An exposition, not an exhibition

Ari Benjamin Meyers
Saturday March 11 – Saturday April 1, 2017
Location: Spring Workshop, Hong Kong


Can we imagine a space for music that exists outside of recordings, headphones and concerts? Taking this question as a departure, An exposition, not an exhibition by American composer and artist Ari Benjamin Meyers presents new works developed from ongoing research into dissolving the delineation between contemporary art and music.

Meyers sculpts elements—compositions, sites, performers and audience members—into a meta-score that challenges conventions around and perceptions of what we think of as music and musical performance. Specifically, and for the first time, the artist takes as his starting point the grey area of what is commonly referred to as “contemporary” or “new” music. As a trained composer who works in the field of contemporary art, Meyers is often confronted by a paradox: although there is a body of “new” music spanning back over one hundred years, it seems to have little or no place in our cultural consciousness, not even in the all-embracing contemporary art discourse of today. How does this music relate to us and what happens when this “contemporary” music is disrupted, deconstructed and unbound from its usual mode of “classical” presentation in the concert hall?

To amplify the spectrum of voices addressing this quandary, Meyers invited six leading Hong Kong composers Shane Aspegren, Steve Hui, Charles Kwong, Lam Lai, Vanissa Law, and GayBird Leung to write a set of intimate musical interventions that comprise Hong Kong Solos. Staff members at six contemporary arts organizations across the city—Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong Arts Centre, M+, Para Site, soundpocket, and Things that can happen—perform the works for visitors by appointment at their desks.

At Spring Workshop, Meyers presents Litany and Rapture, engaging the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble—who are in residence at Spring Workshop throughout 2017—in an arduous durational live performance of their entire repertoire, characterized by conditions set by Meyers and an embrace of contrived imperfection. Finally, there is a single moment at the opening when, under Meyers’ orchestration, the performers from the multiple segments of the exhibition come together with Spring’s staff to sing his composition *Anthem*, after which the choir disbands.

These new works do away with trappings of how music is consumed and disseminated today, providing live testing grounds where the dynamics of performer and listener are continuously unpacked and overturned. The works can only be experienced live, and so despite traces of exhibition activities recorded as chalkboard entries, what transpires each day is recorded only in the memories of those who were there.

An exposition, not an exhibition was developed during Ari Benjamin Meyers’ two residencies in the summer and fall of 2016 at Spring Workshop, which is in the final year of its five-year run. Stemming from his ongoing work on the essence of live musical performance and the questions surrounding its protocols for audiences, performers and institutions as well as its place within the context of contemporary art, the presentation showcases the first iteration of research and key themes for the Kunsthalle for Music and will be followed at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (Rotterdam) by a conference in May 2017 and the inaugural exhibition of the Kunsthalle for Music in January 2018. The Kunsthalle for Music is commissioned by Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, together with Spring Workshop.

Image 1: Ari Benjamin Meyers, Duet (2014). Exhibition view. Courtesy of Spring Workshop. Photo: Michael CW Chiu
Image 2 & 3: Ari Benjamin Meyers, An exposition, not an exhibition (2017). Performance and exhibition view. Courtesy of Spring Workshop. Photo: Michael CW Chiu

All program dates and time are subject to change. Check our website for updates. Please note the adjusted visiting hours for this presentation.

New Visiting Hours

An exposition, not an exhibition
March 11—April 1, 2017
Thursday to Sunday 2pm – 7pm

Spring Workshop
3/F Remex Centre
42 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen
Hong Kong

Media Enquiries

Jessica Kong
T +852 2110 4370
M +852 9703 8689

Mimi Brown (Founder and Director of Spring Workshop), Christina Li (Curator-at-Large of Spring Workshop), and Ari Benjamin Meyers are available for interviews by request. Please contact us for more information.

About Spring Workshop

Spring Workshop is a cultural initiative that brings people together to experiment with the way we relate to art. Committed to an international cross-disciplinary program of artist and curatorial residencies, exhibitions, music, film and talks, Spring serves as a platform and laboratory for exchange between the vibrant artists, organizations and audiences that define Hong Kong’s rich cultural landscape and the emerging and established artists, organizations and audiences around the world that seek to engage xin far-reaching dialogue. Since opening its space in Wong Chuk Hang in 2011, Spring has welcomed over 15,000 audience members to its 131 programs and events featuring 199 artists, residents and collaborators. In 2016, Spring Workshop received the Prudential Eye Award for Best Asian Contemporary Art Organization.

About the Artist


Ari Benjamin Meyers (b. 1972, USA) lives and works in Berlin. In his work, Meyers, who trained as a composer and conductor at The Juilliard School, Yale University, and Peabody Institute, explores structures and processes that redefine the performative, social, and ephemeral nature of music. He has composed numerous works for the stage among them three operas; his chamber opera Nico. Sphinx aus Eis was commissioned by the Semperoper Dresden. Solo exhibitions and projects include Black Thoughts, Esther Schipper, Berlin (2013); Chamber Music (Vestibule), Berlinische Galerie (2013-2014); Just in Time, Just in Sequence, This is Not Detroit Festival, Schauspielhaus Bochum (2014); Beating Time, Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin (2015); Memories of the Future, Museum of Modern Art Warsaw (2016); The Name of This Band is The Art, RaebervonStenglin, Zurich (2016); Who’s Afraid of Sol La Ti?, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2016); Elevator Music, Trafo Center for Contemporary Art, Stettin (2016), and An exposition, not an exhibition, Spring Workshop, Hong Kong (2017). He is the founder of the Kunsthalle for Music, an undertaking realised in cooperation with Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (Rotterdam) and Spring Workshop (Hong Kong) as well as numerous artists. Besides this long-term project upcoming exhibitions in 2017 include Solo for Ayumi, Esther Schipper, Berlin; Symphony 80 (with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra), Lenbachhaus, Munich; and participation in the group show A Crack in Everything, Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal.

About Kunsthalle for Music

Artistic Director: Ari Benjamin Meyers
Founding Directors: Ari Benjamin Meyers, Defne Ayas, Mimi Brown
Team: Natasha Hoare, Christina Li, Anja Lindner, Samuel Saelemakers
Design: APFEL (A Practice for Everyday Life)

The Kunsthalle for Music is commissioned by Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (Rotterdam) together with Spring Workshop (Hong Kong) and will make additional appearances at locations to be announced. An exposition, not an exhibition by Ari Benjamin Meyers will unfold the Kunsthalle’s foundational themes at Spring Workshop (March 2017), followed by a congress at Witte de With (May 2017) and punctuated by an inaugural take-over, featuring a series of new commissions also at Witte de With (January 2018).

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About Hong Kong New Music Ensemble

Founded in 2008, the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble (HKNME) is hailed as “one of Hong Kong’s most progressive groups of musicians” (CNN). Widely praised for its innovative programming, the Ensemble’s productions include concerts, educational outreach events, and interdisciplinary collaborations and research projects with artists from different fields. The HKNME regularly performs in international arts festivals in Hong Kong and overseas.