Opening / Event Date: 17 May, 2021
Closing / End Date: 24 Oct, 2021
|Artist’s Reception||Thursday, 20 August 2015, 6 to 8pm|
|Exhibition Period||20 August – 12 September 2015|
香港 中環 畢打街十二號 畢打行四零一室
Hanart TZ Gallery
401 Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2526 9019 [email protected]
Valerie C. Doran
Hanart TZ Gallery is pleased to announce Chow Chun Fai’s new solo exhibition I Have Nothing To Say, which opens on 20 August 2015, from 6-8pm.
In I Have Nothing to Say, Chow Chun Fai adds a sardonic chapter to his lively, ongoing chronicle of contemporary Hong Kong realities—both virtual and actual. Chow is known for his evocative ‘film paintings’ and photo montage ‘representations’, revealing through his incisive but playful gaze certain pertinent messages for our time contained within popular Hong Kong film narratives on the one hand and the classical canons of art history on the other. In his new exhibition, Chow extends his gaze to include the virtual worlds of WhatsApp, Facebook and WeChat, adding quirky sketches of actual screen captures from his mobile phone to his chronicle.
Many of Chow’s works examine what one might term the morphology of Hong Kong identity—as it was in the past, as it is changing in the present, and the projected uncertainty of its future. In his celebrated film paintings, Chow depicts scenes from popular Hong Kong films (complete with the original bilingual subtitles) and renders them in moody canvases whose casually energetic brushwork camouflages the careful consideration that goes into each work. Chow researches meticulously, choosing scenes and dialogue that both point to and signify a critical psychological moment in his personal existence as well as in the unfolding reality of the time and place in which he lives—in other words, of Hong Kong itself. As of 2015, the Hong Kong landscape (both literal and metaphorical) has undergone radical challenges on many levels and navigated rough storms of conflicting narratives and whole new levels of fabrication and deception—from phone scams and fake eggs to deceitful politicians and fabricated news.
Under such tumultuous conditions, it is less a question of standing firm and reflecting on Hong Kong identity, as of having no firm ground to stand on at all. In one of the key paintings in I Have Nothing to Say, the artist telescopes back in time and picks out a scene from Fruit Chan’s film Little Cheung (2000), set in 1997. Executed in a gentle, luminous palette, the painting depicts three children perched on a bicycle and looking out at the Victoria Harbour skyline on the eve of the Handover. The boy, Little Cheung, points out the Tamar site—at the time the headquarters of the British Army—and one of the little girls (who are both illegal immigrants from the Mainland), proudly says: ‘I know, it will belong to the People’s Liberation Army’.
In his Let the Bullets Fly painting series Chow chooses a darker, more brooding palette to recreate telling moments from Jiang Wen’s immensely popular 2010 film, a dark comedy set in the 1920s about corrupt politicians, warlords and bandits who switch identities back and forth and engage in endless games of double-cross. Chow’s Captured from my mobile phone series enhances the sense of fabrication and deception, especially as the absurd Internet postings Chow depicts were originally disseminated as ‘real news’: A mainland newspaper claims that robots from a Star Wars film are actually military cyborgs used to protect the South China Sea, while North Korean media announces they have landed a man on the sun, and a young man in Anhui province has cosmetic surgery to turn his face into that of his ‘idol’ Lei Feng—a fabrication of a (Cultural Revolution) fabrication. Following along this trajectory are Chow’s performative, photographic, mixed-media installations KIM Jong-un on Boat and Last Judgement Michelangelo’s Boat. Chow here projects himself into a famous North Korean propaganda poster, impersonating the Supreme Leader himself. Expanding on the theme of crossed identities, the companion installation reconstructs a section of Michelangelo’s mythical masterpiece from the same props as those used for Kim’s.
In I Have Nothing to Say, it is the ‘ungrounded’ state of living amidst fabrications, absurdities and untruths that Chow is exposing, and to which he is (silently) bearing witness. To borrow a phrase, Chow Chun Fai has nothing to say, and he is saying it.
