Gallery: Axel Vervoordt Gallery
Artist(s): Angel Vergara
Opening / Event Date: 18 Nov, 2023
Closing / End Date: 16 Mar, 2024
Ben Brown Fine Arts is delighted to announce William Furniss: Contact at the Hong Kong gallery. The exhibition is part of the Ben Brown Fine Arts’ Spotlight on Hong Kong summer programme which aims to highlight local artistic talent and foster the Hong Kong arts community.
In his presentation at Ben Brown Fine Arts, Furniss presents a contemplative exhibition addressing his practice of image making, framed by architectural façades of Hong Kong. Furniss explains: “Just one click is not enough. Cities are complex organisms, and my montage work looks to unravel the urban mythologies and investigate design iconography. For me, the contact sheet style allows the viewer a return to a time when the camera never lied; veracity
is implicit in a contact sheet, versus the current assumption that all photographs are now doctored in some way.” By subverting the standard practice of digitally doctored images, Furniss’ fragmentary compositions both playfully imitate and visually disrupt iconic images of cityscapes, revealing the invisible labour of image making.
Furniss’s work is imbued with the mediums of neon and film photography, retro-dated to the time of his arrival in Hong Kong. These outmoded methods are now captured in his contemporaneous digital prints, offering a glimpse into Furniss’ personal journey to this city whilst putting the rich history of photography on display. Furniss first arrived in Hong Kong in 1993, where the city’s foreign landscape prompted his foray into architectural photography.
In his most recent series 8×5+2, Furniss was inspired by games played during the COVID pandemic, in which he employs the iconic façade of Jardine House as a playful framework for multiple games of Connect Four. His works investigate the intersection of play and design, calculated to evoke an appreciation for the city. Furniss’ pieces are available in both print and NFT format. His NFTs of orderly Connect Four gameplay legitimise communal play as artworks, evoking a Fluxus sensibility of life as work, and work as play.
ABOUT WILLIAM FURNISS
William Furniss is an accomplished urbanist and architectural photographer based in Hong Kong. Furniss’ early interest in architecture and design led to him completing an engineering degree at Exeter University. Drawing from university experiences of photography as scientific apparatus, Furniss started to take a different approach to photographs, beginning his photographic career in 1991. Furniss initially trained as a portrait photographer, assisting renowned photographers such as Patrick Litchfield and Terry O’Neill though Furniss shifted the focus of his practice after a 1993 visit to Hong Kong to architecture. The visual landscape of Hong Kong reignited a fascination with documenting the immediate environment; the rural English landscapes of his youth being replaced by the chaotic cityscapes of Asia. Simple storytelling through film and analogue photographs developed into increasingly complicated vignetted narratives through multiple exposures and contact sheets. Furniss’ interest in cities led him to New York in 1999, developing his approach which today favours pre-visualisation of the image and camera-only manipulations to record of the evolution of cities. His work has been held in prominent collections and recognized with awards, including the Analogue and Film category at the 2019 International Photography Awards. Furniss’ practice reflects his appreciation for the vibrancy and sustainability of cities, and he continues to draw inspiration from Hong Kong’s dynamic environment.