All posts filed under: Studio

Maurice Benayoun 莫奔

By Caroline Ha Thuc / A pioneer of new media art, French artist and theorist Maurice Benayoun began experimenting with 3D animations in 1987 and interactive VR installations in the early 1990s. Since then, he has developed a complex multimedia practice that combines digital technologies with a conceptual approach. Benayoun, also known as MoBen (莫奔), arrived in Hong Kong nine years ago to teach at City University of Hong Kong’s School of Creative Media. There he established the Neuro Design Lab, a studio where he and his team develop and produce his art projects. CHT: Since 2018, you have been working on a very ambitious project, Value of Values, which aims to evaluate the relative value of human values such as freedom, love and power. What triggered this idea? MB: This project arose from a series of questions. We have seen recently how much various governments based their pandemic-related decisions on values: protect the elderly or the economy? Compassion or money? But what does that mean today for individuals? With the Mechanics of Emotions series, I created large urban screen …

LeeLee Chan 陳麗同

By Caroline Ha Thuc / Born in 1984 in Hong Kong, LeeLee Chan is well known for sculptural installations that transform discarded mass-produced objects from daily life into hybrid and often organic forms. For Chan, there is no discontinuity between the human, natural and technological spheres; she has developed a holistic approach to the world and to society. Art allows her to connect these realms creatively, opening up new and sometimes surprising perspectives on our urban environment. Caroline Ha Thuc: You left Hong Kong at the age of 17 to study in the United States and you spent 13 years abroad, including two in the UK, before coming back in 2015. How did this journey shape your work?LeeLee Chan: I guess it changed my perspective on Hong Kong and how I now appreciate my family’s heritage. My parents are antique dealers, and I grew up surrounded by Chinese antiques, yet I did not fully appreciate them until I came back. I am also more open to the urban environment I am now living in, in Kwai Chung, and I …

Ng Tsz-kwan 吳子昆

A multimedia artist and designer, Ng Tsz-kwan (b.1972) proposes various and reflexive modes of artistic experience based on a poetics of language that unfolds at the borderline of performance. Ng graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, and later earned his master’s at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. In 2006, he co-founded multimedia design company Yucolab. His artistic practice draws from these experiences yet also departs from them. It mainly develops in two experimental directions: immersive, multisensory installations and space-oriented installations based on decontextualised, fragmented moving images. For Ng, “What we see is how we see”. His installations often question and explore the medium of the cinema and the relationships that the audience entertains with moving images in order to open up the space between them. Recently, he created an automated mobile chair that travels along a railway track within the exhibition space, a way for viewers to encounter his works while in motion, on a journey he controls. He disengages from narratives and linear …

Lo Lai Lai Natalie 勞麗麗

By Christie Lee / For city-dwellers, it’s easy to romanticise nature. William Wordsworth, who witnessed how the industrial revolution transformed London in the 19th century, for example, wrote such evocative lines as “nature never did betray the heart that loved her”. Three centuries later, Lo Lai Lai Natalie has made rumination on nature a crucial part of her art. But unlike the English poet, she doesn’t romanticise it. For Lo, nature isn’t simply an object for humans to cast an admiring eye on or to destroy. It also exercises its own agency – and can create or kill, oblivious to what humans imagine it to be. This idea is captured in Like a stone, vain hope (2020), a three-minute video-art piece where a woman interrogates a plant, trying to tease out responses in vain. Holding nature up as a mirror for mankind, Lo’s photography, videos and installations reflect on a myriad of topics, from survival and supply chains to religion and freedom. But the artist is also hyper-aware of her own limitations in articulating nature – “after all, I’m a human being”. …

C&G Artpartment

By Caroline Ha Thuc / Artists, curators, art educators and cultural workers at large, Clara Cheung and Gum Cheng founded C&G Artpartment in Hong Kong in 2007. Since then, this alternative art space in Mongkok has been nurturing the local art scene, addressing in particular local social and political issues through the practice of art, conceived as a potent agent of dialogue and change. Through exhibitions, public programmes, art initiatives and participatory projects, Cheung and Cheng have engaged various communities with the idea that art participates in the building of a more inclusive and collective society. Last November, Clara Cheung was elected as a district councilor for Happy Valley. Caroline Ha Thuc: First of all, congratulations on your election. How do you balance your work as a citizen now fully engaged in politics and as an artist? Clara Cheung: I participated in the election as a citizen, but because of my cultural background I cannot separate these two roles. This background influences my perception of the world. The reason why I really wanted to run in Happy Valley is because I …

