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Yin Xiuzhen 尹秀珍

Sky Patch / CHAT / Hong Kong / Oct 31– Feb 28 / Ysabelle Cheung /

There were multiple entryways into Yin Xiuzhen’s solo show Sky Patch at the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile, but the timeliest introduction was situated at the main atrium of the building. Here, diaphanous suitcases, stitched together by the artist and her volunteers using recycled clothing, hung like gliders above a facsimile airport check-in, complete with a conveyer belt, luggage carts and attendants. In an era of empty airports and isolation, the work felt especially haunted, the sheer cloth pieced together by collective memory, the futility of the eerie simulacrum evident in the absence of a destination.

As a sensitive observer to the socioeconomic developments that shaped post-1989 China and the ensuing struggles for personal identity, Yin Xiuzhen oscillates between homogeneity and individuality in her works, identifying cohesive patterns of loss and intimacy through her use of vintage textiles. However, the assembly of old and new works in Sky Patch often lacked connection, instead confusing subtlety with grand gesture.

The traditional entrance to the exhibition featured two diametrically opposed works, Prajnaparamita (2019) and Fashion Terrorism (2020). The former is a sculpture comprising dozens of plush ivory cotton tubes shaped to resemble the soundwave of a Buddhist sutra read aloud. The wall text described how each piece should be given to a different visitor via a lucky draw – to disseminate the sutra’s teachings around the “perfection of transcendent wisdom” – but there were no further instructions how to participate. A docent informed us the draw was not yet organised, and to follow updates on social media. 

Fashion Terrorism 6 (Detail) by Yin Xiuzhen, 2020.
Courtesy the artist and CHAT Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile.

This incomplete work was awkwardly paired with Fashion Terrorism, a sculpture and photo series showcasing ill-fitting clothing resembling weapons, specifically AK-47 rifles, correlating fashion with violence. 

Separately, these works mine the artist’s interests in the personal and the global, hinting at collective practices that wield power. Unfortunately, together they promoted a discombobulating message, the binary themes of material terror and spiritual purity more distracting than generative.

The rooms that followed then abruptly pivoted to Yin’s reflections on personal memory and cultural identity, presenting the strongest curation in the exhibition. In particular, a recreation of an old industrial fabric workshop, plucked from her mother’s memories, merged seamlessly with a reproduction of her own current studio space via 16 vintage sewing machines used by the two women.

This theme of intergenerational dependence and heritage through textiles flowed into an older series, Dress Box Photo (1995), in the next room. The work features photographs of second-hand clothing that Yin had folded, sewn together and then fossilised in concrete. Printed anecdotes written by the artist reveal each object’s significance, such as a school dress sewn by her mother from rationed scraps, and a pair of denim jeans worn religiously in her youth (an unorthodox item of clothing in China in the 1980s), tracing the histories of China’s poverty and garment industry, and the artist’s own era of rebellion and individualism through fashion.

After these two exhibits, however, the show’s thematic strength seemed to dissipate. A large hall showed Portable City (2001-), miniature cityscapes assembled from fabrics collected on the artist’s travels; large industrial wall sculptures that hint at the infinite cosmos; and a photo series featuring Yin’s daughter, Song Errui. A nod back to the hanging skylit suitcases in the atrium, the soft landscapes in Portable City connote place as a malleable, tactile experience comprising personal narratives, yet the work was reduced to a conversation about earthly currencies when paired with the cosmos sculptures. Additionally, Song Errui’s soft, inquisitive face, partially obscured by a round fan, seemed anachronistic – not the artist’s intent, I imagined – in juxtaposition with the suitcases and jet-black surfaces of the metallic sculptures. The combination of so many themes diluted the complexities of each work and instead forced one-dimensional readings – for how else are we supposed to interpret these works, if not for their sweeping statements about the Earth and cosmos, the collective and the individual?

The show’s final chapter hosted a collection of newly commissioned videos. In one room, dedicated to the artist’s daughter, we see videos of Song typing, playing and relaxing, the occasional peal of laughter underscored by a moving orchestral track. Although a highly cinematic installation, the works lack context – it is unclear whether they were created in collaboration or not, and as such, Song appears more as a passive object rather than active subject. In an online walkthrough by curator Wang Weiwei, she reveals that the visitor is meant to interpret these videos to form their own narratives of adolescence and growth, but the instruction was discomfiting. Shouldn’t Song possess agency over her own body and story, even in these ambiguous, cinematic flashes?

A second, longer video was more conceptually sound, presenting a portrait of Yin’s family in their day-to-day lives, but presented major technical and accessibility issues. Played without subtitles or a translation, the Mandarin-language video automatically excludes visitors who only understand Cantonese (still the principal language of Hong Kong) or English. Additionally, for those with hearing impairments (myself included), the video’s audio was almost completely obfuscated by overlapping ambient noise, a problem usually resolved with closed captions. 

Prainaparamita by Yin Xiuzhen, 2019.
Courtesy the artist and CHAT Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile.

Sky Patch fell short on several curatorial levels, even for a long-time admirer of Yin’s work like me. The show’s material connection to CHAT was often overemphasised – for example, the artist’s addition of red pennants to a permanent exhibition on Hong Kong’s textile history seemed forced, almost aggressively so. More context could have been provided for other nuanced, complex relationships, such as between Yin and her daughter, and between transnational, globalising processes and singular cultural identities. While it can be tempting to present disparate samples of an artist’s practice, especially one as illustrious and wide-ranging as Yin, it would have been wise to pick one theme and expand on it.

Featured image: Installation view of Sky Patch at CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile), Hong Kong, 2020. Courtesy the artist and CHAT Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile.

補天 / CHAT六廠 / 香港 / 10月31日至2月28日 / Ysabelle Cheung /

在CHAT六廠,尹秀珍個展「補天」有多個入口,但最合時的介紹位於展廳的中庭。在這裡,藝術家和她的志願者使用回收的衣服將透明的行李箱縫合在一起,像滑翔機一樣懸掛在一個模仿的登機處上方,並配有輸送帶、行李車和服務員。在一個機場空無一人和隔離的時代,作品尤其令人恐懼,集體記憶由布拼湊著,在沒有目的地的情況下,令人毛骨悚然的模擬是徒勞的。

作為對熟悉塑造1989年後中國及隨之而來的個人身份鬥爭的社會經濟發展的觀察者,尹秀珍在作品在同質性和個人化之間徘徊,通過使用懷舊紡織品來識別錯失和親密感的凝聚力模式。但是,「補天」中的新舊作品之間經常缺乏聯繫,將微妙之處與宏大的手法混淆了。

展覽的傳統入口處有兩對截然對立的作品,《Prajnaparamita》(2019年)和《 Fashion Terrorism》(2020年)。前者是一個雕塑,其中包括數十根毛絨的象牙棉質管,其形狀類似於大聲朗讀的佛經的聲波。牆上的文字描述如何通過幸運抽獎將每件作品贈送給不同的訪客,以傳播有關「超越智慧的完美」的佛經教義,但沒有進一步說明如何參加。一位導賞員說抽獎尚未安排好,告訴我們要關注社交媒體的最新動態。 

這項殘缺不全的作品與《Fashion Terrorism》格格不入地聯繫一起。該雕塑和照片系列展示了類似武器的不合身服裝,特別是AK-47步槍,將時尚與暴力聯繫在一起。這些作品分別挖掘了藝術家對個人和全球的興趣,暗示了集體實踐的力量。不幸的是,他們共同推動了令人混亂的信息,物質恐怖和精神純潔的二元主題比生成更令人分心。

隨後的房間突然轉向了藝術家對個人記憶和文化身份的反思,在展覽中表現出最強烈的策展力。尤其是,從其母親的記憶中汲取靈感而創作出的一個舊工業用工廠,通過兩名婦女使用的16台老式縫紉機與她當前工作室的空間無縫地融合在一起。

這個關於世代相傳和通過紡織品傳承的主題在隔壁展廳結合了更舊的系列《我的衣服》(1995年)。作品展示是藝術家將二手衣服折疊起來,縫在一起然後在混凝土中化石化的的照片。由藝術家寫的印刷軼事揭示了每個物品的重要性,例如母親用由配給得來的布碎縫製的校服,以及她年輕時經常穿著的牛仔褲(1980年代在中國是非常規的服裝),追溯中國貧困和製衣業的歷史,以及藝術家自己透過時尚表達的反叛和個人主義時代。

然而,看過這兩個展品之後,該展覽的主題力量似乎消失了。一個大廳展示了《可攜帶城市》(2001年-)。該微型城市景觀是用藝術家旅行中收集的布料製成的;大型工業牆壁雕塑,暗示著無限的宇宙;以及藝術家的女兒宋爾瑞的攝影作品。向中庭懸掛的天窗手提箱致敬,《可攜帶城市》中的柔和景觀暗示著地方是一種可塑的、觸覺上的體驗,包括個人敘述。但與大型雕塑配對後,作品被簡化為談論庸俗的貨幣話題。此外,宋爾瑞柔軟、好奇的臉,被圓形風扇遮住了一部分,似乎與手提箱和金屬雕塑的黑色表面並置,顯得不合時宜。如此眾多的主題相結合,淡化了每件作品的複雜性,反而迫使人們進行流於表面的閱讀。如果不是因為它們對地球和宇宙、集體和個人的詳盡表述,我們還應該如何解釋這些作品?

該展覽的最後一部分展出了一系列新錄製的錄像。在一個專為藝術家女兒而設的房間裡,我們看到了她打字、嬉戲和放鬆的錄像,偶爾的笑聲在令人感動的交響曲中變得淡出。儘管這些作品具有很高的電影性,它們缺乏上下文,不清楚它們是否是通過協作創作的。因此,藝術家女兒似乎更是一種被動的物件,而不是主動的對象。在策展人王慰慰的網上演練中,她透露來訪者是要解釋這些錄像片段以形成自己的青春期和成長敘事,但該指導並不合適。即使在這些模棱兩可的片段中,藝術家女兒倒不是應該對自己的身體和故事具有主導權嗎?

