Lam Tung-pang is one of the most prominent artists of his generation whose coming-of-age coincides with drastic social changes, a result of his homeland’s decolonisation from constitutional monarchy and new allegiance to China in a short span of time. Traversing between the media of painting, site-specific installation, sound and video, Lam’s playful practice arises from a curious imagination that recombines traditional iconography and vernacular materials, innovating with a myriad of found objects and images to form new practices that are often experimental in nature. Lam’s works engage the themes of collective memories and fleeting nostalgia, which articulate an ongoing negotiation of the overlapping city-state’s reality. In his allegorical landscapes, journeys and sceneries become essential passages connecting time and distance, longing and loss.
Solo exhibitions of Lam’s include “Hi! House – Lam Tung-pang x Old House at Wong Uk Village” (Wong Uk Village, Hong Kong, 2017); “The Curiosity Box” (Chinese Culture Center, San Francisco, USA, 2013). Group exhibitions in which Lam has participated include “Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture” (Shenzhen, China, 2017); “CHINA 8” (NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany, 2015); “No Soul for Sale – A Festival of Independents” (Tate Modern, London, UK, 2010). Lam is the recipient of the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship (2012).
Lam currently lives and works in Hong Kong.
Saan Dung Gei / 2018-2019
The audience encounters familiar iconographies in an unsettling otherness. Landscape in operation (2018) shows doctors in scrubs performing an open-chest surgery on a rocky landscape. In the video Hope (2006-2019), the flame of a struck match gives out feeble illumination, only to burn out and fizzle away as the bleached fireworks of Shining Stars in Cave (2018). Lam sees his city as suffering a monumental trauma. His yearning and desire to heal comes from a hope that is steeped in a sense of otherness—he foresees, or even wishes for an overwhelming force to intrude upon this place-to-be.
Re-folding / 2017
In Re-folding, Lam revisits a self portrait, Folding, executed ten years ago whilst studying in the UK. The work resembles a folding screen, in which the artist upholds his empty palms, seemingly holding a cloud of air. Ten years later, Lam photographs and transfers this work onto a wooden panel, and reinterprets it by drilling holes on the wooden panels, visualising the bottomless voids accumulated in a decade of emptiness.
The artist feels that the 20 years since the turnover of Hong Kong to China have left lots of questions in both parties, while many old memories are fading out. “It’s like digging holes in your body and having to fill it with new things, or old memories, as a response to the new situation.”
The original work Folding is born of the uncertainty of Lam’s future as an artist in the UK, while Re-folding demonstrates a similarly uncertain sense of belonging to his hometown, Hong Kong.
The Sinking World / 2015
The Sinking World No.6, made in 2015 after the Occupy Movement, is an elegant landscape on wooden panel in which weightless human figures fall without gravity.