Hong Kong exhibitions. Lumenvisum initiated the Artist and Photographer Conversation Series in 2011 to serve as a platform for cross-disciplinary dialogue, each time conjuring a collaborative exhibition as the creative outcome. In the past five years, some of the most significant artists in Hong Kong have partaken in such a joint venture, namely, Luke Ching and Ducky Tse, Stella Tang and Lau Ching Ping, Leung Chi Wo and Ng Sai Kit, Anothermountainman and Gretchen So, Enoch Cheung and Paul Yeung, and in this year Annie Wan and So Hing Keung.
Complexity Consciousness is the sixth edition of the Artist and Photographer Conversation Series. In the last half a year, photographer So Hing Keung and ceramist Annie Lai-Kuen Wan have engaged in deep dialogues on their artistic ideas and practices. Both eminent artists in their own fields, they have found kindred spirits in each other in their sharings on the relations between time and being, and between art and reproduction.
In the exhibition, Annie Wan’s three sets of works are all titled In the Name of Truth. In search of the linkage between ceramics and photography, Wan describes her works made with her signature ceramic moulding technique which produces products that have the left/right, positives/ negatives and concavities/convexities all reversed as “three dimensional negatives”: “I merely take some images [from reality], without changing any bit of it.”
To veteran photographer So Hing Keung, photography is a very conscious act, involving the individual choices of angles, apertures and light sources, etc., thus a far cry from what Walter Benjamin alleged in his monumental essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, a mere process of mechanical reproduction. As for Wan, she is oppposed to Benjamin’s assertion that the aura of the originals will be vanished after reproduction. She believes in her case, the aura has not only vanished but actaully lifted in her ceramic moulding process as it is all made with hand with every little step being unique, a sharp contrast with the oftentimes mass-produced originals.
In terms of subject matter, Annie Wan made her clay replicas using everyday objects found in her surroundings: the staff mailboxes at her school’s office, the two cameras she used to use as a student. As for So, those who have followed his work may have been aware already of his shift of motives from the external to the internal in recent years. Attempted to prove of his own existence, he has been observing the marks his body made in public spaces. To the artist, those temporary subtle creases left on the leather surfaces of the sofas he has sat on are very much moments of truth. Captured on film or on his memory drive, they are evidences of his own existence, though being moments of the past they may as well serve as his memento mori.
To Wan, such a postulation that photography is “capturing truth in the moment” is perhaps only a fragile belief. “What really is captured the moment the shutter clicks?” is her question. In her pursuit, she made thin slices of clay mould and framed them up with picture frames. Because of the curvature formed after firing, when the frame is pressed against the clay, the clay is immediately cracked into pieces. To Wan, the cracking sound reminds her of the shutter’s clicking, only that the difference is the fleeting moment is congealed in permanence into a tangible solid, taking up its own shape and space, and exists in the same space-time with us.
This exhibition is running until 3rdApril, 2016, at Lumenvisum, L2-10, JCCAC, Shek Kip Mei. Gallery is open 11 am to 6 pm daily, and closed on Mondays and public holidays. For inquiries: 3177 9159.