Shanghai art events. My father is over the Ocean. Shanghai Postscript by Au Hoi Lam at Osage Gallery. 14 March to 30 May 2014. Curator Ella Liao. Osage Shanghai: Room 101, Block 5, Wang Zu City, 251 Cao Xi Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai 200235.
The art lovers and the tourists visiting Shanghai who had not yet found time to visit the show will now have more than one and a half month, until Friday 30 May, 2014, to discover the styles, the stories and the creations of Au Hoi Lam during her residency in Shanghai in the brand new Osage Shanghai.
The show features works produced by Au Hoi Lam during her residency earlier in February and March in Shanghai, a city which acts as a locus of the artist’s memories as experienced from a vantage of both proximity and distance. The new production serves as ‘postscript’ to the artist’s previous works that mourn and recall her late Father. The starting point was a blouse the artist’s parents brought back for her from their trip to Shanghai in 2001. The blouse became the artist’s connection to the city. While the blouse was not present in Shanghai, it was gestured toward with works such as My Parents Bought me a Blouse from Shanghai on the 4th of May 2001, in which the artist attempts to depict the colour of the blouse from memory. The painting is annotated with fragmentary notes, and is accompanied by an empty clothes hanger and Polaroids of the blouse.
Other new works include Beyond the Clouds, which is a diptych that features 12 squares of gradient blues on each panel, collaged on a floral pattern quilt cover; Twilight similarly features 12 golden yellow panels collaged on to floral patterned fabric. Both Twilight and Beyond the Clouds were inspired by the artist’s visit to Shanghai’s famous Shikumen gates and alleys on a snowy day. Memorandum (Shanghai 2014.02.07–2014.03.14), is a mixed media painting annotated with various sketches of trinkets and objects as well as notes. Sea and Sea of Clouds, an installation, features a pair of completely rounded-out, painted rubber erasers in wooden boxes. March is a painting, scheduled to be finished in 2054, that performatively documents time. Tone Horse and Iron Horse, figuratively juxtaposes two years of the horse, 2002 and 2014. Through these works, we see the artist’s gestures of labor as she attempts to re-inhabit and endure different times and spaces in order to contemplate and recall various memories, particularly those associated with her father. Such gestures are manifest in the detailed, contemplative marks of the works.
Curator Ella Liao summerised her observations of Au Hoi Lam’s work in the past several months in her curatorial statement: “The subdued colours and restrained compositions of Au Hoi Lam’s paintings may bring to mind the works of Agnes Martin. All the same, as I trace Au’s artistic development, it is increasingly apparent that the act of painting and its essential qualities are not important to her per se; rather, they are the byproducts in the passage of time, or the objet a (the unattainable object of desire, sometimes called the ‘object cause of desire’) that embodies her treasured memories and regrets. In this light, she may remind you of some great women writers; Marguerite Duras for instance, who, notwithstanding the great emotional stress and anguish in her life, never lost the jovial sprightliness and the innocent
naiveté in her; in fact, the quest for consolation necessitated Duras to recount, time and again, the experiences and tragic stories of her life. In Au’s narratives, the details are so fine and vivid, it is as if Au is describing the past as it is being re-enacted before her eyes. Yet, however exquisite and delicate her works are, one has the feeling that all the captivating charm and beauty in her work are not so much the results of some contrived artistic efforts, but the after-blaze of her emotions, from which she can not extricate herself.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST.
Au Hoi Lam graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (MFA 2004 & MPhil in Philosophy 2009). She works and lives in Hong Kong. Through artistic creations, AU ruminates over her life experiences, but not to express herself eloquently. The subjects of her metaphorical and autobiographical work come from trivial but profound minute details of everyday life. AU regards her art objects as ways of ‘the Care of the Self’: memorandum, keepsake, symbol, prayer and contemplative medium etc. Her works are labour of love and craftsmanship, infused with her unique sensibilities and passions, and integrating minute details into a unified whole. Perhaps, like life itself, her paintings are best to be savoured and pondered over, instead of being analyzed in a rational manner.
Recent exhibitions include Time Traveller, Au Hoi Lam and Sara Tse (Espace Louis Vuitton, Hong Kong, 2014), Painting On and On 5. Taciturn (HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity Gallery, Hong Kong, 2013), Au Hoi Lam: My Father is Over the Ocean (Osage Open, Hong Kong, 2013), Open 15: International Exhibition of Sculptures and Installations (Lido, Venice 2012), Definitions of Time: Paintings by Au Hoi Lam (Edge Gallery, Hong Kong, 2010), Lui Chun Kwong. You Are Here, I am Not. (Osage Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, 2010), Reversing Horizons: Artist Reflections of the Hong Kong Handover 10th Anniversary (MOCA Shanghai, 2007), Artists
in the Neighbourhood Scheme III: When Words are Sweet…Paintings by Au Hoi-lam (Hong Kong Central Library and Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2006) and the Hong Kong Art Biennial 2003 (Hong Kong Museum of Art, 2003) etc. Her works are collected by Hong Kong Museum of Art and private collectors.
ABOUT THE CURATOR .
Ella Liao graduated from Shanghai Normal University in 2000. She lived in France from 2000 to 2005 and completed her graduate studies in Lyon where she obtained both an MA in Museum Studies and New Medias at University Jean-Moulin Lyon III and an MA in Art of Theatre at University Lumière Lyon II. In 2005 she started working as curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) Shanghai. Her curatorial projects include Restless: Photography and New Media (2006) and Remote/Control: Interactive and Multi-Media Art (2007). From 2007 to 2009 she worked for Osage Shanghai as a curator where she curated Goodnight, My
Beauty (2008), The Plague of Fantasies (2008) and I’m Too Sad to Tell You, Solo Exhibition of Alexander Brandt (2009). From 2009 to 2013 she was a curator at Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai where she curated Time Traveler, a group exhibition (2012). She is currently an independent curator.