Art What! Arts Hong Kong Museums National Gallery Preview

Art What!: My Body Holds Its Shape at Tai Kwun Contemporary

Screenshot 2020-05-25 at 5.47.20 PM

HONG KONG – Tai Kwun Contemporary has opened its new exhibition My Body Holds Its Shape, with newly commissioned works from five artists: Tap Chan, Thea Djordjadze, Jason Dodge, Eisa Jocson and Pratchaya Phinthong. The exhibition examines how existing limits and constraints can emerge as artistic materials and clues for associations, with processes that embrace poetics and improvisations.

Eisa Jocson’s Zoo (2020). Durational performance. Commissioned by Tai Kwun Contemporary.

Curated by Xue Tan, the exhibition is set in the historic F Hall — a former printing facility and women’s prison — and takes the metaphorical shape of a body as it becomes live from the first hour with Eisa Jocson’s work-in-progress performance Zoo, exploring the emotional influx that comes with the displacement of the living. Sculptures, photographs and narratives cohabit the space with songs, moving bodies and an escape route. The exhibition is carefully conceived as an experience akin to a walk through lines of limits, divisions and connections — unveiling ways to tie our worlds together.

Thea Djordjadze’s .pullherawaypull. (2020). Steel Fire-tempered glass, 6000 × 2400 × 121 cm.

Curator Xue Tan comments: “This exhibition experiments with concepts of ‘sculpture’; the artworks are ways of exploring our multifaceted facts and ecologies, spanning lived-through stories and realised imaginations. At this very unusual time, we are struck by this sudden shift in our lives, and the global experience of self-isolation and loneliness. I hope this exhibition on limitation and distance would bring some reflection on sustainability, our connection to nature, and empathy for those who are distant and confined.”

Tap Chan’s Speed of Night (2020). Jesmonite, paint, and motors, dimensions variable. Commissioned by Tai Kwun Contemporary.

Besides Eisa Jocson, the other artists featured include Hong Kong artist Tap Chan, whose site-specific kinetic installation Speed of Night explores the idea of liminality embedded in daily life. Berlin-based Georgian artist Thea Djordjadze presents .pullherawaypull. and Needle, modifying the “white cube” of the exhibition space and opening it up to a new view. Berlin-based American conceptual artist Jason Dodge presents Above the weather, measuring the distance from Earth to the weather through weavers’ palms, and When darkness falls…, which literally disables a family villa in a forest in Hong Kong from being visible at night. Finally, Thai artist Pratchaya Phinthong addresses the confrontation between social, economic and geographical systems with new sculptures transformed from war-time bombshell materials in polluted farmlands in Laos.

Jason Dodge. In Hong Kong, St. James Creation produced several weavings, the combined length of the yarn that was woven, equals the distance from the earth to above the weather. The weavers were: Au Ching Ki Tina, Chan Chor Tung Francesca, Lai Kin Sang, Lam Yuk Ying, Leung Ming Hong, Ng Kwok Fai, Ng Sze Ki, Poon Ka Yan Fiona, Tang Kar Po, To See Wai, Wong Wai Han, Wong Wai Ngun, Yip King Ting Kinki. Commissioned by Tai Kwun Contemporary.

Tobias Berger, Head of Art at Tai Kwun, says: “From the beginning, we at Tai Kwun Contemporary have produced conceptually oriented exhibitions with some of the most formidable contemporary artists of today. This exhibition, curated by Xue Tan, also takes as its starting point the site and history of Tai Kwun, using the notion of confinement and limits to reflect on the relation between the former space of imprisonment and the contemporary ‘white cube’ as a catalyst for imagination. Producing 9 new works especially for this exhibition, this is another example of how the very best of contemporary art can intelligently and inventively reflect on the rich history of Victoria Prison.”

Pratchaya Phinthong’s Social Sculpture Project 05 (2017). Set of two colour polaroids 33.5 × 57.5 × 2.4 cm. Courtesy of the artist and gb agency, Paris.

My Body Holds Its Shape runs from 25th May through September 2020 at the art galleries in Tai Kwun (F Hall; entry through JC Contemporary). For more information, visit their website here

To battle the Covid-19 pandemic, people are staying home to avoid social distancing. Tai Kwun Contemporary is presenting “VR 360° Virtual Gallery” for the two exhibitions They Do Not Understand Each Other and My Body Holds Its Shape. See the virtual exhibition here




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