Women in the Arts: Pearl Lam – 艺术中的女性:Pearl Lam

Opinion - 07 Aug 2018

Women in the Arts: Pearl Lam

‘My struggle has not been an issue with gender; my struggle has been that I started out when there wasn’t really an established art world’

By Pearl Lam

For this series celebrating women in the arts, the pioneering Chinese gallerist speaks about her career in the art world, from curating pop-up exhibitions in Hong Kong in the 1990s to opening her Shanghai gallery in 2005. 

As you were starting out in the arts, what were the possibilities for mentorship, collaboration and cross-generational engagement among women?

This question is very hard to apply to my world. When I started out in the 1990s, there was no art scene in Hong Kong or in China; there were no galleries, or very few, just a couple that were very new. So cross-generational engagement did not exist, whether between women or men. It was a brand new business; it was a brand new world. In China there wasn’t really a cultural scene, whereas in Hong Kong no-one cared about art or culture – forget about it!

What, if any, were the difficulties of embarking on a career in the arts as a woman?

The only thing I can comment on is that women artists perhaps felt that they weren’t given equally opportunities. There was a cultural expectation that women would have children; that they would have to look after them. I think being an artist is much more difficult as a woman. There were many female artists in China, including some married to male artists, who decided not to have children. Of the older generation, now in their 60s, many women didn’t have children. They chose to be artists; they chose their profession.

What specific experiences have you had that shaped your understanding of gender in the workplace, the media and the arts?

I’m from Hong Kong and opened my first gallery in Shanghai in 2005. In China, being a Communist county, women and men are supposed to be equals – according to Mao Zedong, women hold up half of the sky. And in Hong Kong the women are pretty strong and are given many equal opportunities. My struggle has not been an issue with gender; my struggle has been that I started out when there wasn’t really an established art world. We were the ones who were building it. Perhaps for that reason we don’t have the same gender issues as in the West.

What has changed today?

Today, in Hong Kong and in China, female artists have many more opportunities because, in general, the economy and the cultural scene have evolved. So all artists have a future and women can choose to have both a family and a career. In the 1990s it was difficult for artists, there was a sense of hopelessness. At that moment, there wasn’t any art market – buying art was not part of the ordinary lifestyle – and women were not encouraged to be artists because even men could not make a living. Women, in general, were having a tough time. But big changes have happened here. In Hong Kong we are now looking at gender issues more closely.

What are your thoughts about #MeToo and other initiatives to call attention to sexual harassment?

How to put this … in my world, in what I’ve known – both in Shanghai and in Hong Kong – women are very strong. So far I have not heard of any personal stories about sexual harassment; the women whom I have always known have stood up for themselves.

Main image: Pearl Lam. Photograph: William Louey

Pearl Lam

Pearl Lam is the founding owner of Pearl Lam Galleries, with spaces in Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Women in the Arts
Pearl Lam
Pearl Lam Galleries
Interview
Feminism
#metoo


意见- 07八月艺术2018妇女:Pearl Lam '我的斗争不是一个问题的性别,我的斗争是,我开始时,没有真正建立一个艺术世界'的Pearl Lam为了庆祝艺术中的女性,这位开创性的中国画廊老板谈到了她在艺术界的职业生涯,从1990年代的香港的弹出式展览到2005的上海画廊开业。还是女性的指导、合作和跨世代参与?这个问题很难适用于我的世界。当我在20世纪90年代起步时,在香港或中国没有艺术场景,没有画廊,或者很少,只是一对新人。因此,无论是女性还是男性,都不存在跨世代的参与。这是一个全新的行业,它是一个全新的世界。在中国,没有真正的文化景观,而在香港,没有人关心艺术或文化——忘掉它吧!WPAP60300 3BRWPAP60300 3BR,如果有的话,作为女性从事艺术生涯的困难是什么?WPAP60300 3BRWPAP60300 3BR我唯一可以评论的是,女性艺术家也许觉得她们没有得到平等的机会。有一种文化期望,妇女将有孩子,他们将不得不照顾他们。我认为做一个艺术家比女人更难。中国有很多女艺术家,包括一些已婚男性艺术家,他们决定不生孩子。老一辈,60多岁,许多妇女没有孩子。他们选择成为艺术家;他们选择了自己的职业。你在工作场所、媒体和艺术中有什么特殊的经历塑造了你对性别的理解?WPA60300 3BR WPA60300 3BR我来自香港,并于2005打开了我在上海的第一个画廊。在中国,作为一个共产主义国家,妇女和男人应该是平等的。据毛泽东说,妇女占据了半边天。在香港,妇女们相当强大,并给予了许多平等的机会。我的斗争并不是一个性别问题,我的奋斗是在没有真正建立起来的艺术世界的时候开始的。我们是建造它的人。也许因为这个原因,我们没有和欧美地区一样的性别问题。今天发生了什么变化?WPA60603BRWPAP60300 3BR今天,在香港和中国,女性艺术家有更多的机会,因为一般来说,经济和文化景观已经演变。所以所有的艺术家都有未来,女人可以选择拥有家庭和事业。在20世纪90年代,艺术家们很难有一种绝望的感觉。那时,没有任何艺术市场——购买艺术品不是普通生活方式的一部分,而女性也不被鼓励成为艺术家,因为即使是男人也无法谋生。一般来说,女性的日子不好过。但是这里发生了巨大的变化。在香港,我们现在更关注性别问题。WPAP60300 3BR WPAP60300 3BR您对“MyoO”和其他注意性别骚扰的倡议有何看法?WPAP60300 3BRWPAP60300 3BR如何把这个……在我的世界里,我所知道的——无论是在上海还是在香港——女人都很强壮。到目前为止,我还没有听说过任何关于性骚扰的个人故事,我所知道的那些女性都为自己辩护。主要形象:Pearl Lam。图片来源:威廉·路易·明珠·林明珠是珠林画廊的创办者,在上海、新加坡、香港等地均有空间。艺术中的女性——珍珠林明珠画廊访谈女权主义


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