All posts filed under: Studio

Annie Wan Lai-kuen 尹麗娟

As embodiments of a fleeting, volatile reality, Annie Wan’s ceramics reflect the artist’s attempts to defy time and capture the ephemeral. Focusing on the everyday and on the intrinsic qualities of her medium, Wan plays with the paradoxical fragility of ceramics and on their ability to give tangible forms to lost moments, collective heritage or vanishing memories. With the idea that reality is subject to successive reinterpretations, she uses the language of ceramics to question the reiterative process of perception, and the reproduction of reproductions, searching for points of resistance against a truth that has slipped out of our grasp. You told me that you first studied design before jumping into art and ceramics. What triggered the change? I am not a person with a clear plan for my life path; I usually follow my intuition. I studied design after secondary school and then worked as a textile designer for a few years. Although I enjoyed the textile design job, I wanted to have some new experiences. Therefore, in 1989, I studied studio ceramics part …

Wing Po So 蘇詠寶

Wing Po So’s studio is tiny and very tidy: between a large collection of shells, dried molluscs and plants, various other species rest on shelves in glass jars, all properly labelled. The Hong Kong artist, who grew up in a family of Chinese medicine practitioners, also surrounds herself with essential books about Chinese medicine, including a two-volume work dating from the Ming dynasty. Her practice confronts this scientific background with her personal observation of nature, as she transforms and creates organic yet surreal sculptures and installations. Caroline Ha Thuc: You grew up spending a lot of time in your parents’ traditional Chinese medicine shop in Hong Kong, and this family background plays an important part in your art practice. When and why did you decide to draw from this experience and to become an artist? Wing Po So: It was due to the closure of our family’s shop in Soho [in 2012]. I spent all my childhood in this medicine shop and in the neighborhood. Several months after the closure, my parents decided to rebuild …

Joseph Chen 陳敬元

By Andreas Hecker /  In 2018, Joseph Chen was sauntering through the street markets in Sham Shui Po when he happened upon a stack of 50 hard drives. The Hong Kong artist bought all of them for “under HK$100” and extracted the deluge of personal images and documents.  That exercise culminated in Shameplant in Glory Hole, a series of performances, a series of performances, a research group and exhibitions from 2019-21 exploring the idea of “second-hand memories”. The latest event was a solo exhibition, Shameplant in Glory Hole, that ran from June 19 to July 17 at Videotage. At the dim art space, one sees as well as enters Chen’s immersive installation, where 8-10 terabytes of “second-hand memories” have been collaged into a psychedelic whole. Walls are plastered with a mishmash of images and documents, from selfies to song lyrics to travel photos to pornographic images, while the objects in the space offer a glimpse into lives, real or imaginary, underlined by the artist’s predilection for juxtapositions.  Having kicked off his career as a video artist, Chen is increasingly …

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 …