Art Central Visit 29/03/2018
Art Central 2018 – Video by Paul Peach 2018
The next art event was the Art Central 2018 event in Hong Kong. The first photography work I noticed was that of Michael Wolf (WOLF, 2018), titled Tokyo Compression, Edition of 9, Flowers. As I looked at this work, I was reminded of the steamy windows so familiar on hot, humid days in Hong Kong. I thought perhaps I could use the weather to my advantage at some stage with my photo shoots of barbershop as the streets often shine under the neon lights after a massive downfall of rain. I also noticed the use of space within the frame could be used to emphasise the feeling and mood of the image.
Erwin Olaf work was also on display; these images were taken in Shanghai 2017. These images remind me of the affluent mainland China people who often visit and live in Hong Kong. Although these two images represent the wealthy affluent image of Shanghai, looking further into his work the artist statement(Olaf, 2018) describes it as a sort of bridge between the two different worlds of poverty and hardship and the wealthy, this is true of Hong Kong also but in a different political world.
Perhaps my work is also a bridge or path from my 80s youth creative past as I pass through the journey into Hong Kong life. AT the same time exploring the identities of Hong Kong Barbers within the Kaleidoscope of neon lights and concrete towers. I also thought the use of the green theme worked well and brought a sense of calm to the work.
Zhang Xiaodong 4 year project which incorporates the lost and ancient Chinese technique of Dragon-Scale binding. (Xiaodong, 2018) was on display at Art Central 2018.
I was inspired by the attention to detail and the illustrations and artwork within the books and the fact it took four years to create this book design. I also appreciated the scale of the book, which made me think about my own choice of design. I am still torn between a large format book and a more portable book size.
This work was well received by the press and locally at the Art Central 2018 exhibition. Wing Shya describes his work (Syha, 2018)
“Wing Shya’s photographic ode to our desolate human condition that reads as a Technicolor love letter to the city that raised him: Hong Kong. The production from concept to the actual production took two years in the making and another two years to edit. Nine location where chosen from over 400 scouted locations, 32 models were selected from a cast of over 200 candidates, most of them not professionals but chosen for their unique features.”
A lot of work and resources were used to produce such a provocative and staged personal impression or a vision of a Hong Kong generation brought up with technology and mobile phones, the life through the eyes of Wing, using his skills in photography, film, graphic design and set making.
While I can say its an excellent production of work, I can’t help thinking is this view of Hong Kong a little dated nowadays, is the neon lights a little overcooked. When I look at these images, I think of a stereotyping of Asian culture to some degree. Of course, the city of Hong Kong still has lots of neon lights, but it seems to me becoming less of a feature or perhaps an outdated mode of impressionist work. The Blade Runner style is a little overused I think. Of course, this work will fetch a high price, but was self-funded by all accounts so is this a realistic way to make a living it’s hard to say really.
There are parallels with photography as a career; I always say if you can afford the most expensive cameras and equipment and models then probably you don’t need to make a living from photography unless you have it as part of an investment plan perhaps or you get the funding from photography organizations.
Olaf, E. (2018). Shanghai 2017. [online] Erwinolaf.com. Available at: https://www.erwinolaf.com/art/Shanghai_2017/artist_statement [Accessed 31 Mar. 2018].
Shya, W. (2018). Wing Shya ‘Sweet Sorrow’ @ Art Central. [online] Blue Lotus Gallery. Available at: https://www.bluelotus-gallery.com/new-events/wing-shya-sweet-sorrow-xdllm [Accessed 31 Mar. 2018].
WOLF, M. (2018). MICHAEL WOLF PHOTOGRAPHY. [online] Photomichaelwolf.com. Available at: http://photomichaelwolf.com/#tokyo-compression/35 [Accessed 31 Mar. 2018].
Xiaodong, Z. (2018). Dream of The Red Chamber – Art Central Hong Kong. [online] Art Central Hong Kong. Available at: http://artcentralhongkong.com/2018-program/dream-of-the-red-chamber/ [Accessed 31 Mar. 2018].