A collaborative project between the Window Project in Vancouver and the Contemporary Art Research Centre (CARC) in Hong Kong starting from 2009.
Curators: Dr. TANG Ying-chi, Stella, and Isabella TAM
"Victoria ! Victoria !" is the first of a series of collaborative projects between the CARC (Hong Kong) and the Window Project (Victoria, B.C., Canada), with the aim of facilitating a cultural dialogue between Hong Kong and the city of Victoria, B.C. This project looks at the intrinsic quality of art as the provider of innovative visions at a time when societies face the pressure of globalization, and dependence on one another seems inevitable. The mounting pressure and the instability brought by such changes are pressing us to readjust our position in the global cultural scene. This allows contemporary art to change its visual form into one with a wider perspective, facilitating more effective and efficient communications between different cultures, and here it means Hong Kong and Victoria , B.C. The exhibition series begins by looking at the Victorian colonial history that both cities share. This is epitomized in the works of LEE Mei-kuen, Carol, and CHIN, Poki . Their works show flashbacks of the past while evoking those lingering memories that are still influencing the contemporary social development. Works of TANG Ying-mui, Grace , and the art group ELE+EBE portray daily activities in Hong Kong , outlining an intimate cultural dialogue on social norms and consumerism. By introducing works of Hong Kong artists into Victoria , this exhibition series opens the door for an on-going dialogue between the two cities.
The exhibition series run from November 2009 till February 2010 at 1407, Government Street, Downtown Victoria, British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, opens 24 hours, 7 days a week.
CHIN, Poki graduated with a BA Fine Art from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2006. Chin creates works that records daily happenings around her. She participated in various group exhibitions including "Hello London" (2004), "Find_He_Arts" (2006), "Pastry" (2006) and "Alumni Art Exhibition of CUHK" (2007, 2008). Her solo exhibition, "Kidult", was held in 2006.
Artist Statement: As time passes by, history is being constructed. As a word, "history" may sound loaded with great emotional burden so one may feel "memory" as the word preferred. I have been chasing and tracing the past, history and memories through various media since the days back at the Chinese University of Hong Kong . In my artwork Victoria , I intend to connect two cities through Queen Victoria to allow audiences of both sides to share common memories that are left behind.
Work title: Victoria
Media: Pencil on cloth
Size: 140cm x 100cm
As the fourth part of this first collaborative series between CARC and Window Project, Poki Chin fulfills this particular chapter of the journey with her work Victoria . Reciprocating with the first part of the series, Queen Victoria (November 2009) by Carol Lee, Poki Chin's Victoria continues the momentum in searching for a cultural dialogue between the two uniquely different yet similar colonial states – Vancouver and Hong Kong. Chin depicts two anatomies of Queen Victoria and places them against each other; with the left one a direct referencing of Hong Kong, whilst the other of Vancouver . By juxtaposing the two anatomies, Chin draws viewers' attention to iconic local monuments that are arranged like a treasure-hunt map, and it is through such approach that Chin opens up the questions about memories and legacies that are left influencing both cities since the reign of Queen Victoria . In addition, Chin cleverly makes use of used fabrics as her canvas to enhance the historical and the contextual depth of the work. Images of Hong Kong and Canadian coins have been transferred to the bottom of the anatomies, and like two pendulums, viewers' hearts are swinging with them in-between the mood of "past" and "present", "memories", "loss" and "remains". The visual and cultural contexts once again connect both cities in the current globalised environment. The competency of Chin's Victoria in recapitulating the contexts addressed in earlier works of the series provokes viewers to contemplate the impact of modernisation on the loss and preservation of our collective culture and history.
ELE+EBE is an art group formed in London in 2003, and their works often challenge the new conventions of contemporary art. ELE+EBE members have a background in fine art and advertising. This is reflected in their artworks which are positioned particularly in the grey zone between art and other creative areas, aiming at initiating discussions on the relationship between the two. Using yellow as their signature colour, ELE+EBE also exploits various media as they believe that different medium can extract the most powerful emotion from the subject dissected
Artist Statement: In an attempt to address and challenge the unwritten rules and taboos in contemporary art, ELE+EBE directs people's attention to the issue of branding in art. By literally flaunting the dirty laundry in a display window of art, and using their signature yellow colour, they have "branded" a selected set of everyday objects commonly used in the globalised world.
