Art|Basel Hong Kong 2023
Encounters: EN1 | Trevor Yeung: Mr. Cuddles Under the Eave
Film: Hong Kong Arts Centre | Angela Su: Cosmic Call (2019) & Wang Tuo: The Interrogation (2017)
Blindspot Gallery is delighted to return to Art Basel Hong Kong 2023, featuring works by Chen Wei, Un Cheng, South Ho Siu Nam, Pixy Liao, Andrew Luk, Kristian Mondrup, Sin Wai Kin, Angela Su, Wang Tuo, Trevor Yeung, and Yeung Tong Lung. Blindspot will participate in Encounters, Art Basel’s presentation of large-scale projects, with Trevor Yeung’s installation Mr. Cuddles Under the Eave (2021), composed of 13 uprooted money trees suspended from the ceiling. Blindspot will also present Angela Su’s Cosmic Call (2019) and Wang Tuo’s The Interrogation (2017) at this year’s Art Basel Film program.
Yeung Tong Lung’s Night Shift (2022) is a large-scale painting depicting a neighbourhood celebrity standing in the middle of road works, overlooking the tram depot along the harbour. Sporting a punk rock hairdo dyed pink, a face mask, and a flower patterned vest, the slipper-wearing man stands resolute with his gaze fixated far beyond the frame, echoing the arrow sign on the right of the scene above the intimate sight of a kissing couple. Carrying a dashing demeanor, Mr Tram stares on emanating an air of resilience and flair. Yeung portrays the less visible details of quotidian life in Hong Kong, highlighting people active in the nocturnal hours.
Wang Tuo introduces Weapons, a new series of oil paintings depicting portraits of anonymous individuals who are part of the underground art and culture circle, working within the
margins of China’s art scene. Painted from self-portraits taken by the subjects illustrated, these images are banal yet intimate. Inspired by the book Weapons of The Weak by James C. Scott, trivial acts of uncooperativeness are used as an everyday form of resistance by the exploited and powerless in a system of inequality. Wang Tuo’s solo exhibition “The Second Interrogation” is taking place at Blindspot Gallery from 21 March to 6 May.
Turner Prize Nominee Sin Wai Kin’s Today’s Top Stories (2020), commissioned by TANK Shanghai, plays on a retro television alongside Sin’s face wipe imprinted with the makeup of The Storyteller, the character featured in the film. The Storyteller is Sin’s first masculine persona. Adopting the role of a news anchor who recites philosophical propositions that are contradictory but equally true, The Storyteller in Today’s Top Stories is granted the authority to disseminate narratives, examining the idea that reality can often be indistinguishable from illusion.
In Chen Wei’s How about dancing (2022), a lonesome disco ball centered in a deserted corner radiates light atop an elongated basketball net reminiscent of uncut hair during extended quarantines. Chen’s studio staged tableau vivant mirrors the way that sporting facilities were closed off in the course of covid lockdowns in China, restricting people from social gatherings. Chen covers the net with a disco ball, humorously and playfully undermining the incessant anxieties felt by many amidst these draconian measures.
Kristian Mondrup’s abstracted landscape stems from AI algorithm that generates images from text prompts. Mondrup’s Fuzzy Border No. 19 (2022) is scattered with illegible motifs culminating into a whimsical dreamscape filled with distorted organs and dripping masses enclosed within a cave-like structure. He identifies his work of art as post-symbolism, subverting the necessity for paintings to have meaning. By transforming AI-rendered visuals into an oil painting, Mondrup blurs the boundary between AI and human agency.
Andrew Luk’s multi-media painting presents a jagged terrain, protruding with menacing spikes of the durian, the tropical king of fruit. The durian is celebrated for its pungent taste and scent, a delicacy so delectable yet deadly for its spikey husk. Luk is fascinated by how the consumption of the fruit, widely circulated in some countries, is strictly controlled by the laws in others.
Un Cheng’s psychological landscape melds her inner world with careful observations of her immediate surroundings. Erratic and devoid of human figures, her large-scale paintings embody an innate desire for human connection within an isolating metropolis. As part of Pixy Liao’s ongoing series Experimental Relationship (2007-present), Liao poses with partner-collaborator Moro, adjoined by a single, red-trimmed underwear. Liao’s performative photograph draws inspiration from Imponderabilia (1977-2017) by Marina Abramović and Ulay. In this iconic performance piece, the two artists stand nude facing one another within the narrow entrance into a museum; visitors squeeze uncomfortably through the contoured fissure formed by their naked bodies. Liao and Moro invert the postures of Abramović and Ulay, humorously closing the crevice and blocking the corridor altogether.
Trevor Yeung’s Mr. Cuddles Under the Eave (2021) will be featured in the Encounters sector of Art Basel Hong Kong. First shown at Pinchuk Art Center in Kyiv, as part of Yeung’s nomination for the “6th Future Generation Art Prize” (2021), Mr. Cuddles Under the Eave is a dramatic installation composed of 13 uprooted pachira aquatica (money trees) hung from the ceiling on a metallic grid. Inspired by the disastrous Typhoon Mangkhut that hit Hong Kong in 2018, mutilating thousands of trees overnight, the money trees in Trevor’s installation are imprisoned to the ruthless harness of ratchet straps, suspending in a state of immobility and discomfort.
Blindspot Gallery will also present Angela Su’s Cosmic Call (2019) and Wang Tuo’s The Interrogation (2017) at this year’s Art Basel Film program. Venice Biennale 2022 Hong Kong representative artist Angela Su’s Cosmic Call is a film that weaves together facts and fiction to create an alternative understanding of epidemics. The work is commissioned by Wellcome Trust and premiered at Hong Kong Tai Kwun Contemporary’s “Contagious Cities: Far Away, Too Close“ (2019). Wang Tuo’s The Interrogation is a video constructed entirely from still film photography and photomontage along with a voiceover. The work intricately intertwines two narratives to expose the hidden structure in our seemingly mundane communications, a dialectical movement capable of inversions and convergences. The Interrogation is the prequel to The Second Interrogation (2023) which will be on view at Wang Tuo’s solo exhibition at Blindspot Gallery (21 March – 6 May, 2023).
In Art Basel Conversations, Trevor Yeung will participate in the panel “Encounters in Encounters: What Does it Mean to Be Here, Now?” on Thursday 23 March, 10:30am – 12pm, at the Art Basel Conversations Auditorium in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Sin Wai Kin will also take part in the talk “Mirror, Mirror: On the Transgressive Art of Cantopop and Performance” on Friday 24 March, 2:30pm – 4pm.