第二個更長的錄像片段概念較為實在。它展示了藝術家的家庭日常生活,但顯示了主要的技術和可及性問題。播放沒有字幕或翻譯的普通話錄像會自動排除僅會廣東話(仍是香港主要語言)或英語的觀眾。此外,對於有聽力障礙的人(包括我自己),錄像的音頻幾乎被重疊的環境噪聲完全掩蓋了,通常可用字幕解決這個問題。

即使對於像我一樣一直欣賞尹秀珍的作品的人,「補天」在幾個策展層面上都有所不足。該節目與CHAT六廠的物質聯繫常常被過分強調;例如,藝術家將紅色三角旗添加到有關香港紡織歷史的永久性展覽中似乎是被強迫的。展覽可以為其他細微而復雜的關係提供更多的背景信息,例如藝術家和她的女兒之間的感情,以及跨國、全球化進程與單一文化身份之間的關係。儘管把藝術家各種多樣化的作品放在一起比較容易,選擇一個主題並對其進行擴展是更明智的處理方法。

Lau Hok Shing, So Wing Po, Zhang Ruyi 劉學成、蘇詠寶、張如怡

Amid columns of art books at Blindspot Gallery’s Wong Chuk Hang office is what looks like an object belonging in a Chinese scholar’s study. But stare at it a bit longer and an image of a tear gas cloud – a common sight on Hong Kong streets in the second half of 2019 – comes to mind. Suddenly, an object that supposedly inspires turns into one that muddles and impedes. This ambiguity threads through most of the works at The Palm at the End of the Mind, a group show by three artists, Lau Hok Shing, So Wing Po and Zhang Ruyi. The title, lifted from the first line of Wallace Stevens’ poem Of Mere Being, is something of a riddle.

Which palm does Stevens refer to here – the palm of a hand or a palm tree? (It turns out to be the latter.) And never mind what lies at the end of mind – what, precisely, is the end of the mind? Despite the mind being human, the poem appears to be reaching for something beyond the limit of human consciousness. 

Ewha in the Storm by Zhang Ruyi, Wall tiles, floor drain, cement, electrical wires, wood, steel rods, 71 x 84 x 84 cm, 2020. Courtesy the artist and Blindspot Gallery.

“There’s something in the art that you don’t quite understand. It looks familiar but there’s also distance between the work and the audience,” says Lau, who created the aforementioned work, Fence of Cloud I (2020), when asked how he interprets the exhibition title. 

The artist’s pièce de résistance in the exhibition is Remote Islands (2020), a composed installation of wooden globes, cubes and rocks atop a polished acrylic table. It looks like a traditional Chinese garden but there is also something off about it – in the specks of black dust that adorn the wooden globes and cubes. The artist says that the ink has been mixed with dirt and dust collected from various parts of the city, including protest sites. “I’d originally intended it as documentation of sorts, but later I realised I wanted to include it in the work.” Lau pauses, before adding: “There are probably remnants of teargas canisters. There must be. Given how many were fired off.” The wooden globes and cubes sit on top of glass slats which are inked with images of the city, including Victoria Harbour, protest graffiti and the sky above the government offices in Admiralty. Irregularly shaped rocks, beautiful in their ruggedness, are stuck precariously onto the top of the globes and cubes, completing a composition of so much beauty yet also unspeakable anguish. “You have got this elegant fixture, but within the context of the piece, they’re like monsters – crushing whatever is underneath.” 

While Lau’s work plays with different temporalities and the idea of beauty, So’s works destabilise the line between human and nature. They continue the artist’s investigation into the human ear, but also allow her to excavate intersections between the human body, nature and science. Earth Battery (2020) is constructed to simulate how we receive and perceive sound. At one end of gigantic installation made of transparent globes is a sound receiver; at the other end, a dead cicada. Chinese spices and herbs fill the globes, a nod to So’s family’s business. “These Chinese spices and herbs are rich in mineral ions, which provide that transmitting power,” she says. When someone speaks into the receiver, sound waves pass through the system until they reach the cicada, which glows to indicate that sound has been transmitted. So says she wants to draw parallels between the system within an ear and that of our bodies, society and the universe. Amplifying the different elements of the structure also exposes its fragility: it only takes the wires that link the globes to be cut for the entire system to collapse.

Remote Island 1 by Lau Hok Shing, Wood, ink, acrylic, saw dust, dust, sand, debris found on the streets, 45.4 x 40 x 30.2 cm, 2020. Courtesy the artist and Blindspot Gallery.

There is also a wax sculpture of an ear lying atop a hand installed on the wall. The bizarre-looking yet memorable piece is a misinterpretation of Stevens’ poem, which the gallery and artist had thought referred to the palm of a hand. “If we imagine the ear to be its own mini universe … to think that you can hold the universe in your hand,” she says.

On the floor are about a dozen abalone shells that open and close, each at its own pace. Some are quieter, others louder; some are slower, others faster, as if they are clamouring to be heard. So lifts one of them to reveal a tiny motor nestled within it. “I had this idea of turning them into cyborgs,” she says. “I don’t know why, but some of them have edged away from their original positions.” As the two halves of the shells knock together, lulling us with their hypnotic chorus, the visitor suddenly becomes aware of a greater sound coming from the dimmer end of the gallery. Is it the construction upstairs or does the sound come from within the gallery itself?

The work, Domestic Wasteland (2020), features four metal sheets that look like commemorative plaques placed against the wall. Behind them are tucked loudspeakers projecting sounds recorded at a construction site in mainland China. The idea was to pluck something one encounters in a construction site, whether metal sheets or sound, and re-situate it in a commercial gallery, Zhang says. The irony, of course, is that the piece is embedded within a space that is in turn embedded within a construction site.

Sea Ear Hi-hat (Detail) by So Wing Po, Abalone shells, motors, brass, size variable, 2020. Next spread: Cicada Sound Collector by So Wing Po, Herbs, microphone, cicada shell, LED light, size variable, 2020. Courtesy the artist and Blindspot Gallery.

Zhang’s Ewha in the Storm (2020) plays with different temporalities and the dichotomy of human and nature. Made of cement, electrical wires, steel rods and wood, it takes the form of a cactus which, upon closer inspection, plays host to tiny sprouts of bronze wire. It’s plopped atop a ceramic tile that is equipped with a drain – a cheeky oxymoron, given that the plant lives in extremely dry conditions.

“The cactus is a very old plant that is usually found in the desert,” says the artist. “Putting it in a modern, commercial setting, I find that contrast quite interesting. There is also that visual parallel between the cactus column and the gallery columns.”

This is nowhere more apparent than in Matte Substance-12 (2020). Installed against a gallery column, it is big and monstrous-looking, and has as its pedestal a bulbous rock that the artist excavated from a construction site. Wires extend from the cactus to fasten it to the rock, recalling retro androids from 80s Japanese animations. Visually, it is a foe of sorts to Lau’s Remote Islands. Where the latter masks disturbances with beauty, Matte Substance-12 is bulging, its protrusions out there for all to see, a succinct commentary on the hybrid, messy and disorienting nature of our urban landscape. 

The exhibition is a tribute to various objects that make up our landscape and our existence. As So says: “It’s amazing how one material can be broken down and, when one of these broken pieces is infused with another, become a completely different object.”

Yet there is also a gap in understanding, an ambiguity in the agency inherent in these objects – are they man-made constructs through and through, or is the artist’s job merely to tease out tremors and codes intrinsic to them? We, as humans, will never know.


刺點畫廊的黄竹坑辦公室內,有著許多放有藝術書籍的書櫃,櫃上置有一件物件,看似是一位中國學者書房內的擺設。凝視它許久後,一團催淚煙的意象浮現在腦海中,這是2019年下旬在香港街頭司空見慣的景象。剎那間,一件本應啟發觀者的物件,卻混淆和阻礙我們的觀感認知。這份曖昧遊走於「在意識盡頭的掌心」群展,展出三位藝術家劉學成、蘇詠寶和張如怡的作品。展覽名稱取材於華萊士·史蒂文斯的詩《關於存在》,聽起來像個謎。

史蒂文斯詩句中的「Palm」是指掌心或是棕櫚樹 ?(結果是後者)到底在意識的盡頭有著什麼?這亦不重要了。什麼是意識盡頭?縱使這關乎人類的意識,但這首詩要說的卻是超乎人類意識所理解。

談到如何解讀展覽名稱,劉學成說道:「在藝術的場域中,有些事是超乎我們可理解,看似熟悉的作品,但其實和觀眾有著一段距離。」上述的作品就是他的《雲欄(一)》(2020年)。

Domestic Wasteland by Zhang Ruyi, Metal plates, sound, size variable Edition of 3 + AP, 2020. 
Courtesy the artist and Blindspot Gallery.

