beside painting 繪畫之外
Beside Painting was a research project that sought to identify Hong Kong artists who are expanding the medium of painting and consisted of a curated group exhibition, a public artists dialogue and a web-based archive. The exhibition brought together the works of Francis Yu, An Gee Chan, Winnie Pun and Lee Kit. These four artists were selected for their idiosyncratic approach to painting and while the work of each is very different, they are united in advancing new ways to think about the practice of painting.
Though heavily absorbed in traditions and histories of painting, Francis Yu has spent recent years working around its periphery, incorporating performance, found objects, photography, video and ceramics alongside more traditional means. Experimental modes of display are a preoccupation of the works in this exhibition. Diu jyu toi features a still photograph documenting the artist making a drawing of a disputed island in the bedroom of a cruise ship that is ‘played’ on twin TV screens alongside a video and the drawing itself. Representation, documentation and artefact are folded in on each other.
Winnie Pun is interested in the absurdly banal in the urban built environment and often incorporates found objects and constructed situations as a proxy for painting. Structure is an enlarged polystyrene, wood and light model that is more painting than sculpture despite it’s obvious three dimensionality. Its emphatic frontality is complicated by a painting and photograph that are attached, inviting the viewer into its space.
An Gee Chan’s oversized mono screenprints incorporate painterly gesture and spontaneity into the realm of printmaking. Their scale and the vast quantities of ink used necessarily involves an extremely physical approach and with the time-sensitivity of the process makes them almost performative in nature. Their intimacy despite their monumentality sits comfortably alongside her small inscribed vernacular ceramic ware, of which three urns were selected for this exhibition.
Lee Kit is well known for his groundbreaking series of cloth paintings that he began while still a student and has since incorporated subtly calibrated projected images, cardboard paintings and photography alongside everyday objects that all rely on a painterly sensibility. Here, a cardboard painting responds to disturbing recent events. A hand painted cloth painting is shown alongside a photograph of the painting being used as a tablecloth. A painting can be displayed on a wall in a gallery, it can also serve as a tablecloth in a domestic context, both situations being equal.
Beside Painting was interested in the work of artists that probe the edges of painterly practice and set out to understand their relationship to painting and how they negotiate these edges. One of the more interesting discoveries of the project was the proximity of each artists work to everyday life, which became more apparent through the dialogue between the works themselves and especially through the artists dialogue. Though largely uninterested in labels of post-medium condition or expanded practices, each artist has developed an intuitive approach to these issues that represents exciting developments in Hong Kong painting.