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Takashi Makino: Cinéma Concret & Hans-Henning Korb: Kaya Cynara

Exhibition details

Opening / Event Date:
13 December, 2016
11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Closing / End Date:
17 February, 2017
Event Category:

Empty Gallery reopens with its new 4,500-q-foot facilities in Tin Wan with two exhibitions: an immersive installation of Takashi Makino’s Cinéma Concret, and a multi-sensory conceptual environment (Kaya Cynara) by Hans-Henning Korb.


On view on 19/F is Cinéma Concret, the first-ever immersive installation adaptation of Takashi Makino’s award-winning experimental film of the same title. Originally presented in a traditional screening at the 2016 International Film Festival Rotterdam, the work has since been reformulated by the artist specifically for presentation within the gallery’s unique black-cube setting, including a new score by Dutch experimental musician Rutger Zuydervelt.

Conceptualized as an attempt to transpose the French composer and theorist Pierre Schaeffer’s principles of musique concrete into the visual realm, Cinéma Concret is a striking phenomenological investigation into the complex relationship between representation and abstraction as well as the limits of perception. The film incorporates both 35mm celluloid film and digital video as sources and is constructed through a progressive accumulation of image-layers, with as many as two hundred layers of footage unfolding across the screen at one time. Shifting walls of video noise, textured vistas of film grain, and scrims of submerged images advance in and out of optical consciousness, all against the soundtrack of an accumulating percussive drone. The relationship to Schaeffer comes through Makino’s use of concrete imagery drawn from nature – clouds, oceans, forests – as the source material from which to construct his non-representational cinema. As the artist himself has stated, “I wanted to go beyond traditional notions of abstraction to arrive at a concrete abstraction”.

A selection of large-scale platinum prints from Makino’s extensive [still in cosmos] series, exploring the historical connection between the 19th-century panorama and cinematic practice, is also on display.

Spread across three discrete exhibition spaces on Empty Gallery’s 18/F, Kaya CynaraHans-Henning Korb‘s first solo exhibition in Asia, takes the form of a modular installation comprising ritual performances, expanded sculpture, video installation, and Oculus Rift VR. These complex environments are further activated by the artist’s ritual, in which the spectator is guided through a ceremonial interaction with the various objects and sculptures.

With each exhibition space representing a different realm of consciousness, the viewer experiences Kaya Cynara as a constantly shifting relationship between inside and outside, virtual and actual, nature and technology. Korb’s work reflects on the convergence of these two spheres within a hyper-mediated present, and the tenuous role of the human within this complex ecosystem.

Kaya Cynara represents a body that contains three core states or stages. Each scope of the exhibition represents a layer of the body that is experienced through the senses and natural elements, where the gross and subtle physicalities of the human body in the first room composed of Yumco and Yin Skin, are ultimately merged and transcended in the last. The second stage Cynara, encompasses an earth-filled room which embodies elements of wood, earth and fire. A second screen grows out of the soil among an amalgam of branches, draped prints, moss, grass, artichoke leaves. Visitors are invited to experience Yukti,  a ritual performance guided by a performer within the installation.  After ceremonial interaction involving a tasting of cooked artichoke water served in special ceramics by Jonas Wendelin as part of Yukti, viewers are initiated into both the physical and virtual realm of Artischocken Kosha, which forms the center consciousness and soul of Kaya Cynara. Upon entering a cavity built into the gallery space, the viewer arrives at an amorphous state as if inside a womb or the heart of an artichoke. A virtual reality component embedded in the room’s membrane offers a sensory portal into a plasma sphere where sounds, shapes, and colors dissolve into abstraction in constant flux. While within the realm of VR, participants are guided by a performer, then offered a warm, cooked artichoke. The multi-leveled spatial experience completed via the additional feeling and eating of the artichoke plant, creates a micro-macrocosmic relationship through simulated, built, and haptic reality.

*Please note the ritual will only be performed 4PM to [email protected]7PM each day the gallery is open (Tue-Sat). Visitors can also make appointments via [email protected] in advance during off-hours. [Kaya Cynara remains viewable when the ritual is not activated,  however viewers will not be able to experience the Oculus VR component except during the performance]


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