(Art)Work from Home
Hector Chan’s “The Scenes” is a series of paintings that represents the recollection of images and rediscovers the desire of seeing by capturing iconic scenes from movie classics. His paintings are fluid-like cinematic scenes that excites the viewer’s eye with expressive brushstrokes and colours. Chan dedicates his artistic practice to the search in new ways in adapting paintings to an image-flooding era. Choosing to paint on pleather, he sets his heart on fluent mark making with less friction when compared to the surfaces of traditional medium like canvases or wood, and as a result, a wider spectrum of gesture can be formed. In his “If Van Gogh” series, Chan invents a little piece of art history relating to the popular painter Vincent van Gogh with a strong sense of humour and playfulness. For instance, in the work “Kam (1895)”, Chan paints the portrait of the female lead character from the Hong Kong movie Golden Chicken to suggest if a tragedy could have been altered by raising the question “what if Van Gogh met and fell in love with a different prostitute?”
The rural landscape of the New Territories is a recurrent focus in Cheung Tsz Hin’s paintings, at times accompanied by a vague figure of a child’s back or his side, who is either looking away, hiding behind an abandoned sofa, or covering his head with a pillow in a bed of flowers. His face cannot be seen directly but a strong sense of intimacy and inseparability can be felt through the gloomy air and thin layers of paint. Cheung describes his works as very personal, while combining his past memories with the present scenery of the places where he was brought up and belongs, hence giving voice to peace and harmony. There is something uncertain and fragile, full of solitude in the breeze of his light colours and in the passing of time, that keeps reminding his audience of their own roots. When it comes to a year living under the pandemic, more of his emphasis has shifted towards observing family and friends, the details of their bodies and their relationships. Painting to Cheung is a treasured opportunity to remember, to contain, and to record those trivial moments in life, as if he is writing a love letter to the past and the present.
The centre of Ling Pui Sze’s works is to break down images and reconstruct the fragments back to a whole image by a technique she refers to as “free-style puzzle”. She selects images that resemble certain patterns, including microscopic images and satellite images, and prints them onto xuan paper. She hand-tears them into thousands of pieces of “puzzles” that later compose to a brand-new collage, where certain organisms or surreal landscapes are associated at first sight. In her recent “Route” series created during an artist residency in Iceland, Ling decides to make copies of her previous collages and shatter them again into a new set of “puzzles”, transforming them into trees, mountains and seashore on the other side of the world. Throughout the process, a selected image is used repeatedly by the artist as a small unit, similar to a cell reproducing itself, leading to new forms and meanings to take shape. Such deconstructing and recomposing obey the organic routine of continuously splitting and combining in the evolution of nature.
Daily objects take the leading role in Mindy Lui Yan Yi’s artworks, ranging from her drawings, paintings, to her videos, with an element of performance tactfully embedded to each of her work. A single-channel video entitled “、” is a documentation of Lui patiently counting the number of rice in her dinner bowl. After more than three and half hours of counting, she finds the answer to be 3,202 pieces of rice. The title “、” not only mirrors the shape of a grain of rice, but also refers to a special punctuation mark used for a slight pause in the Chinese language, as a symbol to divide a series of similar items from a group into individuals, as in the action Lui takes for her practice. The painting Non-functional Series – A Vacuum Cleaner is built upon her deep reflection on the existence of objects. The famous philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre in the 20th century formulated the proposition that human being has their existence precedes essence (French: l’existence précède l’essence), while inversely objects are designed based on their functions. Lui seems to implicitly disagree – she removes the electricity supply of a vacuum cleaner and paints its lifeless posture, yet with a surprising final touch in which she reconnects this household appliance to the power and vacuum the entire painting with it, leaving traces of an innovative function that was not on the menu.