Part of the on-going M+ Matters series of public talks and discussions, Between Past and Future: Art of the Pearl River Delta welcomes keynote speakers Hou Hanru (Artistic Director, MAXXI) and Chan Koonchung (Writer) to present and participate in a panel discussion with Cao Fei (Artist), Chen Tong (Founder, Libreria Borges), Feng Yuan (Professor, Sun Yat-sen University) and Sara Wong (Artist and Co-Founder, Para Site). The symposium examines the trajectory of urbanisation in the Pearl River Delta since China was opened up for economic reform in the late 1970s, looking at how the phenomenon has shaped the development of art and culture in the region and its relevance for today’s socio-political context.

As the birthplace of a new economic model, the Pearl River Delta has given rise to new everyday urban experiences that have stimulated an unorthodox cultural ecology and art practices. The context of globalisation and urbanisation, and the distinctive urban phenomena that have resulted, have attracted the attention of forward-looking art and architectural practitioners, as shown for example in the 2003 Canton Express exhibition at the Venice Biennale. In the second decade of the 21st century, incidents of Brexit in the United Kingdom and Trumpism in the United States indicate a surge in advocacy for conservatism and localism as political values contending the liberalism that globalisation embraces. At the same time, urbanisation has given rise to various dilemmas, ranging from identity politics to ecological issues. The optimism that surrounded globalisation and urbanisation just twenty years ago is now challenged by growing skepticism. The completion of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge and the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link will advance the Pearl River Delta region into the Greater Bay Area, a strategic cluster that will inevitably engender smarter economic development and cultural cooperation. For this reason Between Past and Future: Art of the Pearl River Delta will survey the circumstances and evolution of curatorial strategies and art research in the region from the late 1990s to the present. By examining the interconnections between art, architecture and literature, M+ Matters will unpack the Pearl River Delta, not just as a geographical and economic entity but as a concept that celebrates individuality and diversity in today’s cultural topography, probing the proposition of the region as a changing concept, an evolving model in dialogue with global reality in the 21st century. 

Due to popular demand, we’re delighted to announce that this highly-anticipated symposium, which explores issues raised in the current M+ exhibition “Canton Express”, will be live-streamed on Facebook and Youtube.

Free Live-streaming date and time:
7 September, 6:30pm-8:10pm
Language: Cantonese and Mandarin (simultaneous interpretation is not available for the live-streaming)
Free live-streaming channels:

7 September 2017

6:30 - 8:10pm

Miller Theater, Asia Society Hong Kong Center

Venue address:
Miller Theater, Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong

Hou Hanru (Artistic Director, MAXXI)
Chan Koonchung (Writer)

Cao Fei (Artist)
Chen Tong (Founder, Libreria Borges)
Feng Yuan (Professor, Sun Yat-sen University)
Sara Wong (Artist and Co-Founder, Para Site)

Cantonese and Mandarin with simultaneous English, Cantonese and Mandarin interpretation

Free admission. Limited capacity on a first-come, first-served basis. Please register in advance.


Ms Cheung: (852) 2200 0137,

Adverse Weather Arrangement:
Programme will be cancelled if a black rainstorm warning or a typhoon signal no. 8 or above is still in force 3 hours before the event starts.

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Other M+ Matters events