Open Letter to Gary Pollard, RTHK: Art Basel Coverage

Dear Gary Pollard,

Re: The Works/The Pulse/In Conversation/ RTHK: Art Basel Coverage

Thank you for including me in your TV coverage of Art Basel Hong Kong 2014. I am grateful to be featured so prominently as part of such a prestigious event. However, I would like to clarify certain inaccuracies in the report concerning my relationship with my gallerist and agent, Ms. Helina Chan.

As a performance artist from Singapore, I was well aware that if I wanted to perform at Art Basel Hong Kong, then we would have needed to include the performance portion in our curatorial project application submission to Art Basel. While we were sending in the applications for my participation, I had already decided not to sing or play at the fair. So when I brought the guitar to the fair, it was because a friend had invited me to perform and jam later that night with others in an artist-run pub. This was the mutual understanding and agreement I had with Helina’s gallery and with Art Basel HK.

The arrest of Cheng Guan did make me think that his situation does call for an intervention. However, I did not feel the fair was the appropriate occasion for such an intervention. I was more worried for Cheng Guan’s safety and did not want to do anything that might jeopardize his release. Helina was not aware that I had spoken to the RTHK journalist about the song I had written for Chen Guang, as she was not with me during the interview.

Helina did not want us to disrespect our agreement with Art Basel HK. I agreed with her stance, and knew why she took my guitar to help store it away – although it may not have seemed so to outside parties. Your staff member, Ms. Lau, if I am not mistaken, is an old acquaintance who had worked in Singapore before. She may have seen me grimace and complain when the managing director took my guitar away from me, but she jumped to conclusions.

With regards to the block on seeing and interviewing me, it was my call, as I was dazed and confused after my blackout, so I told the gallery not to allow anyone but friends to reach me on the last day of the fair in Hong Kong.

With all due respect to your good office, I want to clarify that my gallery managing director, Ms. Helina Chan, should not be seen as one who restricted my actions, but in fact is a good and respected partner.

Thank you,
Yours sincerely

Lee Wen




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