Balance Sheets: 15 Minutes with Kit Hammonds
We sit down with the curator behind Edouard Malingue’s latest exhibit that explores the relationship between art and economics
Balance sheets are often associated with commerce, budgets and number crunching. However, Edouard Malingue Gallery’s latest exhibit explores the idea of Balance Sheets in a creative context, taking a look at how we measure value between different fields on paper, along with the importance of balance when it comes to artistic composition.
Kit Hammonds is an independent curator who divides his time between London and Taipei. He tells HongKongTatler.com about Balance Sheets and why the creative and commercial industries have more in common than we originally thought.
Han Ishu, Life scan Taipei, 2014, Inkjet print, 200 x 300 cm
Balance is not about stability, but precariousness. It is just like being on a high wire balance, where someone has to actively maintain something, taking into account both sides at once. Therefore, balance can be seen visually, as is the case of some of the works in the exhibition, but it can also be about how we try to find the best way between different ‘worlds’ – say finance and art. They may appear to be at opposite ends of the scales, but that also means they are connected.
My own concern, and that of many of the artists in the exhibition, is why the financial side appears to carry more weight. In most cases when decisions on the future are made, financial considerations seem to have priority. Regardless of the ethics, it is particularly strange to me that something ‘virtual’ such as money has this sense of importance over the ‘real’ or ‘natural’ world. The division of work and life could be equally stated as the division between economy and ecology – which both are global issues that affect one another.
I had hoped to touch on a subject that is very much at the heart of the city by choosing this topic. Finance is an everyday activity here in Hong Kong, and so people are able to look at these works with a particular perspective and understanding. I see curating exhibitions as making an incomplete puzzle; the different works in the show suggest different viewpoints and draw connections between them through the content and through the visual nature of art. That’s something that art can do differently from say design; it can visualise questions, not just answers.
For the exhibition, I was interested in looking at different ideas of balance. The concept seems to have a lot of meaning for us in all aspects of life. I always find it interesting that ideas are shared between seemingly different areas of culture – it appears to be a human condition: outlook or desire.
Gabriel Kuri, Coin and cigarette butt board HSRP01, 2014, Letterboard, coins and cigarette butts, 61 x 91.4 x 5.1 cm
This is a key issue that this exhibition, and other work I have done as a curator and artist, aims to address:how the language shared in both industries influence one another.There is more of a shared history than one might immediately assume. The languages of 21st century business – creativity, risk, and innovation – were all applied to art in the 20th century.
I’ve selected works by a range of artists, from different regions and different stages in their careers. I don’t feel any one work could be considered a stand out work from the others, but hope that by curating them together in an exhibition, those works will be shown in a new light, and collectively speak about the complexities of the world we have created around ourselves. Finance is one of the languages that most easily translates from one person to another, making it apt that it is at the centre of this exhibition.
With that said, some works have more specific currency than others. Han Ishu’s print shows the occupation of the Legislative Yuan in Taiwan from 2014. The student demonstration was against trade agreements opening up Taiwan to foreign (particularly Chinese) investment being passed without due governmental process and consultation. Along with last year’s demonstrations in Hong Kong that also linked democracy with economic influence, I feel the work has a particular resonance with the gallery’s location in Central.