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