Kurt Chan
Prof. Kurt Chan Yuk Keung was born in Hong Kong in 1959. He graduated from Department of Fine Arts, the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1983. Later, he obtained his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, USA. Chan is regarded as a prominent figure in the Hong Kong contemporary art scene since the 1990s, with installation and mixed media art as his early artistic practices. He began his pedagogic career in Department of Fine Arts, The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1989. Having pioneered in teaching installation and mixed media art in systematically structured courses, he nurtured a generation of local art talents. His students also include pivotal figures in the Hong Kong contemporary art scene and educators from various tertiary education institutions. In 2016, Chan retired from his 27-year teaching career at CUHK and later became the Acting Director of Hong Kong Art School.

Chan participated in more than 80 exhibitions, including the 51st Venice Biennale (2005) and the 3rd Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (1999). His creative process is mainly about redefining the textual relationship of found objects through their physicality, which instils his works with a poetic aura. In 2016, he began deploying painting as his major creative medium which is backboned by methodologies of Chinese calligraphy. He focuses on the calligraphic quality in painting and searches for a balance between the Western rational tradition and the Eastern expressionist tradition in his practice.

Chan’s creative principle focuses on comparing Chinese and Western cultures, while exploring the restrictions of various artistic rhetoric and mediums. In his artistic practice, he tries to embrace the diversity in current times using simpler forms and to deploy his exquisite traditional training into the contemporary expressions.

Apart from creating and teaching, Chan has put his focus on public art since 2000, curating and participating in in various large-scale public art projects. He is also one of the founders and editors-in-chief of the Hong Kong Visual Arts Yearbook.

Critical Essays