Simon Leung

War After War follows Warren [Niesłuchowski] in his search for a bed in Europe, in California, in New York, in various places where he had friends. He was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany after World War II and it was as if he had mystically returned to the way he came into the world. Warren had the type of personality that was so indelibly charismatic and performative that he became a type of professional guest at dinner parties, at openings. And this way of being in the world in part was what facilitated his ability to go from one bed to another to another, because he was in many ways giving as much as he was taking.”

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Simon Leung, video still, *War After War*, 2011. Single-channel HD video, sound, 90 minutes. Courtesy the artist.
 
The Third Definitive Article of Perpetual Peace: a Philosophical Sketch, 1795

by Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). As a whole, Kant’s essay outlines principles for sustained peaceful relations between nations, laying the groundwork for today’s international law and global bodies such as the United Nations. The Third Definitive Article states that “hospitality signifies the claim of a stranger entering foreign territory to be treated by its owner without hostility,” and builds an argument for the rights of the refugee.

 

 
“I think of [POE] as a combination of sculpture and a three-channel video. What I am making is an architectural construction based on a section of the text in Arthur Gordon Pym. The way the installation is set up requires the viewer to walk through this architectural object in order to view each of the three channels. . . . I put the three videos of different lengths on loop so that they refer to one another, but they are not in sync. You only kind of get that sense of referral by moving from one to the other and maybe hearing the sound from it. So there is continual displacement, this continual disorientation and reorientation, in a way, of one city referring to another city. . . .”

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Simon Leung, installation view, *POE*, 2010, La Cienegas Project, Los Angeles. Three-channel HD video and sound, 25:20; 18:46; and 27:10 minutes, and architectural structure, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist.\n\n
Simon Leung, Sketch for *POE* installation, 2010. Xerox of graphite on paper drawing. Courtesy the artist.
Simon Leung, video still (with Yvonne Rainer), *POE*, 2007/2010. Three-channel HD video, sound, 25:20; 18:46; and 27:10 minutes. Courtesy the artist.\n
Simon Leung, video still (with Warren Niesłuchowski), *POE*, 2007/2010. Three-channel HD video, sound, 25:20; 18:46; and 27:10 minutes. Courtesy the artist.\n
 
Program for The Mind is a Muscle at Anderson Theater, New York, April 1968

by Yvonne Rainer, experimental dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker. The program for the performance includes a text by Rainer, in which she states “The world disintegrates around me. My connection to the world-in-crisis remains tenuous and remote.” Rainer invokes this tension between concept and materiality in her role as Edgar Allan Poe in Leung’s POE.

 

 
“In a sense, one puts the squatter in relationship to the sitter. And you also put the squatting body in relation with somebody who is standing. . . . We normally think of the term ‘squatter’ as somebody who is taking illegal possession of a piece of real estate. But one can go deeper into the idea of: What does it mean to be a standing body? Well, a standing body is a body that has rights. One ‘stands for one’s rights,’ at least in the legal language of the West. And a body that squats can at any moment stand up, can at any moment transform into a body who is [saying] ‘oh, I’m ready to work . . .’ ‘I’m ready to move . . .’ Right? So there’s a deep ambivalence and deep undecidability about what it means to be squatting. A squatting body is the opposite of a fixed essence—it is never just one thing.”

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Simon Leung, proposal for *City of Squatters*, 2020. Animated GIF, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist.\n
Simon Leung, detail (1 of 131 photographs) from *Squatting Project/Wien*, 1998.  Black and white silver gelatin print, 9.4 × 11.8 inches. Courtesy the artist.
 
“Interview: Simon Leung and Hong-An Truong,” Shifter 18: Intention, 2012.

Hong-An Truong’s conversation with Leung focuses on Leung’s ”squatting projects” which have used the squatting body as a performative intervention since 1994. Truong is an artist and Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at University of North Carolina.

