In the early 1970s, Antonio Mak studied painting at Goldsmiths Department of Art, University of London. His works have been exhibited widely in the UK and Hong Kong.
Mak was renowned for his small-scale figurative cast-bronze sculptures, which he meticulously created with the lost-wax method – human torsos, horses and tigers were first crafted in wax, allowing the artist a rare dexterity, and then cast in bronze. His works integrated both Western and Chinese styles in a very unique way.
Mark’s drawings of human figures were probably made as sketches for future sculptures. However, the outlines are open and the drawing does not aim at delineating the human body’s shape. On the contrary, it is about unfolding it and finding its unlimited resources. The human figure is deformed and reassembled into biomorphic forms, imposing disorder on the observer’s gaze. Objects, or other bodies can all melt together in a metaphorical gesture. For the artist, the human body is more than a carnal layer. It is a moving form that cannot be measured, as it keeps changing by incorporating its own environment.
In addition, Mak’s works on non-human bodies, e.g. horses and tigers, expose a keen interest in analogies, allegories and word plays. Like Aesop’s fables, Mak mobilises animal figures to elucidate certain universal truth about the state of human condition, or astute musings on the particular socio-political climate of colonial Hong Kong. Mak adds to this a nuanced understanding of cultural difference, often manifested in the double meaning of the Chinese and English titles of his works.