劉學成的參展代表作是《離嶼》(2020年),這件裝置含有木球、方塊、經過打磨的亞克力膠板及置在上方的石頭。作品看似是傳統的中式庭園,但塗在木球和方塊上黑色的灰塵斑駁,卻讓它看來不太像庭園。藝術家在香港不同地方,包括抗議遊行的場地,撿拾塵土和垢物,然後混合至墨水去。「我原本打算通過這些撿拾物來作不同的記錄,但後來我想把它們置入作品當中。」他沉默了一會,繼續說:「撿拾物當中可能有著催淚彈筒的殘骸,一定有的,因為發出的數量如此多。」作品中,木球和方塊置在玻璃板上,板上以墨彩繪上香港的景觀,包括維港、與抗爭有關的塗鴉和金鐘政府大樓上的天空。不同形狀的石頭,參差不齊的粗糙感流露一份美;它們置在木球和方塊上,看似快要掉下來,此番構圖不但美得令人著迷,而且表現出一份說不出的痛苦。藝術家分享:「若把這優雅的固定構圖,放在現時的社會脈絡中解讀,這些石頭就如妖魔怪獸,把所有在下面的都要壓碎。」

劉學成的作品把玩不同的短暫性及美的觀念,蘇詠寶卻把人與大自然之間的界線變得不穩定。她的展出作品繼續探索人的耳朵,並讓她發掘人體、大自然和科學之間的交會處。《地球電池》(2020年)模擬我們如何接收和理解聲音,這件大型裝置由多個透明球體組成,一端是一個收音器,另一端是一隻死去的蟬。球體中放入中式香料和草藥,這跟藝術家的家族中藥事業有關,她分享:「這些草藥含有豐富的礦物離子,能加強人體的傳送能力。」當觀眾對著收音器說話,聲波將經過整個裝置系統,傳送至蟬去,蟬繼而發光,表示接收到聲波。藝術家希望從人耳系統找到與人體、社會和宇宙相似的地方,把系統結構的每一處放大,同時亦暴露它的脆弱:只要剪斷連結球體的線,整個系統就會倒塌下來。

一件臘製雕塑置在一道牆上,呈現一隻手,手心上是一隻人耳。這件作品看來詭異,但令人難忘,創作概念源自畫廊和藝術家誤讀了史蒂文斯的詩,以為當中的「Palm」是指掌心。蘇詠寶道:「若我們想像耳朵是它的小小宇宙,那你就能夠把宇宙握在手中。」

大約一打的鮑魚殼在地上,以自己的速度來開合:安靜的、嘈吵的、緩慢的和快速的,它們好像想要被聽見。藝術家拿起其中一個鮑魚殼,展示內置的一個小磨打,她說:「不知道為什麼,我一直想把它們改造成半機械的,但有些已移離它們原本的位置。」當它們開合時,就像歌隊發出令人昏昏欲睡的聲音,觀眾突然會聽到在畫廊另一頭陰暗處發出較響亮的聲音,那是樓上裝修的聲音或是畫廊內發出來的響聲?

Planter-4 by Zhang Ruyi, Rock fragment, cactus spikes, acrylic, plastic, 
17 x 16 x 11 cm, 2020.

那是作品《室內荒原》(2020年) ,當中四塊看似紀念碑的金屬板靠在牆上,每塊板後置有揚聲器,播放著在中國大陸的建築工地收錄的聲音。作品的概念是使用工地的元素,無論是金屬板或錄取的聲音,再放置在一個商業畫廊裡,從而再製造另一情景。藝術家張如怡指出,這部作品的矛盾是在一個空間播放的聲音,原來是來自一個建築工地。

張如怡的《暴雨梨花》(2020年),把弄各種短暫性,及人與大自然的二元對立關係。作品由混凝土、電綫、鋼筋和木板製成,看似是一棵仙人掌,再細看之下,可見一些短小的青銅綫仿如刺般生長出來。作品置在一片瓷磚板上,板上裝有地漏。地漏隱喻的水和仙人掌生長的極度乾燥環境,製造出一份幽默的矛盾。

「仙人掌是一種在地球生長許久的植物,通常出現在沙漠。」藝術家繼續分享:「把它放置在一個現代、商業化的背景,我覺得那種對比非常有趣,豎立的仙人掌和畫廊的柱子,在視覺上也有相似的地方。」

藝術家指的相比,在她的《暗色之物 no.12》(2020年)更能彰顯出來。這件巨大、看來駭人的作品靠著畫廊的一根柱子,它的底座是一顆球根狀的石頭,是她從一個建築工地撿拾的。仙人掌上的電綫,嫁接到底下的石頭,令人想起八十年代日本動畫內的懷舊機器人。視覺上,這部作品與劉學成的《離嶼》可謂是對手,《離嶼》用美感來隱藏不安感,而尖突和鼓脹的《暗色之物 no.12》較搶眼,簡潔有力地評論我們城市現時的混雜和令人迷失的狀況。

是次展覽向構成我們城市和存在的不同物品致敬,就如蘇詠寶道:「令人驚嘆的是一種物料可被分割開來,當其中一種和另一種結合,卻可組成另一件完全不一樣的物件。」

可是,在理解作品的過程中,也是有斷層的,在這些物件中有一份曖昧的介入特質,它們是人造的製成物,或是藝術家故意在它們從中抽取出來的刺激感或編碼?我們人類永遠無法知道。

Raoul De Keyser at David Zwirner, Hong Kong

Raoul De Keyser
Jan 15 – Mar 6

David Zwirner Hong Kong
5-6/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central, 
Central, Hong Kong
Schedule Your Visit

David Zwirner is pleased to present Raoul De Keyser, on view at the gallery’s Hong Kong location. The first solo show of the artist’s work in Greater China, the exhibition will feature paintings from the last twenty-five years of De Keyser’s five-decade career, illustrating his intuitive—yet rigorous—facility with his medium. Complementing the presentation in Hong Kong will be an online exhibition, New Visions: After De Keyser, that situates the late Belgian painter in dialogue with contemporary painters whose art continues to relate to or be informed by his pioneering compositions.

Image: Passage by Raoul De Keyser, Oil on canvas, 34.3 x 44.1 cm, 2010. © Raoul De Keyser / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SABAM, Belgium. Courtesy Family Raoul De Keyser and David Zwirner.

Kim Young-Hun 金永憲

Diamond Mountain – Electronic Nostalgia / Soluna Fine Art / Hong Kong / Apr 3 – Aug 1, 2020 / Valencia Tong /

With potted plants at the entrance and green chequered tiles on the second storey, the gallery space at Soluna Fine Art exuded an aura of playfulness. On view at the gallery was Korean artist Kim Young-Hun’s solo show Diamond Mountain – Electronic Nostalgia. The artist’s colour-saturated paintings blend the aesthetics of the analogue and the digital, the philosophical and the technological, and the historical and the futuristic. His abstract canvases explore the disorientation brought about by the blurred boundaries between the virtual, digital world and our real lives. The result is a mishmash of traditional Korean landscapes, glitchy geometrical patterns and Van Gogh-like oscillating lines, which recall interference on television screens.

Although the paintings in the artist’s oeuvre allude to forms of technology that are ubiquitous in our lives, the artist also pays tribute to history, citing the Buddhist Diamond Sutra as his inspiration. To achieve enlightenment, one has to shatter illusions and free oneself from attachment, but the artist’s nostalgia for the past is expressed in his Electronic Nostalgia series, which he has built on for over 10 years, celebrating the vitality of life while feeling sentimental about the analogue world. This emphasis on spirituality is further echoed by his inclusion of traditional symbols such as mountains, adapted to create a new visual language for today, in works like p2012-Electronic Nostalgia. Situated among radiating webs of pink, purple and grey curved lines, juxtaposed against vertical rectangular tubes in gradients in the background, the mountains are painted as if they were melting soundwaves. They are depicted in layers using the traditional Korean painting technique hyukpil. 

Gazing at the pulsating brushstrokes created by the artist becomes a sensory experience reminiscent of synesthesia as much as a liberation of the mind from altered perceptions. In Cloud Map-p1315r, Kim portrays a landscape scenery in a dreamlike manner using a pastel colour palette. Liquid clouds flow downwards in surreal ways among mountains hovering in mid-air. Some paintings on display at the exhibition have reached a higher level of abstraction, notable for the absence of any recognisable symbols. p2022-Electronic Nostalgia features blocks of patterns collaged together, with each area showing different textures. Alternating bands of neon pink and green, in a variety of thicknesses, draw the eye with contrasting colours. The uneven, hand-drawn curved lines which divide each section give the tech-themed work a human touch: something that the 1s and 0s of binary codes cannot replace.

In a world where rapid development has left us with no choice but to embrace technology, it is more important than ever to retrace our roots and contemplate our place in the world. By referencing the Diamond Mountain, an important Korean cultural symbol, the artist leaves his mark in his work and tells the story of the experiences that shape who he is today. While the future is certainly going to be digital, knowledge of the past enriches our lives.

Image: Cloud Map-p1315r by Kim Young-Hun. Oil on linen, 112 x 162 cm, 2013. Courtesy the artist and Soluna Fine Art.