Jaffa Lam

By Caroline Ha Thuc / A socially engaged artist, Jaffa Lam (b.1973) has always valued the process of creation more than finished works. For more than a decade she has been collaborating with an association of former workers in the Hong Kong textile industry, creating collective sculptures and art installations that have mostly been exhibited in public spaces. She mainly works with recycled materials: wood and trees from building sites, fabric from old umbrellas and natural elements found at the sites where she works. She treasures any form of craftsmanship and always tries to connect with local know-how. Inspired by her early training as a classical Chinese painter, she retains the poetic spirit of this tradition while anchoring her work within today’s social and political fabric. A free thinker, she maintains some distance from the art market, inviting the audience to resist a cold, efficient, money-driven system that tends to invade everybody’s lives. Caroline Ha Thuc: You began your art practice as a sculptor, working with wood from crates and other recycled materials, and engaging socially with local …

Nadim Abbas

By Elliat Albrecht / This June, a photo circulated on social media of a small group Hong Kong-based artists, writers and gallerists standing outside the Congress Center in Basel, Switzerland. Away from Hong Kong for Art Basel and concurrent projects, they showed their support for demonstrators at home with handwritten signs decrying the proposed extradition bill. Nadim Abbas was among them; the artist was in Basel for his solo show Poor Toy at Vitrine (June 11 – August 25), which referenced the horror and banality of domesticity through sculptures including vacuum cleaners and hacked Ikea furniture. We met in July after he’d returned to Hong Kong. Abbas lives and works in a flat not far from the University of Hong Kong, where he earned his MPhil in 2006. He suggested sitting near his computer where it was brighter; the afternoon sun streamed through the windows onto wall-to-wall bookshelves – fitting for an artist who often references methodically researched science fiction, psychology and philosophy in his work – keyboards, several guitars and a piano with the lid closed. We …

Vvzela Kook

By Christie Lee / I’d expected a philosophical explanation for Hong Kong artist Vvzela Kook’s quirky name, but it turns out that it was all due to a technicality. The artist had wanted to call herself vuvuzela, after the African horn, but on realising the domain name was taken, took out the two “u”s.   Kook’s art, however, is rather better thought out. Research is key to her artistic process. During our conversation, she repeatedly describes her works as projects rather than videos or installations, and says she spends the bulk of her time reading, researching and mapping the details of her projects in her mind. It’s similar to the artistic process of fellow Hong Kong artist Samson Young, for whom Kook works as an assistant. Born in Dalian, a port city on the southern tip of Liaoning province in northern China, the 29 year old received her BA from Hangzhou University before reading for a MA in Creative Media at City University in Hong Kong. We chatted at her new studio in Ngau Tau …

Isaac Chong Wai

By Caroline Ha Thuc / A multimedia artist known for his performances in public spaces, Isaac Chong Wai (b.1990) explores the relativity and ambiguities of our collective norms and values, inviting us to rethink our experiences of daily life and our physical presence within society. As he exhibits a soft wall unable to stand by itself, a boat made with fences that takes on water, or inefficient, arty policemen, Chong’s practice questions the construction of our modes of representation. Time, history and the imprint of the past and even of a future-to-be also seem to haunt the artist, who constantly breaks the linear perception of temporality with re-enactment, dreams and slow-motion gestures. Caroline Ha Thuc: This time, you are coming back to Hong Kong with quite a personal exhibition, Is the world your friend?, where you mix your own experience as a victim of aggression with today’s representations and manifestations of violence. Isaac Chong Wai: People often think there’s a gap between personal and social issues. Is art a way to put them together? When …

Oscar Chan Yik Long

By Christie Lee Hong Kong artist Oscar Chan Yik Long talks demons, horror films and his big move to the City of Lights  Chatting with Oscar Chan Yik Long at a coffee shop on D’Aguilar Street, Central, it’s hard to imagine that the sunny artist, decked out in one of his trademark vibrantly patterned shirts, lives his life haunted by demons.  Born in Hong Kong in 1988, Chan studied at Hong Kong Baptist University’s Academy of Visual Arts but it was an “abstract” fear of demons, planted in the artist’s mind when he was still a young boy, that weighs most heavily on his paintings. As much as he fears and is repelled by fear, he is also drawn to it. In his art, screaming skeletons, amorphous beasts and ghoulish, tear- or blood-shedding creatures fill walls and life-sized canvases. “I need to give fear a form,” he says.  Chaotic and unabashedly confessional, they’re the portraits of a tangled mind that vacillates between fearing and repelling these creatures, and being drawn towards them. We sat down with Chan …