Susan Pui San Lok

Deviant Archives / Through the Gate

How might we come to know, or forget, the Gate archive? What questions arise out of the material remains of the Gate Foundation (1988 to 2006), and its dis/integration or dispersal into the Van Abbemuseum collection? Moving circuitously through the catalogued and un-catalogued, the apparent and obscure, I begin by looking out for the Gate’s articulations of ‘Asia’ in its commitment to ‘non-Western art’, and traces of the ‘Asian artists’ who moved through it. Tiong Ang, an artist whose practice traverses both the Gate and Van Abbe, emerges as a particularly interesting figure. Three early works bought by Van Abbe in the mid-1990s were periodlcally exhibited under the museum’s acquisition displays, with ‘Dutch art’ and variant titles. Ang also featured prominently in several Gate projects, foregrounding ‘non-Western’, ‘migrant’, ‘foreign’ and ‘other’ artists. Shifting abruptly from sculptural painterly objects to situation comedy, to collaborative productions and film/performance installations, Ang’s practice arguably exceeds and defies both archive and collection. His deviations through a series of critical and aesthetic turns provoke at least two questions: How might the museum move to re-position Ang’s work? And how might Ang’s work potentially re-position the museum?

Susan Pui San Lok is an artist, writer and researcher based in London. Her work ranges across installation, moving image, sound, performance and text, evolving out of interests in notions of nostalgia and aspiration, place and migration, translation and diaspora. Solo shows include RoCH Fans & Legends at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), Manchester (2016) and Derby QUAD (2015); and Faster, Higher (2008) commissioned by Film & Video Umbrella (FVU) and staged at various venues including BFI Southbank Gallery, London, and MAI, Montreal (2014). Other exhibitions include the 1st Asia Biennial / 5th Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art (2015-16); Everything Flows (2012) at De La Warr Pavilion; DIY Ballroom/Live (2007-08), a Cornerhouse / BBC national touring commission; and Golden (2005-ongoing), originally commissioned by Beaconsfield, London, and CFCCA. She is Associate Professor of Fine Art at Middlesex University and a Co-Investigator on the AHRC research project ‘Black Artists and Modernism’.