Soluna Fine Art.的入口處放置的盆栽,再加上二樓的綠色方格瓷磚地板,使整個展覽空間玩味濃厚,展出的是韓國藝術家金永憲的個人展覽「金剛山:電子鄉愁」。金氏飽含色彩的油畫,混合模擬和數碼、哲學和科技,及歷史和未來主義的美學。他抽象的畫作探索一份迷失感,那是由虛擬和數碼世界、及我們的真實生活之間的模糊界線所帶來。在畫布上交織出韓國傳統山水、振動的幾何圖案、及如梵高畫筆下的富動感線條,令人想起昔日電視熒幕受干擾時的畫面。

雖然藝術家的畫作蘊含著我們生活中無所不在的科技形態,但他亦透過佛教金剛經為靈感來源來向歷史致敬。人要達到開悟的境界,必須打破幻象,才能夠脫離枷鎖;可是,藝術家創作逾十年的《電子鄉愁》 系列作品中,卻流露他對昔日的追懷;即使對類比世界有所懷緬,但作品亦讚頌生命的活力。金氏運用傳統象徵符號,例如山脈,進一步探索心靈境界,這些符號經調整後,建構出一套適合現今的視覺語言,就如在作品《p2012-Electronic Nostalgia》。置於由粉紅、紫和灰色曲線形成的網,與背景中多個不同坡度的縱向矩形狀的管塊並置,多座山以韓國傳統的繪畫技術「革筆畫」(Hyukpil) 分層描繪,彷彿是一堆正在融化的聲波條紋。

凝視著藝術家的脈動筆觸是一趟能激起藝術聯覺的感官體驗,同樣亦透過已改變的感知中得到思想上的解脫。在作品《Cloud Map-p1315r》,金氏以柔和的色調繪畫出如夢似幻的景色,如流水的雲朵在山脈之間,半空之中,以超現實的形態往下流動。展覽中的一些畫作達至更深層的抽象意境,值得注意的是它們沒帶有任何可識別的象徵。《p2022-Electronic Nostalgia》展現多塊拼湊在一起的圖案,每個部份卻有著不同的質感。霓虹粉紅色和綠色的交替地帶,以多種厚度突出對比色彩。不整齊的手繪曲線把每個層面劃分起來,讓以科技為主題的作品帶有人性化的一面:這是二元碼中的 「1」 和「0」 無法取代。

在這個發展迅速的世界中,我們不得不選擇科技,現在最重要的是回溯根本及深思我們在世界的位置。透過金剛山這個韓國重要的文化象徵,藝術家在作品中留下他的痕跡,並訴說出成就現今自己的故事。縱使未來必定是走向數碼時代,但對過去的認知卻能豐富我們的生命。

Library

By Chihoi /
Published by nos:books, 2019 /
Ysabelle Cheung /

The day I visited Chihoi’s exhibition at ACO Art Space in Wanchai, it was strangely quiet. Both the security guard and docent were absent; I stood alone with the drawings and comic panels, which were pinned to soft fabric boards in pastel hues. After a while, a woman arrived and asked if I wanted to visit “the reading room” for a fee of HK$10. I agreed and was handed a key, which unlocked a small closet near the entrance. Inside I found a small school desk, a vintage lamp and a chair. There was a womb-like, conspirational feeling to the cabinet, augmented by the room’s central object: an unpublished, hidden chapter from Chihoi’s latest book, Library.

Chihoi, a Hong Kong-born artist, has been publishing fictional comics since 1996. Rendering his figures and landscapes in soft graphite tones – blacks rubbed silver from shading, the pages suffused with a sooty pallor – he has often referenced literature in his work, from his debut book, The Writer (1997), about a female author grappling with ambition, to an adaptation of Taiwanese writer Hung Hung’s short fiction piece The Train (2007).

Library contains five chapters, excluding the unpublished one, featuring a cast of characters linked to a fictional library in Hong Kong. Libraries are mythologised in popular culture, often presented as sacrosanct forums for philosophy and knowledge. However, in Chihoi’s one – a sculpted, tensile building with arched entrances – this trope is subverted. It is less a portal for knowledge, more a space of ambiguity and loss, reflecting our desperate and often futile search for truth and meaning in text. For example, in Borrowed Books, an elderly grandfather burns library books once read by his deceased wife, consumed by his grief. In the book’s titular chapter, a man enters the library but, instead of finding the text he came for, is given a key that unlocks a series of linked underground chambers. We see people rifling through ceiling-high filing cabinets and crushed under reams of paper and bookshelves. In the very last chamber, the skeletal remains of past visitors portend a morbid fate, which the protagonist ignores. Instead, he begins to read a book titled The Lost City.

The meaning of Library is layered and abstract. But there are clues: the presence of Hong Kong history books and fables throughout hint at an identity crisis connected to the city’s vanishing culture. In his afterword, Chihoi writes of how he has collected similar books onhis travels, creating an itinerant bookshelf that pays homage to a place on the edge of erasure. “Borrowed books, borrowed life,” the elderly grandfather laments, echoing a well-known term used to describe Hong Kong – as a “borrowed place on borrowed time”. Even the small cabinet in the exhibition was a space of borrowing; in it, you could read the unpublished chapter for as long as you wanted, but you could not take photographs or remove anything from the room.

In the penultimate chapter, The Book Inferno, a group of students visit a literature-themed park based on Dante’s visions of hell, which illustrate grotesque punishments for perceived criminals, including those who “steal or borrow books and fail to return them”. Although written in a facetious tone, the scene presents a sobering metaphor for authoritarian control and ownership. If books are our histories and we are the borrowers, who doles out these punishments? Who controls the library? Chihoi leaves this open to interpretation, only warning us that although we can rent our own narratives and stories, we must eventually return them.

我到位於灣仔的艺鵠藝術空間參觀智海的展覽時,場地鴉雀無聲,有點奇怪。保安員及講解員均不在,智海的插畫及漫畫釘在展示板上,我獨自站在他的作品前。過了一會,一位女士前來詢問我是否有興趣支付港幣10元進入「閱讀室」參觀。我表示感興趣,那位女士便給了我一把鑰匙讓我打開入口附近的一間小房間。小房間裡面有一張小書枱、一盞舊式小燈及一張椅子。這個房間給我一種幽靜私密的感覺,放在房間正中央的物件更加加深了這種氣氛──那是智海最新的漫畫合集《圖書館》中沒有收錄的一章。

智海是一位出生於香港的藝術家。他自1996年起發表漫畫創作。他筆下的人物及風景是柔和的石墨色,在白紙上用灰黑色繪畫,作品的色彩灰暗蒼白。智海的創作時常會引用其他文學作品,如他的處女作《The Writer》(1997年)及短篇漫畫《灰掐》(2007年)。前者是一個描繪一位掙扎著追尋夢想的女作家的故事,後者則是以台灣作家鴻鴻的小說為藍本進行創作。

《圖書館》共有五個章節(不包括沒有收錄的一章),描繪了不同角色在一個虛構的香港圖書館中的故事。在流行文化中,圖書館被塑造成一個哲學與知識的神壇。不過智海創造的圖書館則完全不同,他筆下的圖書館是一座形狀扭曲、擁有拱形入口的建築。他的圖書館並不是知識的寶庫,而是一個迷茫與失落的空間,體現了我們在文字裡嘗

試追尋真理和意義時迫切的渴望及有時徒勞的努力。以〈借來的書〉一章為例,一位老伯伯在老伴去世後,在悲傷的驅使下焚燒了圖書館內他的老伴閱讀過的書籍。在〈圖書館〉一章中,一個男人進入圖書館後沒有去尋找他本來想找的書,而是接過鑰匙打開了地下室。我們可見人在高至天花板的書櫃間穿梭,被大量紙張和書架壓倒。走到地下室最裡面的一個房間後,男人無視了房間中前人的骷髏骨,漠視其中可怕的暗示,反而開始閱讀一本名為《消失的城市》的書。

《圖書館》中隱含的意義抽象複雜,但還是可以從一些線索中找到提示:關於香港的歷史書與寓言故事在漫畫中隨處可見,暗示了香港逐漸消失的文化引致的身份認同危機。在後記中,智海寫到他如何在旅途中收集相關的書籍及創建一個流動書櫃,以對香港這個面臨文化被抹殺的城市表示敬意。漫畫中一位老伯伯慨嘆:「借來的書,借來的人生。」此話正正呼應了一句形容香港的老話:「借來的地方,借來的時間。」展覽所用的小房間亦是租借來的,在房間中你可以慢慢欣賞沒有收錄進合集的那一章漫畫,卻不能拍照或從房間中帶走任何東西。

在書中倒數第二章《書地獄》中,智海根據但丁的描述繪畫出一個地獄主題公園,一群學生前往遊玩。故事裡,有些人被視為罪犯,犯下包括「偷書或借書不還」等罪行被處以荒謬怪誕的刑罰。縱使故事的調子輕鬆,但這些畫面亦令人反思威權下的操控和佔有。如果書本是我們的歷史而我們是借書的人,誰會是刑罰的執行者?誰控制圖書館?智海將問題留給讀者細思。他只告誡我們雖然可以租借自己的歷史與故事,但是終究要歸還。

Takis at White Cube Hong Kong

Takis /
Nov 21 – Feb 27 /

White Cube Hong Kong /
1/F, 50 Connaught Road, Central /
Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 7pm /

White Cube Hong Kong is pleased to present an exhibition of works by the late Greek artist Takis (1925–2019). This first presentation in Asia follows his last major solo exhibition as a living artist at the Tate Modern.

Featuring sculptures drawn from a thirty-year period – from the end of the 1960s to the 1990s – it showcases the artist’s committed exploration of art and science. 

Born in Athens, Takis took art into realms that were previously considered the domain of physicists and engineers. Describing himself as an ‘instinctive scientist’, Takis carved out a new aesthetic territory, incorporating invisible forms of energy such as magnetic, acoustic or light waves as the fourth dimension of his work.

View full exhibition details online.

Francis Alÿs and Mika Rottenberg at Tai Kwun Contemporary

Now till February 2021 /

Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong / 
10 Hollywood Road / 
Central, Hong Kong /
Tuesday to Sunday, 11am – 7pm /

Wet feet __ dry feet: borders and games
Solo exhibition by Francis Alÿs

Curators: Xue Tan, Sunjung Kim
Co-presented with Art Sonje Seoul

Wet feet __ dry feet: borders and games gathers for the first time in Hong Kong important recent works by Francis Alÿs, one of the most influential conceptual artists of our time. Structured around the artist’s interest in migration, borders, and his fascination with children’s games from around the world, this solo exhibition highlights Francis Alÿs’s poetic, imaginative sensibility, anchored by geopolitical concerns and individual will while being grounded in everyday life.

