Leung Chi Wo’s identity art: words, buildings, bullet holes

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.

Leung Chi Wo, 'We still have to fight', 2010, light installation: LED light, etched plexiglas, C-Type print, dimensions variable (each element 30 x 40 cm). Image courtesy Rokeby Gallery

Leung Chi Wo, 'We still have to fight', 2010, light installation: LED light, etched plexiglass, C-Type print, dimensions variable (each element 30 x 40 cm). Image courtesy Rokeby Gallery.

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 Chi Wo, 'Stop useless resistance', 2010, light installation: LED light, etched plexiglass, C-Type print, dimensions variable (each element 30 x 40 cm). Image courtesy Rokeby Gallery.

Leung Chi Wo, 'Only time can tell', 2010, light installation: LED light, etched plexiglass, C-Type print, dimensions variable (each element 30 x 40 cm). Image courtesy Rokeby Gallery.

Leung Chi Wo, 'Time is tight', 2010, light installation: LED light, etched plexiglas, C-Type print, dimensions variable (each element 30 x 40 cm). Image courtesy Rokeby Gallery.

Leung Chi Wo, 'Like we were in Europe, it was lovely', 2010, light installation: LED light, etched plexiglass, C-Type print, dimensions variable (each element 30 x 40 cm). Image courtesy Rokeby Gallery.

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.

Leung Chi Wo, 'Aston Webb's Prophecy', 2011, light box with etched plexiglass, framed in steel, 100 x 125.5 cm. Image courtesy Rokeby Gallery.

Leung Chi Wo, 'Untitled'', 2011, pencil on paper, 73.7 x 99 cm. Image courtesy Rokeby Gallery.

Leung Chi Wo, 'Enemy Bombing'', 2011, twelve marble sculptures, dimensions variable. Image courtesy Rokeby Gallery.

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).

 TC/KN/HH

Related Topics: Hong Kong artists, gallery shows, new media art, installation

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more on contemporary Hong Kong artists exhibiting abroad


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.