Will Kwan’s work is grounded in social and political awareness, with a keen eye for cultural difference and the power structures encoded in cultural manifestations. Kwan makes art that takes a critical view on the visual and material culture of globalisation and examines the socio-political and cultural consequences of how the ‘global’ is represented. He has worked with video, photography, performance and installation while regarding his work as fundamentally sculptural.
For Folkestone Triennial 2014, Kwan has created a work located in The Vinery, a formerly glass-roofed sitting area perched on the cliff edge on the Leas with fantastic views over the English Channel. His sculpture plays on the ‘chinoiserie’ present in the architecture and interior design of the English culture of leisure since the mid-seventeenth century, a popular Western aesthetic characterised by the use of Chinese motifs and techniques – with traces visible in the Vinery. Kwan’s sculptural screens frame views of the English Channel, the still heavily trafficked route linking Britain and China, and also highlight the current positioning of China in national and international consciousness about the future.
Kwan was born in 1978 in Hong Kong and now lives and works in Toronto, Canada. He has had solo exhibitions in China, Ireland, UK, USA and Canada, and has participated in group shows around the world including Venice Biennale, Liverpool Biennial and La Biennale De Montreal, and his work is in public collections in Toronto, Ottowa and Shanghai.