The title of the exhibition was the spark to Alÿs’s works in this exhibition: “Wet Feet, Dry Feet” refers to the US policy on Cuban refugees in 1995. Under this policy, Cuban migrants headed for the United States faced vastly different treatment depending on whether they were intercepted at sea or on land, on US soil. If intercepted at sea (“wet feet”), they would be repatriated back to Cuba; if intercepted on land (“dry feet”), they would be allowed to stay in the United States. For a Hong Kong audience, this might sound uncannily familiar: the “Touch Base” policy in 1970s Hong Kong meant that Mainland Chinese migrants would be sent back to the Mainland if intercepted at sea or in the New Territories; only if they reached south of Boundary Street—the formal boundary between Kowloon and the New Territories—were migrants allowed to stay legally in the territory (in the quirky British sports reference, “touch base”).

The connection between borders and games in Francis Alÿs’s artistic practice lies at the heart of the exhibition. After his quixotic attempt to connect Havana and Florida through lines of boats volunteered by fishing communities and private boat owners in Bridge/Puente (2006), the artist shifted his attention to the narrower Strait of Gibraltar, a waterway 13 km wide, with the imaginative impulse of connecting Northern Africa and Southern Europe with lines of fishing boats—which were later enacted metaphorically by groups of children departing from the shores with “shoe boats”, tiny boats made with babouches and flip-flop sandals. In a process that took two years of preparation, the artist evaded interference and interest from various parties, and filmed the final performance as a utopian endeavour. Presented alongside the video installation Don’t Cross the Bridge Before You Get to the River (2008) are over 100 paintings and drawings, as well as notes drafted along the production of the project. While working with these children, Alÿs was reminded of his long-time observation of children at play, particularly their appropriation of public spaces for play and their strong sense of moving freely within “rules”.

His latest on-going project, Children’s Games (1999–present), consists of more than 20 documentary videos of children at play in various locations; some were filmed in countries that have suffered from ongoing war and conflicts, such as Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as other places such as Nepal, Jordan, Mexico, France, and Hong Kong—the last featuring newly commissioned videos by Tai Kwun Contemporary. Without ever becoming directly involved, the artist documents children moving in their own ways and playing their games—games which also echo the rituals, symbols, insights, superstitions and events of the specific society, culture, and locality. Children’s Games is in the vein of his artistic practice—touching poetically on conceptual displacement and alluding lightly, whimsically on politics and social engagement. Viewers can observe a poignant sense of innocence and the redemptive power of play—universal and transcending conventions, boundaries, and borders.

For more details, click here

SNEEZE
Solo exhibition by Mika Rottenberg

Curator: Tobias Berger
Presenter: Tai Kwun Contemporary

SNEEZE, Mika Rottenberg’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, ushers in surreal alternative worlds of everyday life with video installations. With an engaging yet rigorous artistic practice combining film, architectural installation and sculpture, Mika Rottenberg is fascinated by processes of labour and the production of value in our contemporary world.

For more details, click here

Bouie Choi Yuk Kuen 蔡鈺娟

By John Batten /

Bouie Choi Yuk Kuen reminded me that we first met when she and fellow Chinese University of Hong Kong fine arts students were invited to use empty units of the former Police Married Quarters in 2008 to show their work before its closure for renovation into PMQ. This was a touching memory; the battle to save the historic PMQ was one of many campaigns to save Central Hong Kong’s heritage buildings in which I was involved. After its closure as residential quarters for the police, the PMQ units were decrepit and had seen no paint or repair for decades: perfect for artists to use and fill with sound, lights, videos and found objects for their installations – or, as Choi did, hang paintings on dusty walls of ripped wallpaper. Hong Kong’s old colonial city also plays an underpinning role in Choi’s recent work, the physical remains of the past under attack.

Bouie Choi face-masked during Covid-19 social restrictions, Pottinger Street, Central, Hong Kong, 29 September 2020. Photo: John Batten

After Choi’s early experiences with the unrenovated PMQ, and later seeing that site and its modernist buildings conserved, she was a community worker for six years for local charity St James’ Settlement on a similar heritage preservation project: the historic Blue House, a rare colonial-era terrace building in Wan Chai. Choi mixed with the local community and businesses, many of them car repair shops, and organised community activities with local kaifong and community associations, drawing on her art skills, friendly personality and calm understanding of others.

The Blue House adopted a classic community work approach: Choi and her colleagues facilitated events and activities together with the local community. These years were a defining time and Choi understood that she wished “to give to society” and that “I needed to be good to myself, to be able to give back”. She broadened her knowledge of Hong Kong history, its diverse present and unique culture. She was personally enriched hearing residents’ stories and becoming close to the local community. Especially happy were sessions with young mothers and their children organised by Choi, which also included anyone else visiting the Blue House at the time.

Before that solid stint of full-time work and after graduating from CUHK in 2009, she completed graduate studies in London in 2012. She recalls: “That time was all white, a blur. I did public performances: a waste of time – it confirmed for me that I wanted to be a painter.”

The fallen petals by Bouie Choi, Hong Kong orchid in acrylic clip, 2019. Courtesy the artist and Grotto Fine Art.

As a painter, she has exhibited at Grotto Fine Art on average once every five years. Always prepared around her other work, her art has evolved over these years. Known in the past for carefully beautiful paintingsdepicting animals and insects, often in symmetrical formations with a fantasy-like ambience, her current work is “multiple 

layers of me; violent and tender”. She particularly has put into practice the advice of her former CUHK teacher Chan Yuk Keung that art should have “physicality, cultural significance and spirituality – to ensure that art is differentiated from, say, design”.

Her latest exhibition at Grotto, borrowed space _ borrowed time, takes its title from the book published in 1978 by the ebullient Australian journalist Richard Hughes, The Times of London’s long-time Hong Kong correspondent, whose sculpted bust stands sentry in Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club and who is immortalised as the doughty journalist Craw in John le Carré’s spy thriller The Honourable Schoolboy. Hughes wrote: “Hong Kong is a borrowed place living on borrowed time … [and] is an impudent rambunctious free-booting colony, naked and unashamed, devoid of self-pity, regrets or fear of the future.” Hughes describes the city’s gritty, indomitable spirit, popularly known as the Lion Rock spirit, of business savviness, an ability for hard work and long hours, in an anything-goes capitalist economy.

By 2019, many living in Hong Kong were missing out on the opportunities offered by the city’s relentless free-wheeling economy. Generations of the elderly, disabled, sick, new immigrants, and the city’s many low-skilled, low-paid workers have been overlooked by success. The government’s Hong Kong Poverty Situation Report 2018 indicated that 20 per cent of the city’s population, or 1.5 million people, live below the poverty line. The Hong Kong spirit, evolved under British colonial rule, now also embraces greater political and social awareness. The drive for self-betterment remains strong, but now understood are the inequalities between rich and poor, government protection of business monopolies and anger about the lack of real universal suffrage guaranteed under the Basic Law and an unelected, executive-led government.

Choi’s careful planning for this exhibition took an unexpected trajectory. After leaving her job at the Blue House, the second half of 2019 was to be devoted to full-time painting. However, amid controversial extradition legislation and public demands for the government to deal with a host of domestic economic and political issues, Hong Kong imploded with increasingly fractious anti-government protests and violence. The city also became caught in international geopolitics and escalating trade tensions between China and the US.

It was an unprecedented and highly charged time. Every corner of Hong Kong was hit by the tension and drama of months of protests. It felt as if daily life was on hold. Choi says she was “paralysed” during these months. She had no ideas for new paintings. She did not paint.

The mountain city by Bouie Choi, Acrylic on wood with vintage frame 41 x 32 cm, 2019. 
Courtesy the artist and Grotto Fine Art.

Except for preparing The Fallen Petals and painting The mountain city in November and December 2019 as an immediate reaction to events, she did not paint until after February 2020. Then, she “tried to fix [herself] through painting”. Covid-19 had begun to spread and Hong Kong’s weekly anti-government protests had trailed off as awareness of the virus grew and social distancing restrictions were introduced. Choi’s imagery in the exhibition is dragged from the depths of those tortured, anguished months. Her emotions, however, are in a higher place. She says: “Let me explain before I start murmuring something incomprehensible: this is an exhibition about my beloved homeland; this is about the remained, the authentic, the precious.”

Setting the tone of the exhibition at the gallery entrance is The Fallen Petals, a pressed bauhinia flower, still holding its distinctive purple colour and displayed between two transparent acrylic panels angled out from the wall. The city’s flower emblem casts a shadow, like a sad, out-of-focus photograph, as if Hong Kong is a shadow of its former self. This sets a tone, but the ambience of the exhibition is better felt a few further steps in, when surrounded entirely by Choi’s paintings. The exhibition comprises paintings with thinly applied acrylic – a watercolour impression – on paper. These contrast with the major work of the exhibition, Choi’s ‘black’ paintings: waves of ominous black-indigo applied on golden-hued, varnished wooden panels. Emerging between blotches of paint, mountains and valleys is a dystopian maelstrom. Hong Kong is hit by a tidal wave, engulfing buildings, objects, lives, emotions and good sense.

The work A borrowed place on borrowed time is Choi’s largest ever painting, a six-panel landscape of the city. Bathed in shadows and light, Hong Kong’s government headquarters, the Central Government Offices, stands intact (just), but the rest of the city is threatened by the long claw of demolition. 

The city and its unique street ambience – for example street markets, low-rise tong lau buildings and neon signs – have long been threatened with physical redevelopment. Hong Kong people are accustomed to their city being a property developer’s marketplace, with their lives upended by noise, dust, inconvenience and possible compulsory acquisition. Choi’s claw is depicted physically, but its demolition is also a prelude to possible fundamental cultural changes: the city’s Cantonese language subsumed by Mandarin; a free press replaced with media restrictions; schools with an increasingly controlled curriculum.

