12 Oil Street, 2011

Community Photo Campaign by the Hong Kong Art Promotion Office

 

The Hong Kong Art Promotion Office invited Martin Zeller to realise an art project related to the proposed 12 Oil Street Art Space in North Point, Hong Kong. The object was the former clubhouse of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, which was built in 1908. After the Second World War, the facility was used as a garage, government staff quarters until 1998, and storehouse of the Antiquities and Monuments Office until late 2007. The buildings were designed in the Arts and Crafts style and are nowadays a haven in the bustling neighbourhood. 

 

In 2011, the premises were still in a good condition and it was possible to find a lot of details which told about the history of the building and the district. A year later, the buildings were to be renovated for their new purposes as office and art space. Changes should be done carefully to preserve the historic building after the guidelines of the Antiquities and Monuments Office.  But even a cautious renovation would make a lot of traces of the past disappear. To record the status quo of the historic buildings, Martin Zeller proposed a photo documentation of 12 Oil Street.

 

Based on the thesis that artistic photography also contains a documentary value, Zeller was interested in how much art can be contained in a documentary project.