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Chair of Sham Shui Po

Vinyl Film & Glass Reinforced Concrete, September 2018

In this series on Art in the MTR Stations, we present installations in the Tsuen Wan line. The definition of what is art or artistic may change from one person to the next. One general definition postulate that “art is the conscious creation of something beautiful or meaningful using skill and imagination.”

Artist Marcel Duchamp said, “You cannot define electricity. The same can be said of art. It is a kind of inner current in a human being or something which needs no definition.”

Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) changed the course of art history with his insistence that art starts with an idea and challenged the concept of what is art by using “ready-mades” as artwork. In 1914, he famously placed an ordinary store-bought “Bottle Rack” on display as art. It was the first true example of a ready-made piece, elevated to the status of “art” by an artist. Duchamp is considered the father of Conceptual Art – a major artistic movement that challenged traditional forms and methods and instead used mass-produced everyday objects placed in unusual contexts and spaces.   

Chair of Sham Shui Po is an installation that challenges and inspires, borne from the ideas of Conceptual Art. Professors and a team of fourteen students from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) took part in a twelve-week exercise to explore Sham Shui Po and decide on a motif that unifies the community. They decided to champion the ubiquitous plastic stool, a classic Hong Kong “ready-made”. Once chosen, they presented it in life-sized photographs that they applied to pillars and walls with vinyl film. The images provide the visual context and helped the installation successfully create an illusion of neighbourhood alleyways existing on the train concourse. The statues of stools made of glass-reinforced concrete contribute to that illusion. This installation succeeds at creating a space and place that allow the audience, the MTR passengers, to complete the artwork by standing within the work – thus becoming part of concept.