The mountain city depicts The Chinese University of Hong Kong under siege. In mid-November 2019, all of Hong Kong’s universities experienced seriously violent clashes between police and protesters. The most serious were at CUHK and The Polytechnic University of Hong Kong, which both saw pitched battles with police firing thousands of rounds of tear gas, water cannon volleys and rubber bullets as protesters built barricades and returned fire with Molotov cocktails, stones and, at PolyU, arrows. Choi’s pall of smoke and tear gas above CUHK’s hillside, seen from Tolo Harbour, is a dramatically iconic and poignant depiction of that month’s messy confrontations.

The surf watcher personifies the challenge that Hong Kong protesters repeatedly threw at local governance, police authority and government sovereignty. Is the flaying octopus with its akimbo tentacles depicting Hong Kong people or the government during the protests? Whoever it is, a mutually destructive denouement is taking place before our eyes.

A borrowed place on borrowed time by Bouie Choi, Acrylic on wood, 122 x 274.5 cm, set of 6 wooden panels,
each of 61 x 91.5 cm, 2020.Courtesy the artist and Grotto Fine Art.

Choi’s work on paper is a counterpoint to the ‘black’ paintings. The wood-panelled paintings give a broader-brush view of the protest era, whereas the works on paper give a focused photographic intimacy and are stripped-back studies for the larger paintings. Single trees, often fallen, and groups of pot plants feature in the smaller work. Hong Kong’s trees and pot plants have a precarious existence: the wind, heavy rain, typhoons and the city’s concrete streets are tough on plants, but they are resourceful and hardy. Just like the people.

Embedded in all of Choi’s paintings are small painted details significant during the protests: a protester in an athlete-like throwing pose; stacks of ‘iron horse’ barricades; safety tape criss-crossing a painting; a figure lying on the ground; figures in windows; a fire; witches’ hats; roadside figures; two striding figures carrying a flag; silhouetted figures, actually shop mannequins, standing outside a possibly just trashed bank. There are hanging hillside trees; more pot plants; balconies; distant housing estates. The city has tunnels and hillsides and views onto rooftops and into windows and along streets and inside carparks and a glimpse of beloved Lion Rock. The details are psychotropic in their flashed-vision variety.

The exhibition’s final painting, Retournées, dating from 2017, is an almost traditional scroll painting employing Choi’s careful earlier painting style. Depicted are two boats, each holding a windswept tree, with the horizon splitting the painting into two. In its top half are wispy banyan tree roots attached to a wall; below is a calm sea. Anyone who has ever chosen to live in Hong Kong, or who arrived from mainland China during its many 20th-century upheavals, will see the city’s past hope and fragility. Hong Kong’s own upheavals and future uncertainty are reprised in this painting. This is Bouie Choi’s “beloved homeland”.

蔡鈺娟提醒我,我們第一次見面是在2008年,當時她和其他香港中文大學的美術系學生獲邀在前已婚警察宿舍使用其中的空房展示作品,當時該處尚未改裝成元創方。那段回憶令我非常感動,活化歷史悠久的元創方是其中一個我參與的中環歷史建築保育活動。在前已婚警察宿舍關閉後,當時的元創方單位非常破舊,數十年來沒有油漆或維修過,非常適合藝術家使用並加上聲音、燈光和影片元素,以及收集裝置所需物件。又或像蔡鈺娟一樣,將畫作掛在滿佈灰塵、牆紙破爛的牆壁上。在蔡鈺娟的最新作品中,香港舊日的殖民城市亦擔當了重要角色,而過去遺留下來的實體正受到攻擊。

有了早期在未裝修的元創方的展出經驗,到後來看到該址及其現代主義建築受到保護後,蔡鈺娟在當地慈善機構聖雅各福群會從事一項類似的古蹟保育項目社區工作長達六年,項目主題就是歷史悠久且罕見的殖民地時代唐樓建築--灣仔藍屋。蔡鈺娟與當地社區和商店(多數是汽車維修店)聯手合作,利用她的繪畫技巧、友善的性格和冷靜及富同理心的態度與當地的街坊和社區協會組織社區活動。

藍屋採用了經典的社區工作方式:蔡鈺娟和她的同事與當地社區一起促成節目和活動。那幾年的時間非常關鍵,令蔡鈺娟明白自己希望「貢獻社會」,而「我必須對自己好,才能回饋社會」。於是她深入了解香港歷史,認識其多元化的現貌和獨特的文化。聆聽居民的故事令她覺得收穫良多,並與當地社區建立深厚的關係。蔡鈺娟尤其喜歡由自己組織與年輕母親和她們的小孩參與的座談會,當中還包括其他當時參觀藍屋的人。

在從事全職工作前,她於2009年在香港中文大學畢業,其後於2012年在倫敦完成了碩士學位。她回憶道:「那段時間很迷茫。我參加了一些公開展出,非常浪費時間。令我明白到我想成為一名畫家。」

成為畫家後,她平均每五年都會在嘉圖畫廊展出一次。這些年來,她一直為其他作品作準備,藝術實踐不斷發展。過去她以細緻精美的動物和昆蟲繪畫作品著稱,通常都會以對稱的形式呈現夢幻的氛圍,形容自己她現時的作品是「多層的我,暴力又溫柔」。她特別採用了前中大老師陳育強的建議,即藝術應具有「物理性、文化意義和靈性,確保藝術與設計有所區別」。

她在嘉圖畫廊的最新展覽「如是_偏安一隅」標題取材於熱情洋溢的澳洲記者理查德.休斯1978年出版的書本。休斯為倫敦《泰晤士報》長期駐港記者,他的半身像安放於香港外國記者會,更被約翰·勒.卡雷於其偵探驚悚小說書籍《榮譽學生》中描繪成強悍的記者Craw。休斯寫道:「香港是一個借來的地方,靠借來的時間……[並且]是一個肆無忌憚、自由奔放的殖民地、赤裸裸的、無愧的、不自憐,對未來沒有感到遺憾或恐懼。」休斯描述了這座城市不屈不撓的精神(通稱獅子山精神),在萬事通行的資本主義經濟中具有精明的商業才能、勤奮和長時間工作的能力。

到2019年,許多香港人都錯過了香港不斷發展的自由經濟所提供的機會。成功與老人、殘疾人士、病人、新移民以及城中許多低技能和低薪工人擦身而過。政府的《2018年香港貧窮情況報告》指出,香港有20%人口(即150萬人)生活在貧窮線以下。在英國殖民統治下發展的香港精神,現也具有更高的政治和社會意識。人們自我改進的動力仍然很強,但現在更清楚理解了貧富之間的不平等和政府對商業壟斷的保護,以及對《基本法》無法保障真正的普選權和由選舉產生的行政領導政府感到憤怒。

蔡鈺娟為這次展覽精心策劃的軌跡令人出乎意料。離開藍屋的工作後,她把2019年下半年的時間全部投入繪畫。然而,引渡條例爭議不斷,在公眾要求政府處理經濟和政治問題的情況下,香港爆發了越趨激烈的反政府示威和暴力事件,還陷入了國際地緣政治和中美貿易越趨緊張的局勢之中。

這段時間史無前例且形勢非常緊張。香港的每個角落都受到長達數月的示威活動的緊張和戲劇性局面打擊,感覺好像日常生活受到擱置。蔡鈺娟說那數個月她「癱瘓了」,她對作品毫無頭緒,也沒有作畫。

除了在2019年11月準備《落紅》和2019年12月繪畫《山城》對事件的直接反應外,她直至2020年2月之後才開始重新繪畫。然後,她「試圖透過繪畫來修復自己」。其後新型肺炎開始傳播,隨著人們對病毒的意識增強和政府實施了社交隔離限制,香港每週的反政府示威活動也逐漸減弱。

蔡鈺娟在展覽中的畫作是那幾個月從那飽受折磨、痛苦難眠的深處中畫成。雖然受盡煎熬,但她的情緒亦更加高昂。她說:「在我開始碎碎唸之前,我想說,這是一個關於我最愛的家鄉的展覽。如果說偏安是『殘存』,那麼殘留下來的或許是最真實、最可貴的。」

《落紅》落在畫廊入口處,是展覽的基調。作品是一朵壓製的洋紫荊,與牆壁成一直角於兩塊透明阿加力膠片中展示,仍保持著鮮明的紫色。市花投射的陰影就像一幅悲傷失散焦的相片一樣,彷彿香港就是昔日自己的陰影。作品就這樣定下了展覽的基調,但當你走前幾步,整個展覽都被蔡鈺娟的畫所包圍時,展覽的氛圍更好。展覽展出了塗上薄層塑膠彩的水彩紙本作品,與展覽中蔡鈺娟的「黑色」主要作品形成鮮明的對比:予人不祥感覺的黑和靛藍色波浪繪於金色的清漆木板上。在油漆斑點中,山脈和山谷之間出現了反烏托邦漩渦。香港被海嘯襲擊,吞沒了建築物、物件、生命、情感和理智。

《如是偏安一隅》是蔡鈺娟有史以來最大的一幅畫作,亦是描繪城市風景的六連作。香港政府總部勉強完整無缺,但整座城市的其他部分卻受到破壞的威脅。城市及其獨特的街道氣氛長期受到重建的威脅,例如街市、低層的唐樓和霓虹燈等。香港人已經習慣了城市成為地產商的市場,他們的生活受噪音、灰塵、不便和收地而破壞。蔡鈺娟實際描繪了她的想法,但城市的破壞也可能是根本文化變化的前奏:廣東話逐漸被普通話取代、媒體限制新聞自由、學校課程越來越受控制。

《山城》描繪了香港中文大學被圍剿的情景。在2019年11月中旬,香港所有大學都經歷了警察與抗爭者間的嚴重暴力衝突,最嚴重的是香港中文大學和香港理工大學,兩間大學都與警察展開了激烈的戰鬥,發射了數千發催淚彈、水砲和橡膠子彈,抗爭者建起了路障,並以汽油彈和石頭回擊,理大更使用了弓箭。蔡鈺娟筆下吐露港所見在中大山坡上冒出的濃煙和催淚煙,是對該月凌亂交鋒的標誌性和深刻的描繪。

