Luke Ching Chin Wai earned his MA in Fine Arts in The Chinese University of Hong Kong. As one of the most active conceptual artists in Hong Kong, Ching twists the roles of artist and observer within and beyond the city. He breeds a discursive system with a good mix of humour, responding to and interrogating the cultural and political collisions occurring in Hong Kong.
Ching has participated in exhibitions and residencies worldwide, including Gwangju Biennale (Korea, 2018), Tai Kwun’s inaugural exhibition “Dismantling the Scaffold” (Hong Kong, 2018), solo exhibitions and residencies at Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery (United Kingdom, 2008) and Fukuoka Asian Art Museum Residence Program (Japan, 2006), and a residency project at P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Centre (New York, USA, 2000). In 2016, he was awarded the Artist of the Year (Visual Art) award by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. His “Undercover Worker” project is recently shortlisted for the Visible Award 2019, an international award devoted to socially engaged artistic practices in a global context. Ching currently lives and works in Hong Kong.
Panic Disorder / 2019
“I am very afraid of cockroaches. I started using double-sided tape to make cockroaches around 20 years ago, when I was in school. Because of my fear, I never considered the anatomy or physiology of the cockroaches, let alone studying and drawing them from life. Their details are thus completely fabricated by me, borne out of my imagination of that which I fear, with some characteristics amplified, some non-existent, all in all a distant association with the object of fear. If compared to real cockroaches, they are not mimetic copies, but rather an analogue of our daily sensation of fear …… Of course, in this time and space, the title is also a response to the police’s calling protestors “cockroaches”. ” — Luke Ching Chin Wai
Liquefied Sunshine / 2014 - 2015
Luke Ching Chin Wai visualises natural and artificial weather phenomena in Hong Kong and Taiwan, emphasising the correlating realities between the two regions, where major forces, be they meteorological or political, happen in different temporal successions. Through conceptual interventions, such as defaced postcards and artificial rain brought by water trucks, Ching traces a thoughtful pathway to expose our faulty imagination of ideal civic institutions and cityscapes.
Liquefied Sunshine (2014-2015) is at once an addition and a subtraction. For what the artist creates in the rainy day, he destroys in the original sunlit landscape. The diagonal strokes could be an abstract representation of rainfall, but they seem more like dashes that cross off mistakes and errors. The typhoon and thunderstorms that ruthlessly hit Hong Kong are no doubt a form of destruction. Injecting torrential rainfall into the bright sunny landmarks of Hong Kong, Ching reveals the many conflicts and destruction in our society. We do not live in bright sunny days.
Usagi / 2013
Usagi and Dark Night, White Cloud came out of Ching’s week-long stint as an undercover security guard in 2013, part of his ongoing Undercover Worker project in which he takes up different grassroot jobs to make first-hand observations and develop alternative labour campaigns to improve these working conditions. The chair movement, where he successfully petitioned for the Museum of Art, the UA cinema and other retailers to install chairs for their security and service staff, is an example of that.
Usagi consists of multiple channels of surveillance camera footage when the artist took his first night shift at a semi-conductor factory in Tai Po in 2013, which coincided with Super Typhoon Usagi’s approach to Hong Kong. The observatory hoisted the No.8 Typhoon signal, and all other staff hastily left the factory grounds. The security guard thus wandered alone around his unfamiliar surrounding, acquainting himself with the camera locations and angles. He accidentally came across a spider building a web in front of the camera, its web almost undetectable until the spider scuttles across. Like a spider web, the typhoon is also invisible, and its phenomena perceivable only through the moving shadows of the tree trunks. Similarly, in today’s context, the veracity of events is often validated through the lens of surveillance cameras.
Dark Night, White Cloud / 2013
Ching had a five-day job at the Hong Kong Railway Museum. The artist took longer-than-usual patrols across the museum premise, and unbeknownst to his colleagues and supervisor, created Dark Night, White Cloud, a series of photos inside the train carriage exhibits. With a long-exposure photographic process, he waved about in his blue uniform, creating the illusion of a translucent cloud that levitates above the seats. Dematerializing the human body that performs caretaking labour, this work is a magical realist intervention to an otherwise stale and unmoving artefacts in the spirit of Institutional Critique.