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Tap Chan, Thea Djordjadze, Jason Dodge, Eisa Jocson, Pratchaya Phinthong

My Body Holds Its Shape / Tai Kwun Contemporary / Hong Kong / May 25 – Sep 27, 2020 / Jacqueline Leung /

Little Mermaid Ariel’s song preceded the exhibition hall. By the time the dancer was seen, he had already turned on all fours, stretching his limbs with feline grace. In Eisa Jocson’s Zoo (2020), performance is in a constant state of becoming. Working with the expanse of the room, the dancers shifted between routine and improvised imitations of characters and animals, enlivening a space made to confine – previously as a women’s prison, now as a four-walled enclosure for art.

Loosely organised around metaphorical interpretations of the body, such as its existence as a physical container, or as a mental framework of the self, My Body Holds Its Shape questions our efforts to sustain these edifices structuring our understanding of the world. Through the work of five artists, the exhibition opens up these limits as interstices of new relations and significance, creating, according to the opening statement, a “view that was not there before”. This is most clearly indicated by a 12-metre-long steel needle pointing toward a literal opening in the infrastructure: a temporary glass window, which looked out at the courtyard of the heritage site. Together, Thea Djordjadze’s in situ installations Needle (2020) and .pullherawaypull. (2020) bring the stark white of the gallery interior into dialogue with the outside environment. Throughout the day, natural light filtered in, shining softly on the art and changing the atmosphere of the room.

Much of the exhibited work concerns the material rendering of parameters and the ways they can transform. Installed in opposite corners of the space, Tap Chan’s pair of kinetic sculptures rotated with a hypnotic momentum. Comprising two poles with black painted stripes, Speed of Night (2020) visualises the artist’s struggle with insomnia; in the long hours of wakefulness, the slightest alterations of her surroundings are elevated to the point of psychosis. Similar to Chan’s attempt to elucidate states of consciousness, Jason Dodge and Pratchaya Phinthong convey our distance from the sky – felt only as a dizzying sense of vertigo – using different forms of matter. Two works from Dodge’s Above the Weather series translate the intimidating height into thread of equivalent length, something tender to the touch. Appearing as folded bundles on the exhibition floor, the fabric was woven as a community project involving many collaborators, including people with intellectual disabilities from St James’ Creation in Hong Kong, who expressed themselves with brightly coloured yarn.

Phinthong’s Untitled (2009), a set of four photographs – framed and hung on a mesh structure constructed by Djordjadze, again recalling the venue’s history as a detention facility – captures meteorite fragments at the locations where they were found. Polished until their surfaces become reflective, the fragments mirror the sky from which they fell, effectively containing the contours of our world within the extraterrestrial. This poetic coming together of two ends, and the displacement needed for it to happen, bring us to regard more closely the boundaries we have drawn. Rather than erected barriers, they are sites of reconciliation, stretching to accommodate wider points of view.

陳沁昕 、Thea Djordjadze、Jason Dodge、Eisa Jocson、Pratchaya Phinthong / 承受著自身的姿態 / 大館 / 香港 / 2020年5月25日至9月27日 / Jacqueline Leung

走進展廳前已聽到《小魚仙》Ariel的歌。當舞者映入觀眾眼簾時,他已經如貓一樣伸展著四肢,在地上爬行。在Eisa Jocson的《動物園》(2020年)裡,表演是不停頓的演變狀態。在寬敞的房間中,舞者在例行和即興的人物和動物模仿之間來來往往,為一個封閉的空間注入生命。這空間以前是女子監獄,但現在是四面牆的藝術展覽廳。

「承受著自身的姿態」以身體不同的定義為喻,無論是肉體或自我的概念,以挑戰這些概念對我們世界的理解的影響。通過五位藝術家的作品,展覽打破了這些界限,成為新關係和新意義的交織點,創造了一種根據開幕詞所描述的「前所未有的觀點」。最清楚地表明了這一點的是一根12米長的鋼針。它指向結構打開的地方:一扇對著古蹟庭院的臨時玻璃窗。 Thea  Djordjadze的現場裝置《針》(2020年)和《.pullherawaypull.》(2020年)使畫廊內部的純白色與外界環境互動。由早到晚,自然光照入,柔和地照在藝術品上,改變房間的氣氛。

展覽的大部份作品都關乎以實物表達規限和它們變化的方法。陳沁昕的一對動感雕塑安裝在空間的對角,旋轉時彷彿有催眠作用。 《夜晚的速度》(2020年)由兩支塗有黑色條紋的桿組成,展現了藝術家失眠的掙扎;在漫長的清醒中,她周圍環境最細微的絲毫改變都能引發思覺失調。與陳沁昕嘗試闡明意識狀態相似,Jason Dodge和Pratchaya Phinthong使用不同形式的物質表達我們與天空的距離,感覺只像畏高時感到的眩暈。Dodge的《Above the Weather》系列的兩幅作品把令人產生恐懼的高度轉化為等長而觸感柔和的線。這種織物由多位參與社區項目的合作者編織而成,以折疊的束狀出現在展廳,包括來自香港聖雅各福群會藝想的智障人士,以色彩鮮豔的紗線來表達自己。

Phinthong的《無題》(2009年)由四張照片組成,加上畫框後懸掛在Djordjadze建造的網狀結構上,再次反映了該場地作為拘留設施的歷史,把隕石碎片保存在發現的地點。隕石碎片經過拋光後表面變得平滑如鏡,仿效了隕石墜落時的天空,將外太空包圍著我們世界的輪廓。這種兩端融合在一起充滿詩意,而發生這種變化所需的移位,使我們更仔細地看待我們劃定的界限。它們不是建立的障礙物,而是和解的地點,延伸以包容更廣泛的觀點。

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