All posts tagged: Christie Lee

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 …

Mandy El-Sayegh

By Christie Lee / Somewhere between dizzying grids, newspaper clippings and a xeroxed copy of a page from a Chinese colouring book is Mandy El-Sayegh’s subjectivity. Or was: as the artist says, her subjectivity is a process. “I view myself as someone who is always changing. It [one’s subjectivity] depends on different moments in time. If you accept that as you are mutable, you’ll be more accepting of change,” says El-Sayegh, who is in Hong Kong to open Dispersal,her first solo exhibition at Lehmann Maupin. One end of the gallery is dominated by her Piece Paintings (2010-), featuring a smorgasbord of figurative imagery in unexpected juxtapositions. Theyare hoisted against an installation piece featuring copies of the South China Morning Post, meticulously arranged in a grid-like format on the walls and floor and smeared with a thin veneer of white paint. El-Sayegh says she deliberately picked a newspaper that was easily comprehensible to a western audience, and one that conveys a sense of truthfulness, to ask what context newspapers provide to help us to understand the …

Tung Wing Hong

Following the Imagined / CL3 Architects / Hong Kong / Mar 25 – Apr 26 / Christie Lee Hong Kong artist Tung Wing Long’s recent solo at CL3 Architects’ Wanchai office is a short but nevertheless sweet paean to the medium of video, where exciting things are happening right now, bolstered by new editing tools, the possibility of ever bigger screens and the general obsession with the immersive. The first thing the visitor sees on entering Following the Imagined is a video of a sleeping head. Inspired by Constantin Brâncuși’s The Sleeping Muse, Untitled (head) examines the idea of the medium itself. The term video art is often used interchangeably with the moving image; the piece questions whether a video needs to be moving for it to be considered video art. The eerie stillness of Untitled (head) is quickly disrupted by the spinning and whirling elsewhere. Immediately behind it, i/i is an installation of two CRT TVs that move in a continuous circular motion until at one point meeting before turning away. The two screens depict blurred views of a cityscape, though …

Performing Society: The Violence of Gender

By Christie Lee / Half-used paint. Paint-streaked trainers. Crinkly plastic drop cloth. Three panels in shades of pink and orangey-red. A scene of unfinished business. But there is also a palpable sense of energy to it. On the wall opposite, an oil painting depicts a row of female nudes ascending the stairs, their bodies half-translucent, their flesh cutting into each other, giving a sense that whoever was there a moment ago had hurried off, leaving behind a trace of their presence. The two pieces could have been by the same artist, but they’re not. While the trainers and panels – meant to evoke “the carnal colour of the flesh”, according to the exhibition catalogue – are part of Pamela Rosenkranz’s Sexual Power (Three Viagra Paintings), the nudes belong to Jana Euler’s Nude Climbing Up the Stairs (2014). It is a liberating but also curious opening for Performing Society: The Violence of Gender, a show that – as one discovers in the proceeding exhibits – puts the systemic violence done to our bodies on glaring display. The exhibition is …

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 …

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 …

Various artists

Misty Clouds, Scattered Colours Edouard Malingue Gallery Liverpool Community Cinema Sep 28 – 30 Christie Lee While better known as the birthplace of The Beatles and for rowdy weekend party nights, Liverpool is also home to the UK’s oldest Chinese diaspora, the majority of whose ancestors arrived in the late 19th century, after Alfred Holt and Company established its first direct steamship link to China. They suffered from decades of racism, segregation and, in the worst case scenario, repatriation. So it’s apt that Edouard Malingue Gallery chose to stage Misty Clouds, Scattered Colours, a three-day moving-image programme intended to dismantle notions of the other, in the heart of the city. Taking its title from Chinese literary classic Journey to the West, a Ming dynasty tale of a group of pilgrims who overcome many challenges and hardships to attain enlightenment, its 15 works were screened over three nights, focusing on the themes of self, space and nation respectively. While diverse in subject matter and style, they came together to provide a heady investigation into themes of history, power and identity. …