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Exhibition details

Opening / Event Date:
22 August, 2023
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Closing / End Date:
22 October, 2023
Event Category:

WOAW Gallery Presents THE RECORD, THE DOUBLE, AND THE SINGULAR Exhibition Period: August 22 – October 22, 2023
Venue: 3 & 5 Sun Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Hong Kong, August 15, 2023 — WOAW Gallery is thrilled to announce the grand opening of its new location situated in the vibrant neighbourhood of Sun Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong on August 22, 2023. Building upon its unwavering dedication to showcasing cutting-edge contemporary art and enriching the local art scene, this expansion follows the resounding success of our original space on Sun Street in Wan Chai and now includes an additional street-level gallery in close proximity, expertly overseen by the acclaimed Beau Architects. To mark the inauguration of this new location, WOAW Gallery will be presenting a special twofold exhibition by Korean artist Taedong Lee and local artist Kitty Ng, with one in the new space, 3 Sun Street Wan Chai, and the other in its first space in the same street. The vivacious dialogue between the two exhibition represents the gallery as a bridge, connecting disparate artistic communities worldwide.

After a successful debut in Singapore early this year, the gallery has made the strategic decision to inaugurate its new location in its beloved hometown of Hong Kong, further solidifying its core commitment to the local art scene. Throughout its illustrious four-year presence in Hong Kong, boasting two exceptional spaces, the gallery has always ambitiously introduced a diverse range of international artists with thought-provoking topics that are rarely explored within Asian society. This latest expansion exemplifies gallery’s enduring spirit of experimentation and its commitment to making art accessible to a wider audience, embodying the vision of democratizing art appreciation.

From August 22 – October 22, 2023 at 3 & 5 Sun Street Wan Chai, a duo-solo exhibition of works
by Kitty Ng and Taedong Lee, titled “The Record, the Double, and the Singular,” initiates a dialogue between two contemporary artists who start their paintings with their personal archive of photographs. In the first half of Camera Lucida (1981), Roland Barthes argues that photography is a medium of death; when the camera captures a moment, it records the passing of that very moment. Ng and Lee, however, view photographs as catalysts for the singularity inherent to the processes of recollection and distortion.

By indulging in images from their archive, they allow for a certain fantasy to take hold of them — a fantasy from the present, that deepens and changes the original memory associated with the photograph. By giving in to the centrifugal force of speculation, their memories become muddled with their lives today. They reduce, add, revise, and ultimately transform the image, etching onto the canvas the irreducibility of their singular response.

Spatial and temporal speculation lies at the heart of Tae Dong Lee’s practice. From the comfort of his studio, Lee traverses his family photographs and uproots them of their context, concurrently opening up the image and his practice to conjecture. The distortions of his memory that take place through this process combine the vitality found in the vivid landscapes of Jeju Island with his interiority. The figures found in the photographs — himself, his parents, and his siblings — take new shape and form against a renewed terrain.

In “An Exceptionally Bright Night” (2022), three figures — the artist and his parents — sit atop horses, eddying in the lush blue-green pigments that make the environment. Echoing the mysticism of Peter Doig, the work absents spatial markers and engenders what the artist calls a “phantom place.” In “Escaping” (2022) and “Escaped” (2022), two images that share the same source image, we are offered an insight into the ebbs and flows of the artist’s interiority. Utilising darker hues, the former offers an elegiac lament while the latter indulges in a reluctant jubilance.

It is imperative for Kitty Ng that her photographs reinvent themselves through her paintings. Taken over the course of her college years, her imagery is composed of friendships and kinships rooted in a quotidian intimacy. Her subjects can be seen in a dorm room, the streets of Shanghai, in the comfort of a home, or even on something as mundane as a walk. As rings true with most beautiful banalities, each stroke on the canvas is placed with yearning, a yearning to reconcile the fallibility of relationships — that they change, dissolve, and take new forms.

Ng’s studio practice began with making collages in Photoshop; in works such as “Forward We Go!” and “S to S,” she supplants intimate memories with friends and family and combines them with jovial moments. The resulting compositions are playful, charming, and full of a lived life. During her residency in Shanghai, she started moving away from college but retained the figurative impulses she developed through them. In the series of works titled “Love Languages” and “Bittersweet Fantasy,” she embraces the selective nature of memory, leaving behind few details and white space to surround it.

Ng and Lee firmly reject ideas of nostalgia that have become the ascendant trend in figurative works. They reject the stability the personal archive might suggest. They reject, and they reject. Their voices converge in the act of failing to double the memory. Our minds are always in flux, we are affected by the troubles of the every day, the whims of the heart, and the travails of existing. Unlike mechanical processes, our bodies cannot reproduce exactitudes. They can barely do approximations. It is this singularity that distinguishes us. We fail, fail, and we fall. And therein lies something gorgeous.


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