《無風雨,也無情》體現了香港示威者一再向地方管治、警察當局和政府主權施加的挑戰。觸鬚剝皮的八爪魚,是描繪的在抗議期間的香港人還是政府?是誰也好,都在我們眼前上演了互相殘殺的結局。

蔡鈺娟的紙本作品與「黑色」畫作相對。鑲有木板的繪畫為抗爭時代提供了更廣闊的視野;而紙本作品則賦予了集中的攝影親密感,並且是對大型畫作的精簡研究;較小的作品則經常以倒下的樹木和盆栽植物為主題。香港的樹木和盆栽植物瀕危:風、大雨、颱風和城內的水泥街道都對植物不利,但它們足智多謀,就像香港人一樣。

蔡鈺娟所有繪畫中都包含了一些微小但在抗爭中很重要的彩繪細節:抗爭者擺出運動員一樣的投擲姿勢、「鐵馬」路障、交叉在畫作前的安全膠帶、躺在地上的人、窗戶上的人、火、女巫帽子、路邊的人、兩名旗手、在一個可能已受破壞的銀行外的服裝模特兒剪影。除此之外,還有山坡上的樹木、盆栽植物、露台和遙遠的屋邨。這座城市有隧道、山坡,可以看到屋頂、窗戶、街上和停車場內的景色,還有備受愛戴的獅子山。這些細節在其閃爍的視覺效果中極具精神色彩。

展覽的最後一幅畫作為2017年的《歸去來》,作品為幾乎傳統的捲軸畫,採用了蔡鈺娟早期謹慎的繪畫風格。畫中描繪了兩艘船,每艘船上都有一棵被風吹拂的樹,地平線將畫作一分為二。上半部分為依附在牆上細膩的榕樹根;下面則為平靜的海面。任何選擇居港或在20世紀動盪期間從中國大陸來港的人,都會看到這座城市過去的希望和脆弱。這幅畫再現了香港自身的動盪和對未來的未知,這就是蔡鈺娟「最愛的家鄉」。

Artist Talk Elisa Sighicelli: Stone Talk at Rossi & Rossi

Elisa Sighicelli and HKU art history professor Dr Susanna McFadden in conversation on Roman art and culture /

Saturday, Nov 7, 2020 /
4pm – 5pm (coinciding with Southside Saturday) 

In gallery and zoom (details as below) 
Zoom ID: 968 493 7982 / Password: talkstone

Rossi & Rossi
3/F Yally Industrial Building
6 Yip Fat Street, Wong Chuk Hang
Tuesday to Saturday, 11am – 6pm
+852 3575 9417

Co-presented in partnership with the Italian Cultural Institute in Hong Kong.

On the occasion of Elisa Sighicelli’s exhibition Stone Talk at Rossi & Rossiplease join the artist in conversation with Hong Kong University art history professor Dr Susanna McFadden, as they discuss their views on Roman art and culture. 

Together they will explore the idea of beauty in relation to the body in the Graeco-Roman world, as well as the materials used in ancient times and parallels with the contemporary works of Sighicelli.

Roman artists often employed techniques such as trompe l’oeil to deceive the viewer concerning the material reality of the object. This same idea can be applied to the works of Sighicelli; her experimental approach to photography often probes into the materiality of photos and its effect on our way of seeing, printing her work on varied materials including satin, travertine, plasterboard and marble, depending on the subject matter.

Sighicelli is known for her installation-based studies of objects and their relationship to space. She has exhibited internationally, and her works can be seen in notable institutional collections. Based in her hometown of Turin, she studied textile design in Florence before finishing her undergraduate degree at Kingston University in London, and later received her Master of Arts at the Slade School of Fine Art.

Dr Susanna McFadden is a specialist in the art, architecture and archaeology of the Greco-Roman and late antique Mediterranean, with a particular emphasis on the medium of wall painting. Before joining the faculty of The University of Hong Kong, she taught art and archaeology in the US at Bryn Mawr College, Fordham University and the University of Pennsylvania. Dr McFadden has authored several articles and book chapters on late Roman wall painting in Rome and Egypt. Her current book project focuses on the visual culture of late Roman Egypt and explores the spatial, ritual and material dynamics of wall paintings in the ancient Mediterranean at large.

Further information at http://rossirossi.com/contemporaryexhibit/elisa-sighicelli-stone-talk/

Household Gods 「駐家寧神」

By Aaina Bhargava /

Protests and pandemics have relegated us to the domestic sphere, where we’ve been forced to confront the anxiety and fear induced by the past year’s events. In addition to political, economic and social disruptions of unprecedented proportions, we’re experiencing emotional and psychological upheavals specifically reactive to this point in time.

Articulating and reflecting on this complex state of being, Hong Kong artists Shane Aspegren, Nadim Abbas, Tap Chan and Wu Jiaru have come together to stage Household Gods, an exhibition curated by Ying Kwok, on view at Hart Hall in H Queens. Lifted from writer and occultist Aleister Crowley’s early 20th-century play Household Gods, the title of the show explicitly outlines its objective: to question our relationship with the supernatural through our “most intimate setting”, the home. 

Wu Jiaru. Installation view.

The four artists conceived of the exhibition while working alongside each other at Hart Haus’ sprawling 10,000 sq ft Hart Social Studio in November 2019, before the advent of Covid-19. Despite their seemingly disparate practices, the artists find common ground in using domestic objects, exploring how they serve as channels to activate the unknown or uncanny.

Kwok describes this collaboration as one that distinguishes the exhibition from others, as “the subject was not given to the artists as it usually is, but directly emerged from their mutual interests”. In their own distinct ways, they strive to harness this abstract feeling, one that particularly resonates in the current climate of uncertainty.

“The content has to carry emotion,” says Kwok. “We’re trying to explore or understand the supernatural – something we don’t have an answer to. The best way to do that is through emotion. It’s about the psychological status and evoking a feeling we carry. Oftentimes a divine, supernatural being or power provides guidance when we can’t understand something. The spiritual realm is unexplored and represents a big unknown; there’s an abstract quality to it that we want to explore.”

Tap Chan. Installation view.

Abbas’s drive to address this theme stems from trying to “capture something that is slippery and elusive”, and perhaps even non-existent, as “belief is creating significance out of nothing”, says the artist, broaching the topic of faith and the sacred. It’s fitting that the first piece viewers encounter is Abbas’s Homeless Forms for Formless Homes (2020), a striking installation resembling a totemic shrine, encasing goods stockpiled against the apocalypse, such as spam and toilet paper, which is also evocative of the South Korean blockbuster Parasite.

Apocalyptic scenes and dystopian realms from sci-fi and horror films have long fuelled Abbas’s conceptual practice. In 2014, in partnership with Absolut Vodka during Art Basel, the artist created Apocalypse Postponed (2014), an immersive, multisensory installation in a bar, like a post-apocalyptic bunker, through a collaboration in which Aspergen also took part. Continuing the theme of apocalyptic preparation, in the current exhibition Abbas invokes the notion of the supernatural directly through ordinary household objects.

“It brings to mind when something as ordinary as a piece of furniture, like a chair, is no longer just that, but is charged with something electric,” he says. “It changes your perspective on that object.”

Inspired by modular furniture, specifically Ikea’s DIY variety, Abbas constructed the two structures from plywood, scouring pads, dish sponges and cardboard. Using repetition and symmetry as formal techniques to assemble them, he reinforces a totemic visual quality while simultaneously referencing the practice of both domestic and spiritual rituals.

Domestic rituals are integral to Chan’s Threshold Field (2020), a “domestic altar” made from melted polyurethane, on the surface of which she created two round depressions, containing blue and purple mouthwash.

“I’m thinking of daily cleansing rituals,” she explains, “particularly those we perform now and are obsessed with during Covid-19.”

Her choice of material invokes a sense of ambiguity, the melting texture denoting an ephemerality and a dreamlike aesthetic, which Chan attributes to her ongoing inquisition into perception and the dynamic between reality and fiction. 

“It’s wax-like,” she says of the material. “It gives it a sense of impermanence, like a candle. It forms this skeletal aesthetic; it’s very unfinished and not fully functional, as if it were something encountered in a dream or a virtual game.” 

Fascinated with the liminal space between the real and unreal, Chan weaves this blurry aesthetic into the rug on which the “skeletal shelf” stands. Made from common packaging string, from afar the rug appears to be deceptively fuzzy in texture. The liminality is enhanced in Twofold Consciousness (2020), consisting of two white headboards that appear to be deceptively lit by neon halos, hovering on the walls.

Aspegren incorporates reflective, spiritually linked rituals in his work. With his self-styled “abstract” meditative sound piece We may believe the words are not what we may believe (I) (2020), the artist continues his ongoing exploration of the healing properties of sonic frequencies.

Nadim Abbas. Installation view.

A series of small sculptures akin to decorative ceramics accompany his sound installation. Hand-dripped white plaster shrouds deity-like figurines, bestowing them with a mystical quality – literal household gods. The ceramics, while crafted by Aspegren, also consist of found organic material such as coral and rocks. Each one grows out of the other, peeking through dripping plaster, combined by the artist in what he calls a “spontaneous ritual”.

“I like to have a sense of improvisation in my work,” says Aspegren. “I like to make things without thinking about them. I work on these slowly for months, sometimes five at the same time. Even when I’m making them, they’re transforming. They start off as one thing and become something else; they’re transient in that sense, ephemeral.”

Highly improvisational, Wu’s creative process is physically embodied in her paintings, a medium which allows the artist the “fastest expressive release”. Yielding bursts of colour and a fervent energy, door_god I & ii (2020) convey a softer take on the traditionally masculine protective door gods, statues which mark the entrances of many institutions and homes in Hong Kong. The painting depicts two pink-hued nude men “guarding” the entrance of the exhibition. 

