36 Calendars, 2012; Mixed media on paper in box, 42×20.7cm

On 22 January 2013, Beijing-based artist Song Dong (b. 1966) will open his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong. Entitled ‘Song Dong: 36 Calendars’, the exhibition is co-presented by Asia Art Archive (AAA) and Mobile M+, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.

Conceived and initiated during his residency at AAA in October 2011 and January 2012, Song spent more than a year realising this ambitious participatory project which involves the re-writing of the last 36 years of history (1978-2013) from his personal perspective in the form of 36 years of hand-drawn, wire-bound annual household wall calendars. Each of the 432 months is accompanied by a sketch of a significant historical event, relaying Song’s longtime interest in socio-political history, individual experience, and art history.

During the exhibition opening, Song Dong invites over 400 members of the public to collaborate with him to complete the project by adding, changing, or editing individual months according to their own memories of historical events. Alongside Song Dong’s version of the calendar, participants’ creations will add another layer to the artwork, on display throughout the exhibition period from 22 January to 8 February 2013.

SONG Dong was born in Beijing in 1966 and is one of the most important contemporary artists working today. Since the early 1990s, his artistic practice has focused on video, installation, performance, photography, and theatre, as well as curating contemporary art exhibitions. The artist participated in Documenta 13 in 2012. He received the Young Artist Award from the UNESCO/ASCHBERG bursary laureate in 2000, the Grand Award from the 2006 Gwangju Biennale, the Annual Award from the Fifth Artron Art China in 2010, and Certificate of Honor from the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco in 2011. Song’s solo exhibitions include ‘Waste Not’ at The Curve, Barbican Centre, London, in 2012; ‘Dad and Mom, Don’t Worry About Us We Are All Well’ at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco in 2011; and ‘Project 90: Song Dong’ at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2009. He has participated widely in the major international arts festivals.

36 Calendars (2), 2012; Mixed media on paper in box, 42X20.7cm


22 January – 8 February 2013

Venue: ArtisTree, 1/F Cornwall House, 979 King’s Road, Quarry Bay

Opening Hours: 11 am to 7pm


A series of related public and educational programmes around the project will take place at ArtisTree during the exhibition. More details will be available in early January. Please email 36calendars@aaa.org.hk for registration.

Artist talk | Song Dong

Saturday 26 January

Mandarin with English interpretation | 5-6pm

Panel Discussion

Saturday 26 January

English and Cantonese| 2:30-4:30pm

Speakers: Prof David Clarke, Department of Fine Arts, the University of Hong Kong | Liu Xiangcheng, photo-journalist


Interactive tours will help visitors understand the exhibition, as well as other works by Song Dong.

Public Tour Led by Song Dong

Sunday 27 January

Mandarin | 11am-12pm

Weekend Guided Tours

Duration: 45 minutes

Saturday 26 January

English | 2pm

Cantonese | 4:30pm

Sunday 27 January

English | 4:30pm

Cantonese | 2pm | 5pm

Saturday 2 February

English | 11am | 2pm

Cantonese | 4:30pm

Sunday 3 February

English | 11am | 4:30pm

Cantonese | 2pm | 5pm

Guided Tours for School Groups

45-minute tours for primary and secondary school groups may be arranged on weekdays on request. Interested parties should return a completed reply slip to 36Calendars@aaa.org.hk or by fax to +852 2815 0021 by 8 January.


Socially engaged art varies in its use of traditional art objects, conceptual-based, research-based, and participatory elements, among many other forms, to arouse critical discussion about society. Song Dong’s current art project ‘36 Calendars’ is one example, demonstrating how contemporary art can invite multiple perspectives to re-think, re-present, and re-interpret the history of a culture. ‘36 Calendars’ by Song Dong will provide a starting point for these workshops; other artworks that are similar in nature will also be introduced.

Visual Arts Teacher Workshop

Saturday 26 January

Cantonese | 11am-1pm

Teaching Artist: Clara Cheung

Liberal Studies Teacher Workshop

Saturday 2 February

Cantonese | 11am-1pm

Teaching Artist: Clara Cheung

Registration: 36calendars@aaa.org.hk


History = Histories

The narrative power of authority in this information boom drowns out individual voices. Our workshop for young people is a collective reflection on the value of history. Let’s be empowered to create histories that belong to us all.

This programme is organised by PageNEXT, initiated to introduce AAA to other young people (aged 15-30) and promote contemporary art in society.

Sunday 27 January

Guided tour

Cantonese | 2-2:30pm


Cantonese | 2:30-4:30pm

Registration: 36calendars@aaa.org.hk


Talk | Small stories, big history – ways of telling

Programme by the General Education Unit, The University of Hong Kong

Saturday 2 February

Cantonese | 2:30-4pm

Speaker: Dr C H Ng

There are two ways to write history. One looks for grand narratives. The other digs up personal stories. Some say they give us different histories. Some say there is only one. Grand narratives are, after all, composed of personal stories. Both are essential to understanding the variable paths of social development, especially for a place like Hong Kong, where the search for real or imagined collective identities is high on the cultural agenda. This can be seen in areas like women’s history, popular culture, and the history of the ‘people’ in general. Dr C H Ng will share his involvement in related projects to expand on the why, what, and how of storytelling as a form of history.

More details and enquiries: gened@hku.hk | http://gened.hku.hk

Workshop | In the know: experiments in spatial memory

Programme by Adam Bobbette, Melissa Cate Christ, and Andrew Toland, Division of Landscape Architecture, HKU

Saturday 2 February

English | 4:30-6:30pm

This workshop will guide participants through a series of experiments in spatial memory, tracing and overlaying their present and past routine paths through the urban landscape of Hong Kong. The two-hour session will culminate in an idiosyncratic guidebook to the secret routes of the city through collage, mapping, and mixed media construction.

Limit: 50 participants

Registration and enquiries: info@stairculture.com

More details: www.stairculture.com

Workshop | A few footnotes

Programme by artmatters

Sunday 3 February

Cantonese | 11am-1pm

We learned about history in school. Those distant, monolithic narratives might have faded into oblivion, but history always has its footing in our memories. artmatters will introduce historical facts and related works of art as footnotes to select historical moments captured in ‘Song Dong: 36 Calendars.’ Together with participants, we will add layers of personal histories onto the series.

Limit: 30 participants

Enquiries: Sumyi Li +852 6991 9637

More details: www.facebook.com/artmattershk

Group discussion| Invisible city, invisible people

Programme by 30SGroup

Sunday 3 February

Cantonese | 2:30-4:30pm

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino is a collection of surreal short stories about cities visited by the traveler Marco Polo. These are places where memory, desire, design, and sign are all met through philosophical experiments of transience, eternality, aging, and death.

Invisible People are the wanted and unwanted aesthetic of an unforgiving city. What do the most glorious and the most humble say?

Registration: events@30sgroup.org.hk

Enquiries: Helen Leung | helen@designgosocial.org.hk

More details: www.30sgroup.org

Affiliated Programme Partners:


Adam Bobbette, Melissa Cate Christ, and Andrew Toland, Division of Landscape Architecture, HKU


General Education Unit, The University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong Society For Education In Art


This event is part of Artist-in-residence: Song Dong

Courtesy Song Dong and Asia Art Archive, for further information please visit www.aaa.org.hk.

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