Gallery: JPS Gallery
Artist(s): Joe Cheetham
Opening / Event Date: 15 Nov, 2023
Closing / End Date: 9 Dec, 2024
“Solo · Exhibition · Twice II: Of Seeing” is the second joint exhibition by Yeung Tong Lung and Sze Yuen since 1995. The exhibition includes Yeung’s recent oil paintings, and Sze’s charcoal works and oil paintings from the past decade to the present. Yeung Tong Lung is known for his large-scale figurative paintings, characterized by vibrant colors, vivid contrasts, and collagesque compositions that connect multiple spaces, different characters and narratives on the same plane. Sze Yuen’s creations have always adhered to a horizontal scroll format, with most of her works displaying muted color tones, imbued with a deep sense of uncertainty and instability in terms of location, space, time, and subjects. While their artistic styles diverge greatly, their works are connected by the shared experience of the city they live in, displaying warmth and care for “home” throughout, alongside acute social awareness.
Yeung Tong Lung’s diptych, Tattoo House, portrays the interior of a tattoo parlor, and the retaining wall of Rock Hill Street in Kennedy Town. The work embodies Yeung’s longstanding interest in the practice of tattooing. The right panel portrays a shirtless man standing barefoot in a relaxed posture against a cobalt blue wall. He watches the tattoo artist intricately tattooing a client, while the buzzing sound of the tattoo machine fills the room. Stuck onto the tiled wall near them, are an array of image cutouts displaying different tattoos referencing the rich history of tattooing. These tattoos feature symbols from Japanese mythological creatures to Chinese fictional characters such as Shi Jin, known as the “Nine-Tattoo Dragon” in one of the classic Chinese literature Four Great Classical Novels. Some images feature tattoos inspired by contemporary art, including Dennis Oppenheim’s 1970 Reading Position for Second Degree Burn and Wim Delvoye’s highly controversial tattooed pigs. Mirroring the inconspicuous nature of tattoo, the artist also playfully paints on the verso of the painting, images of tattoos with hidden messages that are concealed from the front view. The other panel of the work portrays a high retaining wall covering a bushy slope at Rock Hill Street in Kennedy Town, adding an openness and interesting contrast to the interiority of the tattoo parlour. Drawing inspiration from diverse historical and cultural references, Tattoo House encapsulates the subculture of tattooing which transcends the boundaries of race and gender, while presenting a safe space for freedom of self-expression.
Today Should Be……Joyous portrays an elderly man in motion. The figure is portrayed twice in the same setting, but in two different moments. In one stance, the man sits on a sofa, fully absorbed in the careful preparation of meal ingredients. In another position, the man stands and leisurely munches on melon seeds, with the seed shells strewn across the floor in front of him, while his gaze fixates in quiet contemplation. Viewed from the vantange point of a storage room, an array of personal possessions is on open display. The foreground shelf is packed with family albums, books, photo frames, CDs, clocks, an analog radio, and even a playful figurine of For Immediate Release Solo ·‧Exhibition ·‧Twice II: Of Seeing Joint exhibition by Yeung Tong Lung and Sze Yuen 12 September – 28 October 2023 Opening Reception: 9 September 2023; Saturday; 4:00-6:30pm Artists will be present. Venue: Blindspot Gallery (15/F, Po Chai Industrial Building, 28 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong) Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10:30am to 6:30pm (Sunday and Monday, by appointment only); closed on public holidays. Artists will be present. Olive, Popeye’s love interest in the nostalgic American cartoon, all of which are objects that evoke the inexorable passage of time. The photographs in view are old, with one pinned to the bottom of the shelf depicting a young woman posing against the backdrop of crashing waves, reminiscent of a portrait of a loved one. A pile of objects is tucked away in the corner, neatly organized and wrapped. The man looks around for activities to occupy his time, gradually merging with the environment, becoming an integral part of the whole, while time comes to a standstill.
Sze Yuen’s Trip I: Journey is a triptych comprised of three 1.8-meter long charcoal drawings placed in alignment, forming a spectacular 6-meter sightline. The drawings depict pan-cinematic scenes of the interior of a subway train traversing through the real and the otherworldly realms. Confined to a palmsized height, the work orchestrates a narrow sightline that oscillates back and forth, immersing the viewer in a continuous visual journey. The format of the work also unfolds two possible viewing experiences – one allowing for a segmented frame-by-frame viewing akin to photographic contact prints, while the other presents a sequential narrative similar to comic strips.
The left and middle panels of the work depict multiple groups of human figures in the train compartments. Positioned in the center amidst twelve others, a radiant figure encircled by a closely gathered ensemble. At their feet, a lamb peacefully rests. In the middle panel, the radiant figure reappears, this time cradling a baby emerging from a carriage door. Scattered throughout the train are figures dressed in black in various postures — some lie across the train seats; others sit, kneel and crawl in despair, while a few appear to be in a posture of prayer seeking for salvation. Sheep are also present in the train, lying peacefully next to the mighty Lion of Judah. In the right panel, the train undergoes another environmental transformation. The scene zooms out to reveal an unspecified dimension which precedes the train’s reappearance, hinting at an impending arrival in indefinite oblivion.
“Solo · Exhibition · Twice II: Of Seeing” reflects the artists’ deep and unhurried contemplation on the act and process of “looking at paintings”, through the making of painting, the display of painting, and the interaction between paintings (and the artists). It may not necessarily reach a destination, but it unfolds as an intimate dialogue between the two.