Hong Kong art. Grace by Ray Chan See-kwong, Nick Poon Fai-wong, Miu Tsang Che-ching and Ben Yau Man-pun. 27 September – 22 November, 2014. Unit 1606, Hing Wai Centre, 7 Tin Wan Praya Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong.
Mur Nomade, a curatorial office and gallery, invited ceramic artists Ray Chan See-kwong, Nick Poon Fai-wong, Miu Tsang Che-ching and Ben Yau Man-pun to present their new works and installations. From a varying range of career marks, the four Hong Kong male artists present artworks displaying remarkable technical skills and craftsmanship. The selected pieces featured in the exhibition are examples of a distinctive way to approach ceramic art based on clarity, delicacy, and rejection of anything heavy or unnecessarily intricate.
From a curatorial angle, Grace is a stage where artworks are celebrated in beautiful choreography. Each artist entered the stage one after the other, and their respective works naturally found their own space and role. The exhibition is a quiet ballet of elegant shapes and delicate materials. All the artworks find their sources of inspiration in simple forms of beauty, may it be the movement of birds in the sky, the wings of butterflies, a slow dance duo or the gesture of offering a bowl of rice. Their fragility and deliberate simplicity confer them mystery.
Just as the lighting and layout of objects shape the visitor’s experience of the exhibition, so does the music. Piano pieces by Erik Satie and short intermissions of silence add another layer of perception in the appreciation of the artworks. In his essay entitled ‘A Touch of Music’ about the role of Erik Satie’s music, writer and music scholar Giorgio Biancorosso wrote: ‘The artists have reconfigured the space by cleverly manipulating sight lines through their choice and disposition of the objects, as well as lighting. The decision to use music is no less transformative an intervention. Satie’s piano pieces do not merely reinforce the impression of delicacy and simplicity of the ceramics displayed here. They help us perceive the gallery space as one carefully orchestrated whole, filling it with reminders of the material origins of sound, images of a performance, or subtle evocations of dance. When the music comes to an end, we are given a chance to perceive afresh the works on display. Less silent than sound-less, a ceramic sculpture, even more than a painting, conjures a wholly imaginary world which is all the more striking given its obvious presence in our very own physical, three-dimensional space.’
Glazed, raw, polished or scraped, the artworks on display offer a feast of textures. There is no doubt that visitors will be tempted to touch them. Indeed the tactile experience in ceramic art, be it in the production process or in the end result, is absolute unique and cannot be replaced by any literary description. Therefore, for this exhibition only, there will be a dedicated area where visitors will be able to touch or hold some selected artworks to observe them closely and to better appreciate the lightness, the textures and the play of light and shadows.
All the artists participating in the exhibition have their own individual ceramic studios in Hong Kong. At Grace, Ray Chan See-kwong presents Duo, a series created in collaboration with two contemporary dancers. To make those naturally curling shapes, Chan uses extremely thin sheets of translucent Japanese porcelain. Nick Poon Fai-wong presents his new collection of white bowls entitled Hold. They are very pure and graceful shapes, inspired by the gesture of a child holding a warm bowl of rice for the first time. Miu Tsang Che-ching designed a unique wall-mounted display for sixteen of his signature bird-shaped vessels. The installation can be seen as homage to the harmony and effortless beauty of nature. And Ben Yau Man-pun hung an installation of mobiles to the ceiling of the exhibition space: butterflies move gently in a slow dance using the natural ambient air movements.
The conception of this exhibition is based on the guidance and recommendations provided by Fiona Wong Lai-ching. Mur Nomade would like to thank Ms Wong for sharing her experience and knowledge as a talented ceramic artist and inspiring teacher.