Work title: Dirty Laundry
Media: Digital print, felt, mixed-media installation
Size: Variable Dimension
Curators' NoteDirty Laundry, ELE+EBE's new work, continues their attempt to interrogate "branding" or "branding of art" in the global contemporary art scene. The work is set against the backdrop of a common public housing estate where residents hang their clothes outside the balconies for air-drying. Like the symbol of a brand, this responds to the high density of a city with limited personal space. Combining the group's signature yellow colour and a selected set of branded globally used everyday objects, ELE+EBE sets the installation like a pun, revealing both the branding of modern cities and the inclination of contemporary art towards branding and consumerism.
TANG Ying-mui, Grace graduated with a BA degree in Fine Art from the Goldsmiths College in the University of London, later with a MSc from the University of Westminster, UK. Tang's works is an on-going examination of the tension of being and one's existence, especially in the face of external and internal barriers. Tang excels in the use of "non-advanced" technology. Through her works, viewers can see how unsophisticated skills and materials such as tapes, wire and textiles help in the deliberation of down-to-earth issues. Grace Tang is a founding member of Mere Independent Artists (MIA). She has been actively participating in a number of exhibitions such as "RUSH" (Hong Kong, 2009), "The Thirteen Stories of Portable Art" ( Shanghai , 2009) and the Departure Exhibition of Art Container Project (2008). She is also the recipient of the Arts Education Award of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council in 2008.
Artist Statement: When we make a journey, we'll need a map. We will study it in detail. Where shall we go? How to get there? When we are lost, how to find our bearings again? This is a map about the life of a family under the Victoria Peak of Hong Kong for 18th April 2009. This map can help us start a day's journey.
Work title: A map for a day — 18th April 2009
Media: Furry cloth, newspaper, medium gel on canvas
Size: 90 cm x 90 cm
A map for a day – On 18th April 2009 reveals a theft committed by a family of three one day in Hong Kong . To many of us, reports on such kind of offences can be found in the newspapers every day. Yet, to Grace Tang, the news marks the presence of this family in the city. Taking inspiration from the " Victoria ! Victoria!" exhibition series, Tang questions the presence of being in a busy metropolitan where "sediments" from the external flux quietly precipitate in our life, and how we are seen is being manipulated unconsciously. A map for a day follows Tang's Heart Studies (2009) and Gloves series (2009), using fluffy black materials to signify the footprints of one's life journey and weave with strips of newspaper report to map the journey of a day.
LEE Mei-kuen, Carol, graduated with an MFA from the RMIT University with an Outstanding Achievement Award in 2008. LEE holds core position in a number of art organizations in Hong Kong . She is a founding member of MIA (Mere Independent Artists), Vice-Convener of the Art Container Project and a founder of Too Art gallery. Her works have been widely showed in local and overseas museums and exhibitions, including those in Macao , Germany and Canada , and were selected for the Philippe Charriol Foundation Art Competition (2000), Hong Kong Art Biennial Exhibition (2001), and a competition of Macau Art Museum (2007). LEE's glass works were selected for the annual review of Corning Museum of Glass, New York for three years (2005, 2006 & 2009). Her works are collected by art foundations and private collectors.
Artist Statement: Both Hong Kong and the city of Victoria were once a British colony. As time passes, what they have left behind are only texts about the colonial history.
Work title: Queen Victoria
Media: Time and light on newsprint
Size: 53cm x 45cm
In the work Queen Victoria , LEE Mei-kuen, Carol continues her experiment of painting with sunlight. LEE is using newsprint by covering part of Queen Victoria 's image, which would then be placed under long time exposure of the sun. As a result, some shades of golden sienna were left on the newsprint, juxtaposing with the off-white area on the image of Queen Victoria . By playing with the transience of time, LEE adds an organic quality to her work. It reminds us of the cyclical nature of history and poetically tells the unique bondage between Hong Kong and Victoria B.C.