All posts tagged: Ellen Pau

Hong Kong – Tales of the City

Denny Dimin Gallery & Videotage / New York / Mar 13 – May 2, 2020 / Mimi Wong / Even before the pandemic struck, the dystopian visions and reimagined histories presented in Hong Kong – Tales of the City felt extremely relevant and timely. Media works from nine artists belonging to Hong Kong’s oldest video collective address a range of vital issues, from civic engagement to the impact of globalisation on contemporary urban life. The collaboration between Videotage and Denny Dimin Gallery opened in New York just as the city headed into lockdown. As part the ongoing effort to prevent the further spread of Covid-19, the gallery’s temporary closure meant that the group exhibition could only be viewed online. Instead of moving through rooms with monitors and headsets, one simply had to scroll down the page to navigate the three parts devised by curator Isaac Leung. With most run times clocking in at 10 minutes or under, the videos could comfortably be watched in one sitting. The first section, Publicness, introduced the notion of a collective consciousness through …

Ellen Pau

The Life of an Image / By Ysabelle Cheung / “I’m trying to make poetry, not a film,” Ellen Pau said to me, somewhat enigmatically, during the opening hour of her latest solo show. For the previous 20 minutes she had been describing, in elliptical phrases and brief anecdotal vignettes, the processes of her three-decade investigations into varied media. Yet walking around the darkened, hermetic space of Edouard Malingue Gallery, which featured early and new works clustered around the restaged focal piece Great Movement (1996/2019), I found I had more questions. The slow, creeping organ notes emanating from the speakers: had I heard them before? Where were the faceless figures that were being shown on the thermal video screen? And what was that unidentifiable aroma permeating the room? Pau’s work and practice have always been somewhat ambiguous, but she places the responsibility on the viewer to understand the implications of this ambiguity. In most if not all of her works, there are layered, buried double meanings, framed by her explorations into metaphors around the body and technology and, more recently, our psychological, …

Video, Sofa, Bauhinia – Retrospective and Reconstruction of Ellen Pau

By Leung Po Shan / “They said There’s nothing special about an onion It deserves all criticisms Despite an earthy costume Its name doesn’t inspire trust Its nature is not agreeable. Peel off layer after layer, there is nothing inside that can be called sophistication! How formalistic!” (Yasi: Extract from “Onion”) What About Home Affairs?, the title of Para Site’s retrospective of Ellen Pau, pioneering Hong Kong artist and co-founder in 1986 of the city’s first video and media art collective, Videotage, can been construed as a bilingual pun, taking in both Hong Kong politics and the shackles imposed on women in the home and society. “Home Affairs” brings to mind the Home Affairs Department, which is responsible for Hong Kong’s internal affairs. The ambiguity of the words creates a discrepancy between the title in Chinese and English. In her essay in the exhibition catalogue, video artist Lo Yin-shan, who emerged a generation later than Pau, references academic David Wang Der Wei’s post-loyalist theory to point out that Pau’s Emergence (A work in progress) (2016) was …