All posts tagged: Caroline Ha Thuc

Fictioning as Method: Constructing Mythologies and The Other Story

By Christie Lee As Simon O’Sullivan says in Myth-Science and the Fictioning of Reality, the power and function of contemporary art have always been in summoning forth the thing that has “yet-to-come”. In an era of post-truth and alternative facts, when it appears increasingly difficult to sift through deluge of materials on social media and arrive at the truth, and when reality has become stranger than fiction, where does that leave contemporary art? Two recent Hong Kong shows, Constructing Mythologies at Edouard Malingue Gallery and The Other Story at Karin Weber Gallery, might provide some clues. At first glance, the two shows seem to take different approaches – curated by Caroline Ha Thuc, Constructing Mythologies tells of the myths, be it from folklore or constructed by official authorities, that penetrate Southeast Asia, while Ying Kwok’s The Other Story asks that we ignore the fictitious aspect of art for a moment to focus on the process of art-making. But both shows bring to the fore the importance of fictioning, the idea of venturing beyond oneself into the unknown. Upon entering Constructing Mythologies, viewers …

Leung Chi Wo

By Caroline Ha Thuc there and thenness “Is History not simply that time when we were not born?” asks Roland Barthes, while looking at a photograph of his mother as a child, in his book Camera Lucida. Leung Chi Wo’s process is all too Barthesian: born in 1968, he focuses here on 1967, the year when the most violent riots in the post-Second World War history of Hong Kong took place. In the womb of his mother, the artist could not witness those events, and to recollect today occurrences that are lost forever, he can only rely on archives, found objects and stories. This exhibition could be perceived as a personal museum, another version of the Museum of the Lost project he and Sara Wong began in 2013, but one dedicated to 1967, a year he was not around but tries to reach for – despite the effects of time and subjectivity – through the power of photography and the socially constructed memory of the past. Fraser (2015) epitomises the artist’s practice and concerns. The installation features …

Claire Lee

The Awakening  Charbon Art Space Hong Kong Oct 14 – Nov 11 Caroline Ha Thuc Claire Lee’s new series, which she started in early 2016, pertains to the figure of the bison, a species on the brick of extinction. The artist doesn’t question the bison’s perception but rather follows an anthropomorphic approach, using the mighty but fragile body of the animal to reflect on our human condition. The series needs to be contemplated as a whole, and the setting itself is part of the work. At the back of the gallery, sheets of poetry have been hung on the branches of trees, recalling shamanic prayer trees. Visitors can sit there and listen to the artist’s voice reading some of her poems. Most of the drawings are unframed, hung slightly away from the walls as if floating, or laid on rough wooden tables. The installation, in black, white and wood colours, creates an ethereal feeling and invites meditation. Lee’s drawings constantly play with the juxtaposition of calmness and sorrow, violence and healing, as she grabs the ephemeral …

Various artists

Soil and Stones, Souls and Songs Para Site Hong Kong Mar 18 – Jun 11, 2017 Caroline Ha Thuc The scope of this ambitious exhibition is very wide, in geography, in time and in the multiple issues that are addressed. Soil and Stones, Souls and Songs refers to the land as a physical territory but also as a receptacle for human memory, mythologies and history. Recent accelerated development in Asian countries has triggered deep and sometimes violent changes among people and also landscapes, leading to massive flows of migration, uprooting of longstanding traditions and land grabs, not to mention the depletion of natural resources. New ideologies and discourses are emerging from the urgent need to adapt to this new context, from nationalism to historical revisionism and critical alternatives to dominant Western ways of thinking. In their curatorial statement for Soil and Stones, Souls and Songs, Cosmin Costinas and Into Guerrero highlight the global feeling of anxiety that also dominates Asian societies today, and underline the general loss of certainty and the violence generated by this shifting geopolitical order. Soil is the fabric of a nation, and dealing with soil inevitably leads to boundaries …

Fabien Merelle

Étreindre Edouard Malingue Gallery Hong Kong Dec 9, 2016 – Jan 14, 2017 Caroline Ha Thuc The setting for this exhibition, of 10 ink and watercolour drawings and three sculptures by French artist Fabien Mérelle, is very sober, and there is enough empty space between each piece to get the imagination working. The drawings are meticulous, while the pale pink sculptures made from acrylic resin look pretty rough. Yet an unlikely balance and an interesting dialogue lend harmony to the whole gallery, dominated by a feeling of floating and emptiness. Étreindre, the title of the exhibition, means to embrace warmly. It also means to hold someone so tightly that there is precisely no space in between. The title comes from a drawing, at the end of the exhibition, of two almost nude men holding each other tightly. They are actually the models for the three sculptures, which represent them in a fragmented way, scattered all over the space: the legs to begin with, then the torsos and finally the heads, all life-size empty moulds. There is a strong …

