Gallery: Axel Vervoordt Gallery
Artist(s): Angel Vergara
Opening / Event Date: 18 Nov, 2023
Closing / End Date: 16 Mar, 2024
“Play and Loop III”
Curated by Nick Yu
Featured artists: Carla Chan, Luke Ching Chin Wai, Fault Zone, Eisa Jocson, Samak Kosem, Tita Salina & Irwan Ahmett, Tiffany Sia, Angela Su, Kenneth Tam, Wong Kit Yi
20 July – 11 September 2020
Opening Reception: 17 July 2021, Saturday, 4:00 – 6:30pm
Venue: Blindspot Gallery (15/F, Po Chai Industrial Building, 28 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong)
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10:30 am to 6:30 pm (Sunday and Monday by appointment only); closed on public holidays
Blindspot Gallery is pleased to present Play and Loop III, the third iteration of our summer video screening programme. Play and Loop III will be divided into four scenes, each scene lasting for two weeks. Four films are shown in each scene, along with three installations that are on view throughout the exhibition. Each of these scenes stages a rare chance for discovery and rediscovery, after such years of solitude and constraint, sadness and fear. To play and loop is to live our little lives over and over again.
The opening scene of Play and Loop III will feature four video works, Breakfast in Bed (2016) and sump (2015) by Kenneth Tam, and Lacrima (2021) and Methods of Art (2015) by Angela Su.
In Breakfast in Bed, Kenneth Tam worked with a cohort of predominantly white men to carry out various group activities. Non-actors responded to the artist’s call on regional Craigslist and Reddit posts for participants who were open to this social experiment. Over the course of multiple sessions, the participants got to know each other, and became comfortable enough to strip shirtless, dance around, and share feelings and compliments to each other. Tam is interested in how men perform themselves within groups, and more generally how individuals negotiate intimacy across class and racial differences. Investigating the scripting that people are socialized into, the artist presents a rare and hopeful situation where men can be together in a way that is earnest, amicable and non-toxic.
In contrast to the cinéma verité–style documentary of the largely unscripted Breakfast in Bed, sump is an engineered encounter between Tam’s father and himself. The artist asked his father to join him in doing different activities together in the basement of their home in Queens, New York, where the artist grew up. In silence, the shirtless pair blow balloons, shower under a plastic bag, draw on each other’s bellies with black ink, and stick cereal loops on the other. Activities that would be cute were the artist still a child becomes humorous and at times uncomfortable, oddly tender and loving. For Tam, the project is a personally motivated one, driven by a desire to be more physically intimate with someone who the artist feels he is both close with and a stranger to.
The capacity of bodies to withstand violence and bear pain, to be possessed and taken over, and thus to be transformed and bear witness, forms a main theme in Angela Su’s oeuvre. Lacrima (2021) is Su’s most recent work that was commissioned and is currently showing in “So Long, thanks again for the fish”, an exhibition connecting the islands of Hong Kong and Suomenlinna, Finland, curated by Yeewan Koon. An exuberant medley of moving images by Georges Méliès, Hans Richter, Luis Buñuel, Busby Berkeley, and more archival images, Lacrima dives into the enigmatic life of early 20th-century psychic Nin Palladino through the surrealist milieu of 1930s Paris dada and more. Relating sightings of headless ghosts, misty gas of Lacrima (tear) island, negative hallucinations, and psychography, Su’s film invites viewers to read ghostly codes, see beyond reality and the dream state, and to take a leap of faith into the portal of the fourth dimension.
Similar to Lacrima’s possession of the artist’s body into speculative narratives, Methods of Art is a recording of Angela Su being abducted by an anonymous Panda man. Her mouth duct-taped, hands tied, the artist gives a forced confession apologizing for “all the uninteresting art she has made”. Making the confession under duress, the artist is nonetheless self-reproachful in her ways. In a culture of snitching, denunciation and retraction, Su’s self-effacing gesture could be seen as a preemptive move to shield herself against any potential incrimination. Should Angela Su be cancelled?
On view in the gallery throughout the eight weeks of Play and Loop III are time-based installations of three artists. Carla Chan’s Space between the light fades (2021) is an animated lightbox showing an ethereal halo ebbing and flowing like a hallucination, or the afterimage of staring into sunlight. Tiffany Sia’s A Wet Finger in the Air (2021) is a randomized infinite loop of bilingual weather reports from 1980-90s Hong Kong TVB station, attempting to capture the prevailing dynamics in a city despite rapidly shifting weather trends. Luke Ching Chin Wai’s Quarantine Hotel (2021) is an installation of objects and slideshow of images from the artist’s recent 21-day quarantine in Hong Kong, where in purgatory idleness the artist turns his chamber into a temporary camera obscura, projecting the off-limit outside world into an interior landscape. Like all of us stuck in the past year, these artists have been daydreaming out of the window into light, incessantly following news reports, and earnestly reveling in a little world despite.