the future.

What is modernity?
Nietzsche thought that modernity is the era in which ‘God is dead’; the era of ‘the last men’, of the ‘twilight of the idols’, and the threshold of ‘nihilism’.

 

 
  • Professor Tao Kwok-cheung, Department of Philosophy, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • View biography
  • Yung Ma, M+ Associate Curator, Moving Image
  • Cantonese, with English simultaneous interpretation
  • Online registration is now full. Thank you for your interest. Walk-in registrations will be allowed depending on the availability of seats on the day.
  • RegisterBack

On Language and Art

Monday 27th Jul, 7:00-9:00pm

Modern and contemporary art has been a site of intense linguistic production for over a century. Visual artists’ experiments with language have developed new ways of seeing it as a material resource, subject to transformative processes of creativity and symbolic manipulation that, at times, contravene or subvert dominant language ideologies – our received beliefs of what language ‘is’ or what it should be ‘like’. In this talk, Professor Jaworski will trace some developments of language use in Dada, Surrealism, Pop Art, Conceptualism, Performance Art and other text-based artists including Tsang Kin-Wah, in order to examine the meaning potential of language in art through the affordances of its design, scale, materiality, emplacement, animation and other formal features. Artists’ linguistic ideologies emerging from these performative uses of language will be put into dialogue with current sociolinguistic work on globalisation, commodification and creativity.

 

 
  • Adam Jaworski, Professor, School of English, The University of Hong Kong
  • View biography
  • Tina Pang, M+ Curator, Hong Kong Visual Culture
  • English, with Cantonese simultaneous interpretation
  • Online registration is now full. Thank you for your interest. Walk-in registrations will be allowed depending on the availability of seats on the day.
  • RegisterBack

Acknowledgement

Co-commissioners
Wilfred Wong, Chairman, Hong Kong Arts Development Council
Victor Lo, Chairman, Museum Committee,
West Kowloon Cultural District Authority

Co-curators
Doryun Chong, Chief Curator, M+
Stella Fong, Curator, Learning & Interpretation, M+

Consulting Curator
Lars Nittve, Executive Director, M+

With
Sharon Chan, Assistant Curator, M+
Apple Yu, Curatorial Intern, M+

Learning Programme by
Tina Pang, Curator, Hong Kong Visual Culture, M+
Winnie Lai, Assistant Curator, Learning & Interpretation, M+
Joey Yau, Curatorial Assistant, Learning & Interpretation, M+

Supported by
Veronica Castillo, Head, Collection & Exhibition Services, M+
Moody Tang, Assistant Registrar, M+
Noah Wilson, M+ Collection & Exhibition Technician, M+

 

Project Team of Hong Kong Arts Development Council
Betty Mak
Wendy Tso
Brenda Lam
Gigi Tong

The Working Group of Hong Kong Arts Development Council
Chairman:
Chris Chan

Members:
Caroline Cheng
Leung Sung-yum
Alan Lo
Magnus Renfrew
Ellen Pau
Sara Wong

Coordinator in Venice
PDG Arte Communications

Technical Support
Dino Tech

Visit

9 May to 22 November 2015
10am – 6pm (10am - 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 May till 26 September 2015)
Closed on Mondays (except 11 May, 1 June and 16 November)

Campo della Tana, Castello 2126-30122, Venice, Italy
(Opposite the main entrance of Arsenale)

Vaporetto Stops: Arsenale or Giardini
Line: 1, 2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1 or 5.2

See Google Map

 

Venice Biennale

The Venice Biennale, founded in 1895, has been one of the most important cultural institutions in the world. Covering a wide range of disciplines, including art, architecture, cinema, dance, music and theatre, it aims to promote new artistic trends in contemporary arts. The documentation of its main activities is contained in its own Contemporary Arts Archive, which is a key point of reference for the study of contemporary arts.

For more information, please visit www.labiennale.org

Venice Biennale

Looking Back: Hong Kong in Venice

Watch previous curators and artists from Hong Kong share their experience of representing Hong Kong in the Venice Biennale since 1999 (the 48th Biennale). Moderated by Tina Pang, with (curators) Kith Tsang, Sabrina Fung, Norman Ford & Tobias Berger and (artists) Ho Siu Kee, Ellen Pau, Kurt Chan, MAP Office, Hiram To & Kwok Mang-ho (Frog King) as guest speakers.

(See: Looking Back: Hong Kong in Venice, 22 June 2013, 3:00-6:00pm)

Back

 

Venice Biennale

Looking Back: Hong Kong in Venice

Watch previous curators and artists from Hong Kong share their experience of representing Hong Kong in the Venice Biennale since 1999 (the 48th Biennale). Moderated by Tina Pang, with (curators) Kith Tsang, Sabrina Fung, Norman Ford & Tobias Berger and (artists) Ho Siu Kee, Ellen Pau, Kurt Chan, MAP Office, Hiram To & Kwok Mang-ho (Frog King) as guest speakers.

(See: Looking Back: Hong Kong in Venice, 22 June 2013, 3:00-6:00pm)

Back

Venice Biennale

Looking Back: Hong Kong in Venice

Watch previous curators and artists from Hong Kong share their experience of representing Hong Kong in the Venice Biennale since 1999 (the 48th Biennale). Moderated by Tina Pang, with (curators) Kith Tsang, Sabrina Fung, Norman Ford & Tobias Berger and (artists) Ho Siu Kee, Ellen Pau, Kurt Chan, MAP Office, Hiram To & Kwok Mang-ho (Frog King) as guest speakers.

(See: Looking Back: Hong Kong in Venice, 22 June 2013, 3:00-6:00pm)

Back

Past Exhibitions

Since Hong Kong’s debut in 2001, the goal has always been to use the Venice Biennale as a platform to promote Hong Kong artists on the global stage. The past participating visual art artists include Lee Kit, Kwok Mang-ho (Frog King), Pak Sheung Chuen, MAP Office, Hiram To, Amy Cheung, anothermountainman, Chan Yuk-keung, Para/Site Collective , Ho Siu-kee, Leung Chi-wo and Ellen Pau.

In 2013, M+ and ADC presented Lee Kit’s solo exhibition ‘You (you).’ at the Venice Art Biennale. The exhibition received critical acclaim internationally and Lee Kit was selected as ‘one of the five artists to watch’ (Wall Street Journal) at the biennale.