Déjà Disparu exhibition of the 4 combined contemporary Hong Kong artists (Ellen Pau, Sara Wong, Ho Siu-kee and Vincent Yu) showcases multi-media works created around 1990’s that record the naked historical truth of Hong Kong’s cultural change during the transition period of Hong Kong’s handover to China.
Undoubtedly, one of Hong Kong’s most crucial historical eras is the transitional period between the 1984 signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the1997 handover. Hong Kong people’s cultural identity was in big question (despite the clear political identity after the handover). The society was packed with Hong Kongers’ emotional turbulence of the fears and perhaps, also excitements, to confront the new fate of being a “Chinese”.
Curated by David Chan Ho-yeung (former director of Shanghai Gallery of Art and Osage Gallery), the exhibition title Déjà Disparu stems from Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance, a book on Hong Kong’s cultural politics of the 1990s written by Ackbas Abbas.
Déjà Disparu exhibition is held at Pearl Lam Galleries that has a spatial advantage for an emblematic exhibition like this. It showcases a wide range of different media, including objects, photographs, video installations and projection so that the exhibition-goers can indulge in an ephemeral experience of both reality and hallucination.
The 4 artists exhibiting at the show – Ellen Pau, Sara Wong, Ho Siu-kee and Vincent Yu – are overlooked talents in the 1980s and 1990s that one has forgotten by the torrent of Hong Kong’s uncertain fate.
There are a few pieces I enjoyed the most.
In Ho Siu-Kee’s Gravity Hoop (1996), the artist suspends himself upside down inside a large circular stainless steel apparatus that represents the physical confinement that has limited the reality from showing in its true form. The design is installed as an object at the exhibition that one can imagine the struggling of feeling the world in its genuine colors due to the limitation represented by the stainless steel.
Local Orientation(1998) by Sara Wong is a sequential documentation of photographs showing what was happening around her. Absent in the photographs, the artist walked around different areas. When the buildings became an obstruction, she would proceed to the nearest open space to continue. This piece shows our ability to navigate through the endless obstruction and terrain of Hong Kong’s city structure.
Vincent Yu’s photograph of a cage-home resident dressing up to meet with journalist (1994) is my favorite. The artist has worked as a photojournalist for Associated Press since 1989. His photographs depict the struggling lives of elderly people living inside a cramped environment in Hong Kong’s public housing, such as Shek Kip Mei Estate. Once could feel the hardness of those people craving for more space to live, which reflects a common desire of all Hong Kongers today as well.
Ellen Pau’s Recycling Cinema (1999) video tracks a moving vehicle on the busy Island Eastern Corridor highway with a panning video camera. The video camera speeds with the moving car, but only holds it for a short moment then it gets out of sight and shifts to another car. The videos represents an never-ending cycle of urban development in the 1990s and that one could never catch the flattened images of the moving cars because of the excessive amount of new cars coming up amid the rapid economic development.
Déjà Disparu Exhibition is a confrontation of the naked truth of Hong Kong’s seismic change of culture and city landscape. The stunning multi-media works would create a spark in your mind and wow you with Hong Kong’s historical and cultural facts in its utmost genuineness.
(Photos: courtesy of Pearl Lam Gallerias)
Déjà Disparu Exhibition
Pearl Lam Galleries
6/F Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong
Jul 26 – Sep 4, 2013
Monday – Saturday, 10am – 7pm
Inquiries: +852 2522 1428