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[Wong Chuk Hang Space] Oska Gutheil & Rodel Tapaya Duo Show

Exhibition details

Opening / Event Date:
4 May, 2023
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Closing / End Date:
5 June, 2023
Event Category:
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A Tale of Two Cities


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,

it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,

it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,

it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness,

it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

― Charles Dickens,  A Tale of Two Cities

Filipino artist Rodel Tapaya and German artist Oska Gutheil, for the first time, collaborate in a new exhibition opening on May 4th at Tang Contemporary Art Hong Kong. The show, curated by Michela Sena and titled “A Tale of Two Cities“, showcases a selection of artworks inspired by the artists’ personal experiences of living in two different cultures: Tapaya in Manila and Gutheil in Berlin.

Together, the artists create a unique blend of cultural aesthetics that converges audiences from different backgrounds and nationalities. It demonstrates how art can bridge cultural divides and foster understanding among diverse communities. It also demonstrates the power of collaboration in the art world and how it can create new and exciting possibilities for both artists and audiences.

The exhibition highlights Tapaya’s signature style of combining traditional Philippine folklore with contemporary issues, as well as Gutheil’s focus on his inner world and the complexities of his visionary dimension.

For Oska Gutheil, his paintings question social norms within society and is primarily concerned with the construct that we call reality. Uniformity, failure, gender clichés and transformation play a decisive role in the often biographically inspired works. His works result in vibrant canvases with bold colors and textures, evoking a sense of movement and energy.

Rodel Tapaya instead is known for his large-scale paintings on canvas, which depict complex narratives inspired by his cultural heritage and personal experiences. His works often incorporate elements of Philippine mythology, folklore, traditional storytelling and contemporary social issues, and are characterized by their bright colors, intricate patterns, and layered symbolism.

Even through distinct stylistic approaches, Tapaya and Gutheil’s works harmonize to create a unique and stunning visual display when juxtaposed against each other. A fusion of traditional inspirations elaborated in a contemporary language, resulting in a modern and innovative art form.

Like A Tale of Two Cities, the show becomes a visual journey that explores the intersection of culture and artistic expression. The exhibition aims to prove how different contexts can meet in a smooth dialogue. In its complexity the show highlights the power and beauty of art in transcending cultural boundaries and creating a shared human experience. In fact, despite their different backgrounds and approaches, both Tapaya and Gutheil share a common interest in exploring human experiences and emotions through their art, and in challenging the boundaries between traditional and contemporary forms of expression.

The collaboration demonstrates that it is no longer necessary to consider the art of new generations to be under any cultural or geographical lenses. Rather, if a context is needed, it must be found in the generational context, which shows common features among individual artists coming from all the world. Raised and educated in the same global world, young contemporary artists, instead of being defined by their cultural or national heritage, are seeking to express universal human experiences such as love, loss, and identity. They are also more aware of social and political issues, and are eager to use their art to comment on and critique the world around them. And it is just the consonance of their dimensions that allows young contemporary artists to often explore interdisciplinary collaborations, blending different art forms and working with other artists from different fields.

The process results in a new artistic context, where art is becoming increasingly diverse and inclusive, as artists from different backgrounds and cultures come together to create art that reflects the world we live in.

What the exhibition particularly leaves us with, is a sense of visionary: the form of aesthetic experience that emerges from the intersection of art, technical skills, and cultures; a term coined by artist and philosopher Joseph Nechvatal to describe the creation of immersive, interactive, and transformative environments that allow people to explore new dimensions of reality.

In the context of art, dream, transformation and visionary, what is created is a dreamlike and transformative experience for the viewer. This show creates an immersive environment that blurs the boundaries between the self and the world, between the conscious and the unconscious, and between reality and fantasy.


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