“My work can be made on my bedroom floor. In a sense it’s very domestic, very minimal—it can be focused on one simple action.”
Born 1980, Hong Kong. Lives and works in Hong Kong
Kwan Sheung Chi combines an anarchic disposition with a keen sense of the absurd. Although (or perhaps because) he lives in China’s wealthiest city, his art circles around money like a tongue around a sore tooth. In one performance, he cast a gold coin inscribed with the phrase “Hong Kong core values”, then offered it as a prize in a raffle; in another, he destroyed the value of a $HK1000 bill by erasing most of its markings. One Million(2013) is one of a seriesofworks involving the counting of money. A pair of hands begin counting what appear to be half a dozen 100-renminbi notes. But the counting does not stop at six notes, or even ten. An hour passes and it is still in progress, a mechanical shuffle-click sounding off each note.) The supply of money seems infinite, yet—as Robin Peckham observes—since the video actually shows one note-flip digitally multiplied, “the money is never really there”.
Even when Kwan Sheung Chi turns to (apparently) pure farce, his performances have a serious, often quasi-political, aspect. In Doing It With Chi—Making an Exit Bag (2009) and Doing It With Mrs Kwan—Making Pepper Spray (2012) the artist and his wife pose as amateur DIY instructors of the kind that proliferate on YouTube. But the projects they smilingly demonstrate are far from benign. The former results in a euthanasia kit; the latter produces pepper spray—for self-defence, or for use in some future uprising?