Contemporary by Angela Li is pleased to present Summer Interlude 2020, showcasing a range of works by 15 artists – Alex Heung Kin Fung, Tenme Kwan Sze Fong, Wai Lap Chan, Lonely Lau Siu Chung, Livy Leung, Liao Yibai, Li Hongbo, Lv Shanchuan, Ng Chung, Peter Steinhauer, Wong Chun Hei, Wong Yan Yan, Wu Didi, Yuan Daxi and Angela Yuen. The exhibition represents different artistic practices and explorations by each artist through various media including painting, photography, sculpture, and installation. Summer Interlude 2020 is on view from August 19 – September 19, 2020.
Alex Heung Kin Fung specializes in richly coloured paintings of animals and landscapes that explore the balance and conflict between nature, life and the city. A painting entitled The Double Life of Birds tells a story of two birds encountering one another on Siu A Chau as they face the crossroad of deciding between nature and the city, which would potentially lead to polarising destinies.
In recent years, Tenme Kwan Sze Fong focuses on exploring the relationships between urban and nature through the use of concrete as her medium. She casts home grown harvests such as fruits and vegetables into cement sculptures in an urban farm beside her rooftop studio, alternating organic life and construction materials within a concrete jungle and investigating the co-existence of nature and city. This exhibition includes sculptures of string beans, potatoes and pumpkins, turning normal fruits and vegetables into contemporary art with a hint of the feeling of ink art.
With his interest in swimming, Chan Wai Lap attempts to recreate his interest from his life into drawings. He began documenting the public pool that he used to visit since his childhood by counting the tiles; he then repeated this counting process with many other public pools in Hong Kong, and finally he reconstructed these pools into 2D formats – drawings – often in interesting perspectives.
The studio of Lonely Lau Siu Chung is right by Garden Hill, and this small hilltop was suddenly packed with hikers during the epidemic. This unusual scene of packed crowds became Lau’s inspiration to create his oil painting The Hiking Fever. His paintings mainly focus on his living environment while the themes of his works are usually based on his life related to cityscape. To Lau, memories are like repeated experiences captured on long exposure photographs, with images representing periods of time rather than one fleeting moment. In this sense, his paintings are complex and abstract expressions mixed with his memories and life experiences.
Livy Leung focuses on drawing, painting and material exploration, these mediums provide her different experiences in making interesting narratives. Drawing and painting allow her to explore the interplay between consciousness and unconsciousness. While the use of materials helps her to express the ineffable emotions. Mismatched elements in daily life always intrigue Livy to construct a world between reality and her personal fantasy. She recomposes her thoughts towards different incidents happening around her and amplifies her imaginary world as a form of expression and self-indulgence within her art practice.
Liao Yibai’s steel sculptures demonstrate a fascination with light, refraction and reflection, reminiscent of a Turner painting. When one looks at the interplay with time and space there is a sense of childish abandon to his works in the gallery space. However, upon closer inspection, the reflections and play of light on his stainless-steel angels present a mirror image of the viewer or the environment in which it lies. They provide a reality reflected back that is a little bruised and sometimes not as beautiful. They also contain Liao’s personal experiences and memories, seething with socio-political first-hand observations which make the art more powerful, with a visceral dimension in his metallic creatures.
Li Hongbo’s concepts are distinctly contemporary. Exploring the malleability of materials, his sculptures command viewers to think out of the box, while at the same time echoing the absurdities of the world and the confusion of its inhabitants. His expendable paper sculptures are inspired by the traditional Chinese folk craft of ‘paper gourd’; Li molds materials with long history and infinite cultural attributes into different shapes, sizes, and directions. These remarkable paper sculptures are living, performing tales by the artist’s hand. From a tree made out of paper to human figures made out of textbooks, Li’s artworks serve as cultural narratives that illuminate the artist’s perception of reality.
Lv Shanchuan uses images from the news to look into the connections between different social incidents and to also investigate the political and social ideologies that shape different relationships within today’s societies. Layer by layer, the artist reinterprets news of the past and present with thick paint on the canvases. When viewed up close, the paintings give a sense of chaos. Yet when the viewer steps back and looks at them from afar, there is remarkable reasoning and order behind all the apparent disorder, and this sense of reasoning and order is the core driver of his paintings.
Bottle paintings belong to an iconic series of Ng Chung, a subject matter that has been painted by the artist for more than two decades from his studio situated in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong. Bottles have become his recurring objects of his paintings because of his sentiment for alcohol, and have also transformed into a ‘symbol’ for expression and the painting process as a journey in search of the artist’s personal identity. On the contrary, his floral still-life paintings employ a careful balance of subdued colours and tones. The paintings are deceptively simple and discreet, evoking a sense of loneliness and pensiveness.
Upon Peter Steinhauer’s first arrival in Hong Kong in the early 1990s, he was captivated by the sight of bamboo-caged buildings wrapped in colourful fabric. He immediately associated these structures with the installations of the late artist duo Christo and Jeanne Claude. When Steinhauer later learnt that these interesting ‘wrappings’ are a unique construction method of Hong Kong, he began documenting Hong Kong cityscape with fascination. The series name “Cocoons” refers to the metamorphosis stage of the buildings, from caterpillar to butterfly, from architectural site to a brand-new building.
Born in the 80’s, plein air landscapes are the essence of Stephen Chun Hei Wong’s paintings. Wong’s paintings are his personal visual diary, documenting his love for the nature and his visual experience throughout his hikes in Hong Kong. In one of the works in the exhibition The Painter by the Cliff, Wong painted himself in the background, pondering the meaning of individual existence from another point of view.
Emerging young artist Wong Yan Yan is inspired by the beauty of patterns and fascinating objects, both often seen in her artwork. She is fascinated by the idea of breathing life into an empty canvas through the process of painting. Each stroke of paint on the canvas is another breath given to a new life. This satisfaction of creation fuels her passion for painting. Yan expresses her work in a fantastical way, often overlapping cityscapes and her imaginary dimensions in her brilliantly coloured paintings. She hopes people can forget their troubles and displeasures when they see her artworks and feel the joyful atmosphere. Through her artwork, Yan aims to lead her audiences on a journey between the fabrics of reality and fantasy.
Wu Didi draws the subject matter of her paintings from the simplest elements of nature, such as vines, bamboo, stones, insects and weed, and her paintings lie between hyper-realism and abstraction. Although pure abstraction never appeared in traditional Chinese art, there is however a well-defined system to appreciate abstract art; as Didi applies layers and layers of paint to the canvas background, she creates a resulting effect reminiscent of celadon glazes, of which the aesthetic traces back to the appreciation of abstraction and the structure refers to that of Chinese calligraphy. In this sense, she gives each of her subjects a new life and unique identity, with the painting serving as the artist’s poetic study to examine spirituality in humanity as well as her own meditative process during the long creative process.
Yuan Daxi’s abstract oil painting is created intuitively from the depths of his inner self, each brushstroke is guided by his impulse in the purest way to express his emotions and philosophical thoughts without recognizable imagery and artistic discourse. Heavy textures scattered around the canvas unfold the artist’s mind, shifting from awareness to a spiritual state. Both sculptural and painterly, these paintings serve as mirrors that reflect the artist’s transcendent journeys at the time of creation.
In Angela Yuen’s installations, she constructs miniature Hong Kong skylines assembled from manufactured plastic objects which she sources from local family-owned stores. These old-fashioned plastic toys and stationery represent a significant era of the golden heyday of Hong Kong’s manufacturing industries in the 1950s and 60s. Each object is a symbolic representation of an era, a miniature of our urban landscape, and a historical record of the devotion and perseverance of a certain generation in Hong Kong.