All posts filed under: Features

Virtue Village

Even in the most diverse communities, clusters of people must share culture, space and experiences for bonds to form. As individuals mingle and interact with each other, their identities are sculpted by external forces. We may conform to norms established by others, or rebel to smash the status quo and shatter homogeneity.  Village Porn, the first major solo presentation by the artist duo Virtue Village, formed by Joseph Chen and Cas Wong, deploys the visual grammar of BDSM, auto repair and shibari, layered with urban grime, queerness and anal sex, all dropped into PHD Group’s raw space in Wanchai. The show started with RUSH (all works 2022), a digital print that spans more than 5.5 metres to present an orgiastic mishmash of sparse references pointing in different conceptual directions, with a couple of visuals that thread through other works in the show – flames and hearts.  More interesting was the physical presentation of RUSH at PHD. A shallow bed of dirt ran along the wall on which the print hung, with several green plants situated …

Cerith Wyn Evans 凱裡斯·懷恩·埃文斯

Since the 1990s, Welsh conceptual artist Cerith Wyn Evans has created work about language, perception and representation. The artist skilfully weaves in elements of the musical, literary, philosophical and cinematic, resulting in exhibitions that are densely layered and at times even cryptic, and that have won him acclaim from international institutions such as the Tate Britain, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris and Austria’s Kunsthaus Graz, and participation in numerous biennales and triennials. His most recent exhibition at White Cube Hong Kong, …)( of, a clearing, featuring installation, sculpture, painting and sound, continues his exploration of the visual and the aural, the relationship between them and the things that lie in between. Using the work of several modern artists as a point of departure, Wyn Evans creates a series of pieces that refer to seminal moments in art history theory, in particular Lucio Fontana’s Concetto Spaziale aesthetic (1947–68), which erased the boundaries among architecture, painting, sculpture and the fourth dimension within art, which cubist artist Max Weber described as “the consciousness of a great and overwhelming …

Sin Wai Kin 單慧乾

Even if you don’t like boy bands, chances are you know the lyrics to at least one song that topped the charts, with harmonised backing vocals by four or five young men in their 20s, each with a different haircut and colour, each dressed in a distinct style: sporty, refined, street-smart, bad boy, whatever. Maybe one raps, maybe one is a crooner, and the others are just kind of there to add a few layers of audio complexity to their tracks and for visual completion. As fans, we project our expectations or desires onto them. These identities, each one a trope, are sculpted to sell records, move merch and pull millions of paying fans into arenas for concerts. As receptacles of fantastical fancy, or delusion, every member of a boy band not so much offers the emotional gratification that so many people are after, but simply functions as an imagined companion that radiates affection. This peaked in 1997, when the Backstreet Boys sang I don’t care who you are / Where you’re from / What …

Fault Lines 斷層線

Kay Mei Ling Beadman / Andy Li San Kit / South Ho / Arielle Tse / Eunice Tsang / Yuk King Tan / Huey / Chan x Joey Zhu / Batten and Kamp / Glossy tiles in shades of pink appear to be airy pieces of foam, while actual foam is concealed by a deceptive brick facade. From afar, white, interlinked chains look like party decorations, but on closer inspection turn out to be interconnected zip ties. A soft, fluffy cushion is actually hardened white cement. A barely visible, delicate wire fence is like a conjured mirage. Subverting expectations and upending perceptions, nothing is as it seems at experimental art space Present Projects’ latest exhibition, Fault Lines. An equally curious image marks the beginning of the exhibition. A track of colossal footprints vertically scale a limestone slab, seemingly defying gravity and questioning perception. Known as Cal Orcko, and located within Parque Cretacico, just south of the Bolivian town of Sucre, this imposing 90m wall features 70 million-year-old dinosaur tracks. That the wall has survived erosion and fossilisation is a phenomenal feat, its verticality …

