Sculpture was the last launched major discipline in the fine art area of Hong Kong Art School. In Hong Kong, where land is always as precious as gold, we tend to be more cautious towards disciplines that highly require space. In 2008, we moved our Sculpture Studio to the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre (JCCAC) and expanded its scale by covering four studio units, around 3,300 square feet at JCCAC; at the same time, we launched the Sculpture major of the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) programme for the first time. There were rooms for metalworking, woodworking and moulding. Most of the students in the first cohort were graduates from our School’s diploma programme and individuals from the related fields, all of them had long aspired to the discipline. In 2013, we further moved our Sculpture Studio to the Pao Haung Sue Ing (PHSI) campus in Shau Kei Wan, where we had two new outdoor experimental areas. Students often make works that challenge the gravity and the sun. There are ferry berth and old Hong Kong style community nearby; students make use of these resources to make environmental-friendly works and community research projects. Our courses are also designed to keep up with the time: Metalwork can be for creative jewellery design; and sound elements are added into the teaching of traditional copper casting, while students are encouraged to do medium research with personal features. From cement and steel to needlework, from handcraft to ready-made objects, from touchable objects to invisible sounds and even digital videos; the teachers have always been offering students learning advices.
The teachers themselves are active practitioners in the field of sculpture or multimedia. When they join the School, they understand well about the core value of the discipline: The curriculum is flexible and diversified, compatible with students’ personalities; it is designed to encourage the connection between students and the community, and creativity as well as self-reflection are also indispensable.
We learn the traditions and vitalise them, but we are not conventional. We start teaching woodwork from using manual tools; copper casting lessons begin with basic concepts. When the lessons come towards the end, we challenge the students with questions: Sculpture and art are not simply decorations or functional objects, what else are they? Who are the audiences? Who do they serve? When contemporary sculpture has become a challenge to sculpture or art itself, what exactly is sculpture? How do we define the boundary?
Sculpture, not only something built by hands, but is also a language to communicate with the ‘others’, a concept, a way of thinking, a process, a life journey.
WORDS FROM CURATORS 策展人語