Asian American mixed-media and installation artist and cultural activist, Ken Chu's practice looks at the human economies of systems. During his residency, he worked with the local Manchester artistic community to map the formal and informal networks of the local arts ecosystem. The Curio Shop project took form as series of works developed during visits to local art studios as well as informal discussion groups. The artist also worked with local East Asian artists to facilitate a cross-cultural dialogue with artists.
was inspired by the social economy that emerged from Andy Warhol's Factory and explored how a network could serve as an art form itself. The artist worked with local knitters to create a collaborative art work featuring monochrome paintings covered by knitted sleeves. Whilst creating the work, the artist engaged in the knitters' personal and professional networks. Members of the public were encouraged to join in with the work.
The performance All we are saying
(21 Dec) was also associated with this project. The knitted pieces produced during the performance became part of the Challenging Andy artwork.
The final piece produced during the project, Twelve
was a continual video piece developed by Chu with members of the Curio Shop network, a network of East Asian artists developed by Chu during his residency, including Amy Cham, Debbie Chan, Nina Chua, Jess Emmett, Kazuko Kuroda, Yong Kwok, Kwong Lee, Yuen Fong Ling. The work featured photographs of 12 people showing them in a relaxed state and state of exuberance. The work was a documentation of a constructed community and attempted to take the emphasis off the cultural heritage of the participants, so they could be seen as full citizens and acknowledge the value of social economy.
The works produced during his residency were presented in his open studio, Curio Shop
, 27th January-1st February.