The Human Body: Measure and Norms
“My body: it is the place without recourse to which I am condemned.”
Michel Foucault, The Utopian Body (1966)
The human body does not only reflect a reality: its symbolic and imaginative dimensions are also even more substantial.
When dealing with measurement and norms, it appears rapidly that the body is easily reduced to its own image, to an object of survey and comparison. Statistical evaluation of human activities, eye tracking, the graphic representation of presumed “deviant” behaviour… all these new kinds of knowledge are constituting new forms of power that scrutinize, anticipate and potentially govern how we act, see and think. This exhibition highlights and questions the social constraints imposed on the body as a physical, social and political entity, by playing on scales and masses, lines and space.
It deals with the body as a marker of territories, both physical and psychic, as the ultimate reference from which to define oneself and the others, and from which an idea of normality can take shape.
Beyond this, it explores the possibilities of freeing the body from these representations to bypass norms, and, eventually, to move away from anthropocentrism.
Tackling the topic of the body requires physical involvement of the audience. At the entrance, visitors are given white laboratory coats of a Hong Kong standard size: an immediate way to compare oneself with the average individual from the territory.
It implies an evolution from the simple awareness of the limits of physical body to the body as a tool for setting norms and founding discriminations. It finishes with an attempt to transgress these norms and, convening spirituality, to find a form of freedom beyond the body’s limitations.
This exhibition is part II of a Hong Kong trilogy: bestiary, body & soul.
About the curator Caroline Ha Thuc
Caroline Ha Thuc is a French art writer and curator based in Hong Kong. Specialised in Asian contemporary art, she contributes to different magazines such as ArtPress in France and Pipeline in Hong Kong. Since 2011, her work has focused mainly on Hong Kong and Chinese art. In 2013, she published a book about the Hong Kong art scene: Contemporary Art in Hong Kong, a co-publication in French and English (Nouvelles Editions Scala and Asia One). She recently published a book about Chinese contemporary art analysing the interactions between the art scene and China's rapidly changing society (Nouvelles Editions Scala, France & MIP, Hong Kong, for the English and comprehensive version). As a curator, she focuses on promoting the dialogue between artists from different cultures. She recently curated for the YIA Art Fair in Paris an in-situ installation by Kacey Wong in the courtyard of the City Hall (4th arrondissement).