Simon Leung (b. 1964, Hong Kong) has participated in numerous exhibitions including the 2003 Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy; the 1993 Whitney Biennial, New York, USA; the 2005 Luleå Summer Biennial, Norrbotten, Sweden; and the 2008 Guangzhou Triennial, Guangzhou, China. Other selected venues include: Kunstverein München, Munich, Germany; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA; Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Poland; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, USA; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea; Sala Mendoza in Caracas, Venezuela; 1A Space, Hong Kong; Generali Foundation, Vienna, Austria; Kunsthalle Fredericianum, Kassel, Germany; NGBK, Berlin, Germany; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany; Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA; New Museum, new York, USA; PS1, New York, USA; American Fine Arts, New York, USA; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, USA. Solo presentations/exhibitions include Pat Hearn Gallery, New York, USA; Anthology Film Archives, New York, USA; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, USA; Drawing Center, New York, USA; Huntington Beach Art Center, Huntington Beach, USA; Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles, USA; CUE Art Foundation, New York, USA; the Kitchen, New York, USA; and the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA.

Simon Leung

War After War follows Warren [Niesłuchowski] in his search for a bed in Europe, in California, in New York, in various places where he had friends. He was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany after World War II and it was as if he had mystically returned to the way he came into the world. Warren had the type of personality that was so indelibly charismatic and performative that he became a type of professional guest at dinner parties, at openings. And this way of being in the world in part was what facilitated his ability to go from one bed to another to another, because he was in many ways giving as much as he was taking.”

 
The Third Definitive Article of Perpetual Peace: a Philosophical Sketch, 1795

by Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). As a whole, Kant’s essay outlines principles for sustained peaceful relations between nations, laying the groundwork for today’s international law and global bodies such as the United Nations. The Third Definitive Article states that “hospitality signifies the claim of a stranger entering foreign territory to be treated by its owner without hostility,” and builds an argument for the rights of the refugee.

 

 
“I think of [POE] as a combination of sculpture and a three-channel video. What I am making is an architectural construction based on a section of the text in Arthur Gordon Pym. The way the installation is set up requires the viewer to walk through this architectural object in order to view each of the three channels. . . . I put the three videos of different lengths on loop so that they refer to one another, but they are not in sync. You only kind of get that sense of referral by moving from one to the other and maybe hearing the sound from it. So there is continual displacement, this continual disorientation and reorientation, in a way, of one city referring to another city. . . .”

 
Program for The Mind is a Muscle at Anderson Theater, New York, April 1968

by Yvonne Rainer, experimental dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker. The program for the performance includes a text by Rainer, in which she states “The world disintegrates around me. My connection to the world-in-crisis remains tenuous and remote.” Rainer invokes this tension between concept and materiality in her role as Edgar Allan Poe in Leung’s POE.

 

 
“In a sense, one puts the squatter in relationship to the sitter. And you also put the squatting body in relation with somebody who is standing. . . . We normally think of the term ‘squatter’ as somebody who is taking illegal possession of a piece of real estate. But one can go deeper into the idea of: What does it mean to be a standing body? Well, a standing body is a body that has rights. One ‘stands for one’s rights,’ at least in the legal language of the West. And a body that squats can at any moment stand up, can at any moment transform into a body who is [saying] ‘oh, I’m ready to work . . .’ ‘I’m ready to move . . .’ Right? So there’s a deep ambivalence and deep undecidability about what it means to be squatting. A squatting body is the opposite of a fixed essence—it is never just one thing.”

 
“Interview: Simon Leung and Hong-An Truong,” Shifter 18: Intention, 2012.

Hong-An Truong’s conversation with Leung focuses on Leung’s ”squatting projects” which have used the squatting body as a performative intervention since 1994. Truong is an artist and Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at University of North Carolina.

Simon Leung (b. 1964, Hong Kong) has participated in numerous exhibitions including the 2003 Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy; the 1993 Whitney Biennial, New York, USA; the 2005 Luleå Summer Biennial, Norrbotten, Sweden; and the 2008 Guangzhou Triennial, Guangzhou, China. Other selected venues include: Kunstverein München, Munich, Germany; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA; Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Poland; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, USA; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea; Sala Mendoza in Caracas, Venezuela; 1A Space, Hong Kong; Generali Foundation, Vienna, Austria; Kunsthalle Fredericianum, Kassel, Germany; NGBK, Berlin, Germany; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany; Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA; New Museum, new York, USA; PS1, New York, USA; American Fine Arts, New York, USA; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, USA. Solo presentations/exhibitions include Pat Hearn Gallery, New York, USA; Anthology Film Archives, New York, USA; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, USA; Drawing Center, New York, USA; Huntington Beach Art Center, Huntington Beach, USA; Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles, USA; CUE Art Foundation, New York, USA; the Kitchen, New York, USA; and the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA.