This publication project takes as starting point the year 2000, and focuses on Yeung Tong Lung’s painting practice in the past two decades, with the aim of highlighting the accomplishment of his artistic creation, and its significance in the field of Hong Kong culture. The first part includes three critical essays, providing a macroscopic and overall analysis that articulates the context of Yeung’s creative development. First we have artist Au Hoi Lam who looks at a painter from the perspective of another painter. Writing in prose, she attempts to enter “the private space of a stranger,” and proposes several aspects for thought such as the selection of subject matter, the subjective representation of reality, and the role of sketches, as a prelude to this publication.
Scholar Silvia Fok writes from the perspective of chronicles, focusing on three painting methodologies in terms of “micro-narratives.” Both forms and sounds are depicted in the illusionary composition, a stage for showing mundane stories of common people with dark undertones. Looking back, one catches a glimpse of the reflections on the glass, as if behind it something is being echoed back. A review written in 2011 by another painter, Sistine 3, expands on the views of the previous two writers, with an additional commentary on Yeung Tong Lung’s knowledge accumulated from art books. She suggests the rules of “obstruction,” “covering” and “separation,” at the same time emphasising Yeung’s refusal to fall into the dilemma of established rules.
Before going into the next part, we will first turn to the four newly completed works not discussed in any of the essays. We have especially invited Yeung Tong Lung to speak for himself, who has, however, always refused to assume an authoritative voice as regards his paintings. Therefore, this transcript should be read as the painter’s views as the first viewer, an extended note providing supplementary information for appreciating the works.
The four essays in the second part focus on specific topics touched upon by Yeung Tong Lung’s paintings. Art critic Lau Kin Wah refers to the seemingly irrelevant, trivial daily items, bringing out the arguments about social class and the politics of aesthetics in the history of modern art. Mundane yet visible, behind a painted power strip lies a potent hidden message. Using the shops and street scenes portrayed in the works as example, Hong Kong urbanist Sampson Wong analyses Hong Kong’s unique urban spatial composition and Yeung Tong Lung’s keen observation of the environment, explaining those everyday routines that are “very Hong Kong.” Artist and writer Chan Sai Lok contemplates on the visual experience of reflections in the windows and glasses in the paintings, trying to walk through them with the readers, following the artist’s thinking process and the history of painting, and deconstruct Yeung Tong Lung’s painting methodology. Last but not least, based on the 2019 exhibition “Adjusted Visions,” photographer and art critic Blues Wong compares Yeung Tong Lung’s paintings with Ng Sai Kit’s photographic works: the uses of perspective for seeing the environment, their ways of representing multiple spaces, and how the two media, with each their own unique characteristics, narrate a story.
More than a catalogue, through this publication we wish to provide the readers with different levels of interpretation by way of the professional knowledge of our writers. The sequence of the essays, arranged like the plot of a story, brings the readers along in the appreciation of the painter’s efforts in artistic logical thinking and sentimental atmosphere, a collective experience that is quintessentially Hong Kong. In addition, sketches made by Yeung Tong Lung as he was conceiving his paintings reflect the process of composition and characterisation, and are appreciable drawings in their own right. For which special purpose, sketches of his new work “Mount Davis” are compiled in a separate book entitled The Sketches.