Another Garden of Remembrance 另一個紀念花園

By John Batten / So, you have entered the Garden of Hong Kong.  (Something like) ‘How to…’ instructions (with extra comments) to listen to a DVD, or appreciate a broken washing machine or refrigerator, in Lee Kit’s Hong Kong Garden:       Be comfortable and confident as you walk in the garden.       Walk around to get a good overview of what’s inside.       Don’t touch, just look.       Listen, to the music. There’s not much, but it’s everywhere.      And there is thumping. Thumping.             Thump thump thump.       Can’t hear it? Listen again.      It’s quiet, and only heard intermittently, near the two swans’ video.            Thump thump thump       (I remember the banging of hands or sticks or anything hard against the       city’s street-signs and steel barriers, just like this, a strong tinny-steel thump).       Don’t walk in bare feet.      There are smashed-up bits of washing machine …

Rodel Tapaya 羅德爾·塔帕亞

By Caroline Ha Thuc / Random Numbers, the new exhibition by Filipino artist Rodel Tapaya, depicts a chaotic, dense reality where a multitude of fragmented objects and living creatures entwine and decompose. Inspired by Filipino and Mexican mural painters, but also by surrealist artists, Tapaya draws a carnivalesque portrait of the Philippines and, beyond, of our contemporary societies driven by excesses and never-ending consumption. Born in 1980 in Montalban, in the Philippines’s Rizal province, Tapaya is known for his neo-traditional paintings inspired by Philippine mythology, folk tales and beliefs, which he converts into allegories for our times. Scrap Paintings, the artist’s new series of works, is a departure from this, instead focusing on the concept of disaggregation. The nine paintings presented at Tang Contemporary Art are based on relatively small collages from magazine cut-outs, mostly from the National Geographic, that the artist enlarges and turns into acrylic works on canvas. He uses different coloured whiteboard markers to erase some pigments from the original images, playing with their glossy surfaces and printing ink to obtain various textural effects. …

Bruce Nauman 布魯斯·瑙曼

By Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand / This year marks the 80th birthday of American artist Bruce Nauman. Following on from a recent Tate retrospective is Presence/Absence at White Cube, the first exhibition in Hong Kong for the pioneering video artist, featuring five works: two single-channel pieces, from 1999 and 2001; and three dual-screen projections made in 2013. The artist is present in all but one of them. Many of Nauman’s earlier works are about time and endurance: his own as an artist, as he pushes himself to physical limits; and the audience’s, as they try to sit through videos of maniacal clowns (Clown Torture, 1987), and of the artist performing mundane tasks. In one of several early videos from 1968, we see him bouncing off the wall (Bouncing in the Corner I), making the viewer dizzy in the process. In another, Walk with Contrapposto (1968), he walks back and forth in a narrow corridor, exaggeratedly swinging his hips side to side. Similarly, in Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square (1968), he …

Andrew Luk 陸浩明 & Samuel Swope

By Brady Ng / More than a decade ago, futurists and techno-hobbyists started to pronounce with unalloyed confidence that drones would upend the way we live. Aside from widely publicised use cases for the military, law enforcement and surveillance, the proposition was that they could also provide entertainment through photography or as general playthings, while others could automate tasks for us, like robotic cleaners or all-seeing autonomous security guards that watch over homes from above. As social and cultural developments iterate and unfold, technological advancements that ostensibly make our lives easier come with strings attached. Yet the overarching concern is velocity – prosperity and power await the first to switch zero to one. The cultural theorist and philosopher Paul Virilio described this condition as “dromology”, likening the evolution of society and culture to a race. Hong Kong-based artists Andrew Luk and Samuel Swope have teamed up for a project that unpacks Virillo’s observation. To make their point, the duo built a racetrack for drones in de Sarthe’s gallery space. Luk and Swope sound like architects …

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 …

Virginia Overton 弗吉尼亞·奧弗頓

Signs of the Times / By Christina Ko / When you are dealing with works as large and savagely stark as Virginia Overton’s installations, it’s easy to reduce the importance of a scattering of pieces on paper, which might initially seem to be simply two-dimensional precursors or stylistic explorations that precede their sculptural siblings, forged of aluminium and light. To many artists, paper is usually just a canvas, its function no more than to support the paint that sits on top of it; to Overton, it is a material with a history and significance equal to that of the salvaged aluminium that forms the rest of the pieces. Overton’s practice is not defined by any overarching message or cause, and, by her own admission, defying categorisation can be “problematic” in a world that loves a pigeonhole. But if there is a connective thread, it is that she works exclusively with salvaged materials, and that respecting the past life of said materials is an important aspect of the process – whether they be her go-to industrial …