「無話可說」的原因，一是對現實無奈的反應，二是需要假借寓言寄託不能直言的，三是因為寄語一個有距離的側面，能更準確描繪眼前的。 展覽分為三個部份：第一部份描繪的是來自手提電話 WhatsApp、Facebook、WeChat等傳來的圖像。這些從媒體或社交平台收集的圖像數量很多，我決定以紙本繪畫。而選取的故事大都是關於欺騙與被騙。第二部份是我較為人熟悉的「電影繪畫」系列。這次從電影選取一些暗示今天社會政治的畫面與對白，如電影《讓子彈飛》原本就充滿象徵性的場景，觀眾不停猜測其中的隱喻意義。如第一部份作品，故事同樣多關於欺騙與被騙。 第三部份我想借用北韓金正恩的形象來造一件混合媒材的作品。全球流傳著他的圖像和視頻，那些百姓情緒高漲的哭臉、奔向偶像的肢體動作，在我來說這些畫面甚至具有文藝復興宗教繪畫的意味。
‘I Have Nothing To Say’
When I say ‘I have nothing to say’, it’s for one of three reasons: either because of my intense frustration with the way things are, or because I have to use metaphors or fables to stand in for the things I’m unable to talk about directly, or because I find that it’s only by taking a more distant, oblique approach that I can accurately portray the things I see happening in front of me.
This exhibition can be divided into three sections:
The first is comprised of images I have captured from my mobile phone of postings from electronic media/ social platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and WeChat. Some of these postings are from actual newspaper articles or other media reports, others are clearly political propaganda: but what they all have in common is that they are either deceptive information or outright lies, of the kind we encounter on a daily basis. From the huge amount of data I collected, I have made a selection of 49 of these capture images and turned them into drawings on paper.
The second section can be described as a new installment of my ‘film paintings’ series. This time, however, I selected specific scenes and dialogue from films such as Jiang Wen’s Let the Bullets Fly, which are full of ambiguity and leave the audience constantly guessing what the real truth of the situation is. Each of these scenarios has a kind of symbolic significance related to our current socio-political situation—and once again, the main theme is about lies and deception.
For the third section of the exhibition, I have created a performative mixed-media work using appropriated images of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. In these images, which North Korea has broadcast to the world, Kim is shown surrounded by his devoted followers, many of whom reach out towards their idol with passionate, energetic gestures and with their faces contorted with emotion and even streaming with tears. To me these propagandistic images of Kim have the constructed pathos of Renaissance-period religious paintings, and it is this quality that I want to capture in this work.
Chow Chun Fai
香港土生土長，周俊輝的概念繪畫及攝影裝置最為人耳熟能詳。於香港中文大學藝術系先後取得藝術學士（BA）及藝術碩士（MFA）。周氏以藝術家身份積極介入社會政治，除任「伙炭」藝術村董事會主席外，更曾於2012年參與立法會「體育、演藝、文化及出版」功能組別選舉。雖未能晉身議事堂，卻成功引起各界對香港文化藝術之關注。近期曾參與展覽包括：《威尼斯集合點》（My Art Guide 主辦，2015年威尼斯雙年展期間）、《香港眼》（2012年英國薩奇畫廊）、利物浦雙年展（2012年）。曾獲獎項包括「香港藝術中心三十週年大獎」、「Sovereign傑出亞洲藝術獎」等。
CHOW Chun Fai (b. 1980)
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Chow Chun Fai is known for his conceptually fuelled paintings and photographic installations. Chow holds a BA and MFA from the Fine Arts Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He takes an activist role as an artist: Chow serves as Chairman of the Fotanian Artist Village and in 2012 he ran in the Hong Kong Legislative Council elections, for the Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication constituency. Although his election bid was unsuccessful, it drew wide attention to grassroots issues related to art and culture in Hong Kong. Most recently his work has been featured in the exhibitions Venice Meeting Point at the Arsenale, Venice Biennale 2015; The Past Continuing at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum (2015); Hong Kong Eye at the Saatchi Gallery, London and the Liverpool Biennial (both UK, 2012). Chow is a recipient of the Grand Prize of the Hong Kong Arts Centre 30th Anniversary Awards, and the Sovereign Asian Art Prize.
Gallery: Alisan Fine Arts
Artist(s): Dong Wensheng, Han Lei , Hung Fai, Hung Keung, Koon Wai Bong, Ryan LaBar, Pan Yingguo, Shi Jinsong, Wai Pong-yu, Yau Wing Fung, Zhang Jian-Jun, Zhang Xiaoli, Zhang Ying
Opening / Event Date: 13 Aug, 2021
Closing / End Date: 7 Nov, 2021