Mill6

Warm Up, the latest programme organised by non-profit art organisation Mill6 Foundation, had some ambitious objectives: revitalising handicrafts, passing on Hong Kong’s cultural heritage, fostering neighbourhood connections, bridging the gap between generations, and reviving knowledge of textiles and garments. Caroline Ha Thuc speaks to the foundation’s director Angelika Li and curator Him Lo. What was your vision for the event, and how do you deal with so many topics and communities at the same time? Angelika Li: Mill6 is a unique establishment. It was once a factory space for textiles, and we are rejuvenating it to become, by 2018, a space for textile arts and culture, heritage and innovation. We are developing six different programmes and approaches: exhibitions, community engagement, learning, heritage, artist-in-residency and public art. We also have several different target audiences, as well as different partners and collaborators. With each project we must therefore consistently ask the questions: What are the purpose and the meaning? What cause does it serve? How can we be sustainable? What are the inherent values? Our focus is clearly …

Samson Young

Trained in classical music composition at Princeton University in the US, Samson Young’s works are often reactions to his own musical background. His approach to sound, both as a visual artist and as a composer, is very specific, an attitude that has led him away from predetermined frameworks. From musical compositions to performances, installations, new-media work and drawing, he plays freely with media to create a language that fits his investigations. Caroline Ha Thuc: Your practice revolves around sound at a symbolic level, tackling the concept of borders and lines, both literally and metaphorically. Was that a clear direction that you defined at an early stage? Samson Young: The trajectory is rather like this: I started with narrow things that dealt with the cultural politics of my classical music and my identity, and this led to issues such as borders, lines of control and national territories. Then, from the Liquid Borders project on, I began to realise that the issue was not only about lines of control but rather about how people coexist and how this coexistence involves …

Eason Tsang

Powerless  Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong, Jul 9 – Aug 27, 2016 By Caroline Ha Thuc For his first solo show in Hong Kong, Eason Tsang Ka Wai continues and deepens his exploration of cityscapes and local architecture, playing on scales and perception to question the place of human beings in our contemporary urban society. With more focus on the details of daily life, coupled with hints of humour, and with a broader scope of media involved, the exhibition appears as a rich but uneven experimental platform. Curated by Leo Chen Li, the exhibition space is divided into two parts representing day and night, or external and inner spaces. In between, a set of flashy orange wires connects them in a clever, original way. The concept of duality is very much present in all of Tsang’s works. In his previous photographic series, such as Landmark (2012), space was divided into infinite sky and high buildings, highlighting the smallness of humans in the context of nature and also of their own constructions. In Floral Fabric (2013-14), the artist underlined …

Angela Su

By Caroline Ha Thuc  Caroline Ha Thuc: You are well known for your ink drawings featuring strange creatures that combine human and animal elements. Do these creatures reflect your vision of contemporary humanity? Angela Su: Probably. I contemplate how human beings can exist alternatively. With contemporary science the imaginations of human beings are often reduced to numbers and scientific data, whereas in ancient times the understanding of the body was abstract, allegorical and instinctive; the spiritual was intertwined with the physical. Of course there was a lot of superstition and it was highly inaccurate from the perspective of contemporary western medicine, but I am attracted to the kind of imagination brought about by destabilising the accepted understanding of the body. CHT: Is there a philosophical idea behind this approach, such as perceiving the world as a whole? AS: There is no particular philosophical idea behind this approach. It was just based on my consciousness and empathy as a human being. We lost our connections to nature and all creatures when human instincts were suppressed for the sake …

Morgan Wong

An in-depth but casual conversation between Hong Kong artist Morgan Wong and art writer Caroline Ha Thuc   Caroline Ha Thuc: From the beginning of your career time has been at the core of your practice: how to visualise it, how to grasp it and even recently how to smell it. Where does this obsession come from? Morgan Wong: I have no clear-cut notion of when and where this obsession or interest came from. I always see my work Plus-Minus-Zero (2010) as one of my fundamental encounters with the subject of temporality. However, there are always threads connecting previous and future works, like Journey – Hong Kong (2007) and I Got Time (2013), and I think it is important that some traces stay hidden so that connections appear at the right moment, instead of everything being too logical in the first place. My latest project, KIGOJA Standard Time (KST) (2016), in which I deal with time zones as immaterial borders, could be seen as revisiting time difference as a subject, but it also connects with …