Proceeding further into the domestic space, Wu additionally created sculptural collages, beige_objects (2020), from items she uses on an everyday basis, essentially documenting her daily home rituals. Old phone cases, mascara, lipstick, shoes and old toys from McDonald’s happy meals are clustered together with spray foam. Over this she has sprayed a reflective silver, cementing the sculpture in a grey hue, visually evoking a futuristic, dystopian aesthetic. “I made these objects into a sculpture for future use,” she says. “They’ll be relics for future archaeologists.”

When photographed with a flash, the surfaces of the pieces become incredibly shiny, glittering under concentrated light. While this could be perceived as a gimmick, it underlines the artist’s intent to present the possibility of a multitude of perspectives. For Wu, this becomes symbolic of the ambiguity of human memory, and indicative of the fact that nothing is ever what it appears to be or how we remember it. 

“Lights compose everything, and when you shine a light on something it either blurs the details or reveals what is actually there. It questions what is real and what isn’t; it’s like how memories work for humans,” says Wu.

She further contemplates the uncertainties and possibilities of the future by situating humans in the role of creator.

“I’m interested in how we were created and in our relationship with our creator – or God. It’ll be the same in the future with AI; they might have their own thinking about us, as we created them. I want to create data for the future that will help understand this time.”

At this critical juncture, wrought with conflict and tension, we have inevitably turned towards introspection, both spatially and spiritually. The works in the exhibition serve as powerful extensions of each of the artists’ individual practices, exploring their unique takes on the relationship between humans and the supernatural by engaging with domestic objects. Household Gods is a welcome point of reflection, addressing and rethinking ways of perception and living in this moment.

連番的抗爭活動及肆虐全球的疫情,迫使我們退到家居領域,去面對過去一年的事件所帶來的不安和恐懼。除了面對史無前例大幅度的政治、經濟和社會變動,我們亦應對此時此刻,經歷情緒和心理的波動。

為了表達和反思這種複雜狀態,香港藝術家Shane Aspegren、唐納天、陳沁昕和吳佳儒聯手創作聯展「駐家寧神」,由郭瑛擔任策展人,於中環 H Queen’s 地下 HART Hall展出。展覽取材於作家兼神秘學家阿萊斯特.克勞利二十世紀初的劇作《駐家寧神》,作品名字直截了當地概括了該劇的目的:通過我們 「最親密的環境」——家,来叩問我們與超自然事物的關係。

早在2019年11月,新冠疫情爆發前,四位藝術家在佔地10,000平方呎的.HART.匯舍已構思是次展覽。儘管四位的藝術手法看來截然不同,但他們卻一致透過使用家用物件,探索如何激發出未知或神秘的國度。

Wu Jiaru. Installation view.

郭瑛形容是次聯展有別於其他展覽:「是次主題並不如往常般給予藝術家,而是從他們的共同興趣中直接萌生出來。」他們試圖以自己獨特的方式,去捉緊這份抽象感,尤其是對當下充滿不定性的環境所產生共鳴的感覺。

「展覽的內容必須富有情感,」郭瑛指出:「我們試圖探索和理解一種超自然現象,那是一種我們沒有答案的現象。最好的方式就是透過情感去作出探索,這關乎我們的心理狀態,亦能喚起一種內心的感覺。當我們不能理解一些事情時,一股神聖的超自然力量往往引導著我們;這片尚未被發掘的精神領域,代表著一個深遠的未知國度,它的抽象性正是我們想要探索的。」

驅使唐納天探討這個主題的原因,是他試圖「捕捉一樣難以捉摸的東西」,或者它甚至並不存在,正如藝術家所說:「信仰是從虛無中創造出意義」,這正正打開了信仰和神聖的主題。因此,觀眾看到的第一件作品是唐納天的《屋即是空 空即是屋》(2020年),是很恰當的。這件裝置藝術引人注目,像是一個圖騰神社,儲存了用來應對末日的貨品,例如午餐肉罐頭和廁紙等,令人聯想到南韓賣座電影《上流寄生族》。

科幻和恐怖電影中的末日場景和反烏托邦國度,一直推動唐納天實踐他的創作概念。2014年,他和品牌Absolut Vodka 於.Art Basel.合作,創作了《末日延遲》(2014年),一件置於一間酒吧的沉浸式、具多感官功能的裝置藝術品,酒吧彷似末日過後的防空洞,藝術家Shane Aspegren.也參與其中。在是次展覽中,唐納天繼續以為末日作準備為主題,透過日常家用物品帶出超自然的概念。 

他說道:「當一些如椅子這麼普通的傢具,再不僅僅是傢具,而是通著電流,你對物件的看法會有所改變。」

受到組裝傢俬的啟發,特別是宜家傢俬的DIY系列種類,唐納天運用膠合板、洗滌墊、洗碗海綿和硬紙板建造了兩組結構,以重複和對稱的形式方法將它們組合在一起,他強化了一種圖騰式視覺特質,亦同時引用了家庭和宗教儀式的實踐。 

家庭儀式在陳沁昕的《絕對領惑》(2020年) 是不可或缺的,這個由熔化了的聚氨酯製成的「家庭祭壇」,藝術家在其表面製作了兩個圓形凹槽,盛著藍色和紫色的漱口水。 

她解釋道:「我在思考日常的潔淨習慣,特別是現在新冠疫情期間我們慣性地及強迫性地進行的潔淨習慣。」

Shane Aspegren. Installation view.

她選用的材料給人一種不確定的感覺,融化的質感意味著一份短暫和如夢境的美感,那是來自她對感知、現實與虛幻之間的力量的不斷探究。 

談及材料時,她說:「就像蠟一樣,它給予作品一種暫時的感覺,就像蠟燭,它營造出粗略的美感;它不完整,亦不完全具有功能性,就像在夢境中或虛擬遊戲中遇到的事物一樣。」

陳沁昕對虛實之間的模糊地帶感到著迷,她把這份模糊的美感編織到地毯裡去,並在地毯上放置「骨架架子」。這張地毯由普通的紡織線織成,從遠處看,它好像帶有毛茸茸的質感。《對摺》 (2020年)昇華這份模稜兩可的狀態,作品由兩塊白色床頭板組成,看似被兩個懸浮在牆上的霓虹燈光環照亮。 

Aspegren則在他的作品中,融入一份深思的、連繫精神層面的儀式感。在他自成風格的冥想聲音作品《We may believe the words are not what we may believe (I) 》 (2020年) 中,藝術家繼續探索聲音頻率的療癒特性。

他的聲音裝置附設了一系列的小巧雕塑品,看似是用來裝飾的陶瓷。手滴形成的白色石膏裹著如神靈的雕像,賦予它們一份神秘感——確確實實是駐家寧神。Aspegren不僅製作這些陶瓷雕像,還選用現成的有機物料,如珊瑚和岩石等。每一個雕像從另一個孕育出來,他們在流滴的石膏之間窺視一切,藝術家把他們結合在一起,並稱之為一種「隨意的儀式」。 

Aspegren 說:「我想在作品中流露一份即興感,我喜歡不假思索地創作,我花好幾個月的時間慢慢創作它們,有時更同時創作五件作品。即使在我創作的同時,它們也在轉變,從原本的東西變成另一種東西,從這個意義上來說,它們是短暫的。」

吳佳儒即興性強的創作過程,具體地體現在她的畫作裡,繪畫是一種讓她得以釋放出「最即時的表達」的媒介。《門神I & II》(2020年) 展現出具爆發力的色彩和強烈的力量,但對傳統的男性守護門神卻作出較陰柔的詮釋,這些神像置於香港許多機構或住宅的大門;是次畫作以粉紅色調描繪兩個裸露的男人「鎮守」著展覽的入口。

為了更深入私人領域,吳佳儒把她日常生活的物件拼貼成雕塑品《beige_objects》(2020年) ,主要記錄自己每天在家裡的生活儀式。她用噴霧法泡沫膠,把舊手機套、睫毛液、唇膏、鞋子和麥當勞開心樂園

套餐裡的舊玩具凝固在一起。她在物件上噴上一層反光的銀色色彩,再把雕塑塗成灰色色調,在視覺上帶有一種未來主義、反烏托邦的美學風格。她說:「我把這些物件製作成雕塑,是為未來之用,它們將會成為未來考古學家研究的文物。」

若使用閃光燈拍攝作品,物件的表面都變得十分耀眼,在聚光燈下閃閃發光。雖然它可能被視為一個噱頭,但它突顯藝術家的創作意圖,呈現出多種視覺的可能性。對吳佳儒來說,這象徵著人類記憶的模糊性,也表明了一個事實:任何事情都不是看起來或記憶中的那個樣子。

吳佳儒說道:「光線構成一切,當你用燈照射一件物件時,它的細節要麼變得模糊,要麼揭示實際上存在的東西。它質疑什麼是真實,什麼是虛假,就像人類的記憶一樣分不清虛實。」

她把人類置於創造者的角色中,進一步思考未來的不確定性和可能性。

「我對我們如何被創造的,及我們與造物主或上帝的關係感興趣。未來的人工智能也將會如此,他們對人類可能會有自己的看法,因為我們創造他們。我想為未來創造數據,幫助人們理解現在這個時空。」

在這個充滿衝突和對立的危急關頭,我們不得不在空間上和精神上的層面作出反思。是次展品是每位藝術家個人實踐的有力延伸,透過融入家用物件來探索他們對人與超自然事物之間關係的獨特詮釋。「駐家寧神」是一個令人省思的切入點,正視和反思當下的感知和生活的方式。 

Featured image: Shane Aspegren. Installation view.