Hong Kong Photographer Series #1
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The Hong Kong coastline has never stopped changing since the early 20th century. Reclaimed land has increased rapidly and we have nearly lost track of the original coastline. Quite some time ago, people could take a fifteen to twenty minutes ride on the cross-harbor ferry while enjoying the breeze. Now people are joking that they could physically jump from Hong Kong island to the Kowloon peninsula.
Vincent Yu’s work caught my attention more than fifteen years ago with his humorous, sarcastic way of photographing high society ladies attending social functions. This time, he shows documentation, made over a seven year period, of the endless land reclamation which has caused Hong Kong’s original, beautiful coastline to disappear. As he has said: “I am interested in recording vanishing scenes. With scraps of images, I hope to assemble the remaining values of a city”.
Lam Wai-kit is one of the most hard-working artists I have encountered. As a practicing artist, she has worked in photography, video art and sound for more than ten years, and has traveled extensively as an international artist in residence. In the series of works presented here, called “Pause”, she is representing both the physical and mental spaces that surround her, in Hong Kong and perhaps in other countries. Lam considers physical space limited, while mental space, in her view, has no boundaries.
South Ho is the youngest of the three photographers I am presenting here in this mini-exhibition. He was trained as a social worker, but later found photography to be more interesting. His work “Into Light, 2008” came to my attention at the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial 2009 exhibition. Ho writes of this work: “To live is to wander between light and darkness. In this endless process of passage, what can we see?”. He also refers to the introduction to a Tibetan painting exhibition, the gist of which is: “it is better to make viewers feel happiness than to astonish or shock, it is much better to make them think rather than merely feel happiness.” These few sentences have greatly influenced the works he presents here, from the "Pantheon of Shanghai” series. For this series, he attempted unconventional ways to capture conventional settings. Buildings are seen through a vignette without clear borders.
I am very happy to present these three artists, of varied ages and experiences, all of whom share the goal of making the photography scene glow again in Hong Kong after many years of quietness.
Vincent Yu is an award-winning photo-journalist who has worked with the Associated Press in Hong Kong for over 16 years. His personal projects include in depth documentation of life in a Hong Kong public housing estate, and of the transition in Hong Kong from British to Chinese rule.
Lam Wai-kit is an artist based in Hong Kong who works in photography, video and sound. Her work was selected for the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial Awards in 1998 and 2009, and in the The 8th Hong Kong Independent Short Film and Video Awards (IFVA)’ in 2003. It is in the collection of the Hong Kong Heritage Museum.
South Ho is a Hong Kong based photographer, whose project “Into Light” won a Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial Award in 2009. His work is in the collections of the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Japan.
Wong Wo-bik is a photographer, researcher and arts administrator based in Hong Kong. She has curated exhibitions for the Hong Kong Arts Centre and the University Museum at Hong Kong University. Her work has been shown in Hong Kong, Beijing, Guangzhou and Lianzhou, and is in the collections of the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and the Modern Conflict Archive in London.