Mimi Chun

Founder and Director, Blindspot Gallery

 

The gallerist has been instrumental in promoting Hong Kong artists in the city and globally

Credit: Tory HoMimi Chun
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It wasn’t an obvious move, opening a photographic art gallery in Wong Chuk Hang in 2010. Particularly as Mimi Chun, founder and director of Blindspot Gallery, didn’t know what she was doing.

“I tried to submit work as an artist, but got nothing back,” she says. “I thought: OK, I’m going to start something myself. I had no idea what I’d got myself into. I had no idea what a gallery was.”

Fortunately, she soon worked it out, and Blindspot has grown to become a groundbreaker, addressing, as its name suggests, the way in which photography is frequently absent from the artistic conversation, with photographic art sometimes struggling to maintain the same credibility as other media. It has showcased the work of photographers including Chen Wei, Pixy Liao and Jiang Pengyi, and also expanded to work with artists in other media, such as Leung Chi Wo; Trevor Yeung; Angela Su, who represented Hong Kong at the 2022 Venice Biennale; and Sin Wai Kin, shortlisted in 2022 for the Turner Prize, the UK’s top artistic gong.

Chun became a fan of drama at school and went to study performing arts at Hong Kong Baptist University, the only such course available in Hong Kong at the time, much against the preference of her father; she had also received an offer to study comparative literature at The University of Hong Kong. She subsequently worked at broadcaster TVB, a film distributor and others, before going to London to study photography.

Returning to Hong Kong, she worked as a photojournalist, wanting to make use of her photographic skills and lacking many employment options that would allow her to do so. She moved into PR for a while, for luxury watchmaker Swatch Group, a role that involved visiting Beijing extensively, where she spent a lot of time at the city’s 798 Art Zone.

“I was fascinated,” she says. “I always wanted to do something artistic, but that was probably the first time I thought about doing it properly.”

She took the bold decision to launch her own gallery—choosing, in Wong Chuk Hang, a district that was then purely industrial but has since become a burgeoning art hub. “Out of naivety, I just thought that our space was so cool, people would come,” she says.

Blindspot also formerly had another space, an outpost in Central, which lasted for several years before becoming a victim of rising rents.

Chun is also the co-chair of contemporary art space Para Site, the place where she was first exposed to contemporary art herself, when she visited as a student. “It’s a big part of why I love art,” she says—and her attitude towards her role remains very much that of an art lover.

“What gives me the most pleasure is interacting with my artists. They’re very generous with their ideas and creativity. I find it rewarding to watch how artists grow—and I grow with them. If I can work with interesting people like this, it makes it all worth it.”

"I had no idea what I’d got myself into. I had no idea what a gallery was.”

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