HONG KONG ARTIST GALLERY EXHIBITION
Hong Kong artist Leung Chi Wo’s first solo exhibition in London, called “We Must Construct As Well As Destroy”, presents the artist’s concerns on political and social issues, as well as his reflections on how history is represented and interpreted.
The starting point for the exhibition is an installation work centred around repaired bullet holes found in the Legislative Council Building in Hong Kong, holes which are thought to date back to World War II, left as a reminder of the battle for Hong Kong, when the British, Indian and Canadian defenders fought with Imperial Japanese forces. The building formerly housed the Supreme Court and the Legislative Council, and was a base for the Hong Kong Military Police during the Japanese occupation period, which began in 1941. It was designed by British architect Sir Aston Webb, who was also responsible for the eastern facade of Buckingham Palace and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A Museum) in London.
In an attempt to show how the building and the space that surrounds it have been interpreted at different times throughout history, Leung installed photographs of the bullet holes, shot in close up, into a series of light boxes that have text etched upon them. The texts range from words which were printed on propaganda leaflets dropped by the Japanese over Hong Kong in 1941 (“Stop Useless Resistance” is one example) to statements by Chinese and Japanese tourists made during their visit to the Legislative Council Building.
Click here to visit the website of Hong Kong multimedia artist Leung Chi Wo and here to read more about the exhibition, “We Must Construct As Well As Destroy”, held at Rokeby Gallery in London.
Leung continues his focus on buildings designed by Aston Webb, but shifts his attention to those in London with “a set of twelve marble sculptures, each a letter spelling ‘ENEMY BOMBING’ and modelled on a commemorative inscription on the Aston Webb facade of the V&A, London, [added] after it was bombed.” The juxtaposition of a photograph of the Legislative Council Building with a 1913 quote by Webb referring to his desire to beautify London south of the river further expresses the contradiction and relativism of Leung’s installation work. The “enemy” responsible for the bullet holes and shrapnel scars that remain on the building’s façade remains anonymous and is subject to interpretation.
This new body of work, which took the artist over two years to finish, will show in London, England, until 3 March 2012 before being exhibited in Hong Kong.
About Leung Chi Wo
Born in Hong Kong in 1968, Leung Chi Wo is a multimedia artist who is highly active in the Hong Kong art community; in 1996 he co-founded Para/Site Art Space in Hong Kong. An MFA graduate of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Leung has exhibited internationally and represented Hong Kong in the Venice Biennale in 2001. He has been awarded the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship (1997), Urban Council Award of the Contemporary Hong Kong Art Biennial (1996) and the First Prize in Sculpture from the Philippe Charriol Foundation (1995).
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- Artist Silas Fong’s daring Hong Kong video solo – soundslide – July 2011 – the artist questions the human memory system and our concept of time
- Words in Art: New media artist Hung Keung’s war on Simplified Chinese – March 2011 – an insight into the philosophy of Chinese characters
- Is Hong Kong’s current art climate failing local artists? Wall Street Journal discusses January 2011 – how non-profit art spaces are being overshadowed
- Artpartment a Hong Kong space for experimental art – video – September 2010 – an interview with C&G Artpartment founders Clara Cheung and Cheng Yee Man (Gum)
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