Gao Brothers’ Performance: World Hug Day – Hong Kong

Gao Brothers: Gao Zhen and Gao Qiang, Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya

Jul 29, 2009

Venue: Main entrance, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Curated by: Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya
Supported by: Hong Kong Arts Centre

Para Site Art Space is honored to bring Gao Brothers’ warm hugs from China to Hong Kong. Strangers are invited to choose a person at random for a hug, which they will then do simultaneously with other couples, accompanied by music. The mass hugging performance World Hug Day— Hong Kong will be staged outside Hong Kong Arts Centre on 29 July 2009 at 5pm. Everyone is welcome to show up and participate.

The group hug performance was first done in Shangdong Province, China in 2000. Since then they have taken their big hugs to different public locations in countries like China, Germany and UK. The performance challenges the use of public space in Hong Kong. The project engages in the way public space is controlled and brings an intimate act into the public arena, and is connected with the development of “Body Art” in the 70s and “Relational Art” in the 90’s. In China its meaning is connected to the echoes and resonances of the effect of the Cultural Revolution in people’s behaviour. In 2001 Harald Szeemann invited the Gao Brothers to perform their “Utopia of the Embrace” as part of 49 Venice Biennial, on this occasion the artists where famously banned from traveling and unable to attend their own performance.

The Gao Brothers are based in Beijing and are authors of several published works, including “How Far Can You Walk in One Day in Beijing”, “The Current State Of Chinese Avant-Garde Art” and “The Report Of Art Environment”. They have been collaborating on installation, performance, sculpture, photography works and writing since the mid1980s. They are well known for their politically charged art. Their work has been included in “A History Of China Modern Art”,” China Avant-garde Photography”, “The Best Photography Of China”, etc. and is held in private and museums collections, including China National Art Museum, Centre Georges Pompidou, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art etc.

This project is part of a series of public performances initiated last January by Tatsumi Orimoto.