Gallery: Axel Vervoordt Gallery
Artist(s): Angel Vergara
Opening / Event Date: 18 Nov, 2023
Closing / End Date: 16 Mar, 2024
Whitestone Gallery H Queen’s is delighted to present “Space and Memory,” a group exhibition showcasing works by three local emerging artists — Kwong San Tang, Szelit Cheung, and Tap Chan — as part of the HKAGA Summer Programme.
The concept of space has been fundamental to shaping our lived experiences and widely explored by artists and writers across time; from Gaston Bachelard’s monumental work that changed our thoughts and memories of domestic spheres; to Michel Foucault’s heterotopias which refer to ‘places outside of all places’; to the Light and Space movement’s rigorous investigation of perceptual phenomena in the 1960s and 1970s. Similarly, these three Hong Kong artists investigate the ways in which spaces are represented, perceived, and imagined in relation to identities, dreams, and memories, opening up gateways for reflection and contemplation.
Reflecting on his family heritage and personal identity, often deploying the motif of the South China Sea as a historical space, Kwong San Tang’s monochrome graphite works occupy the first room of the gallery, reorganising and reinterpreting the collective and the personal archive. Not only does Tang laboriously reproduce the source material, photographs and documentary film stills, he also alters them by reimagining the positive images as film negatives, evoking a sense of nostalgia. In the Diaspora series (2021), the waterscapes and eclipsed scenes are excerpts from the BBC’s documentary The Bamboo Curtain (1978), which depicts Chinese migrants leaving China for Hong Kong, risking swift currents, sharks, and police detention, all in order to reach freedom. Aside from engaging with a register of collective memories, these fragments are also reminiscent of Tang’s late mother who had shared a similar experience. A timely reiteration of an intimate portrait of the infant artist sitting on his mother’s lap, ‘96 7 14 (2020) also constitutes a ‘space’ within the larger work, a frame containing a film negative of a childhood relic. In more recent works, Tang carries this idea forward by creating a physical distance between the image and the frame. Through the poetry of his honest reinscription of personal memories and collective events, Tang galvanizes a dialogue between the viewer and the artist, and the past and the present.
While Tang recalls and reorganizes historical space, Szelit Cheung’s works play with light, shadow, and colour, rendering space abstract, timeless, and placeless. Drawing from both the imagination and fragments of geographic memory, Cheung outlines the emptiness of space — the void — through repeated experiments with shadows, geometry, and light. With his predilection for emptiness and cleanliness, Cheung brings a sense of solitude through his apposite use of fragments, reducing space to its most essential state. Featured in this exhibition are three pairs of paintings and a miniature. Inspired by the gallery’s high ceilings and pristine walls, the paintings deploy a soft colour palette, creating more light and space. In the exhibition space, the three pairs of paintings are purposefully installed one opposite the other, providing the viewer at the center of the room an all-seeing, panoptical experience. Cheung’s minimalist aesthetic and conceptual approach to painting space evokes a zen quality, inviting the viewer to meditate on the works.
The last room of the gallery features the works of Tap Chan, whose sculptures sit in stark contrast to the two-dimensional works of Cheung and Tang. Interested in exploring insomnia and quotidian liminality, Chan uses industrial material to create uncanny sculptural forms that reference domestic space, forming a fantasmatic theatre that works as a heterotopia, a term that describes spaces which are at once real and virtual. One such example of a space is a mirror, which features prominently in Rorrim (2021). Made of the biodegradable polyester polycaprolactone, Rorrim (2021) takes Edogawa Ranpo’s Mirror Hell and Lewis Carrol’s Through the Looking Glass as its references and functions as a portal into unknown dimensions and alternate realities. Interrogating the threshold between private and public space in Barrier I (2021), Chan hangs a fibrous curtain on the structure of a rail, calling attention to the ambiguous thresholds of privacy. By channeling her experience of anxiety and hair loss, Chan, in #FFFFFF (2021), constructs densely woven nylon fibres. Lastly, Shifted (2021) is a set of white headboards that projects a neon halo onto the gallery wall. Chan’s ongoing exploration of sleeplessness and psychological states offers the viewer a temporary space for retreat and reverie.
About the artists:
Kwong San Tang (b.1992) was born in China and now lives in Hong Kong. He received his BA in Fine Arts from RMIT University, Australia, in 2019. His practice combines photographs, drawings, objects and videos that trace intergenerational family memories and social history. Through reorganising and reinterpreting old belongings, family photo albums and documents in a range of media, Tang explores the subtle, intricate and complex connections between longing, loss and belonging. He has had solo exhibitions at Gallery Exit and Hidden Space. He has been included in several group exhibitions, Pao Galleries; Goethe-Institut; and Contemporary by Angela Li, amongst others.
Szelit Cheung (b.1988) is a Hong Kong-based artist. His cross-disciplinary practice includes painting, drawings and photography. Currently, he is investigating the essence of the void, exploring the connections between presence and emptiness by utilising simple forms. He experiments with light and colours as a means to echo and amplify feelings that are intangible yet powerful. After graduating from The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University (RMIT) in 2012, his work has been widely exhibited locally and internationally, including the USA, France, Japan, Taiwan, and China. He has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Rossi and Rossi, Hong Kong; Touch Gallery, Hong Kong; Galerie Ora-Ora, Hong Kong; and Yiri Arts, Taiwan. He has been included in group exhibitions at several institutional spaces and galleries, including One Thousand Museum, Miami; Pao Galleries, Hong Kong; Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong; Tokyo Gallery + BTAP, Tokyo; and Crane Gallery, Taiwan.
Tap Chan (b. 1981) was born in Hong Kong and currently lives and works in Hong Kong. She received her B.A, in Fine Arts from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 2011 and an M.A. in Visual Arts from the Hong Kong Baptist University in 2014. Working mainly in installation, video, and sculpture, she is interested in exploring the idea of liminality, one embedded in daily life where the boundaries between fiction and reality are often blurred, like the undefined psychic and emotional ruptures experienced during bouts of insomnia. Chan constructs narratives of the subterranean mind that rumble beneath the facade of modern existence. Chan’s work has been exhibited internationally and locally, including in Singapore and The Netherlands. Chan has been included in several exhibitions, such as Tai Kwun Contemporary, Mine Project, Pao’s Galleries, Hong Kong Sculpture Biennial, 1A Space, Quartair, Wolfart Project Space, Duddell’s, Harthall, INSTINC, among others.
Opening Reception: 31 August 2021, 4 – 7pm
Exhibition period: 31 August – 30 September 2021
Whitestone Gallery is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 11 am to 7 pm
(Sunday by appointment only, closed on Monday and public holidays)
For further enquiries, please contact:
+852 2523 8001