高  倩  彤

underground construction: failed 
8/10/2015 - 26/11/2015 
Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong 

8/10/2015 - 26/11/2015 
馬凌畫廊, 香港


Beams of artificial fluorescent light, pixelated images of gray-scale sunrises, assembled screens of ad hoc roadside footage – these are but some of the elements in Ko Sin Tung’s visual dialogue with underground zones of construction; those hidden major developments that are hinted at above earth yet not revealed till upon completion.

For ‘underground construction: failed’ Ko Sin Tung develops from her consideration of domestic spaces to seemingly more public quarters – the future high-speed railway connecting Hong Kong to Mainland China near West Kowloon – and investigates, on a personal level, the reverberations of this concrete issue, dissecting its consequent yet currently secretive impact on social relations. At the entrance to the gallery the visitor encounters an archway; as if entering a domestic lair, the outline of an ordinary plastic carpet lies on the floor in front of the entrance – the remnant of the semi-circular shape of commonplace doormats. On the side wall hangs a small image of the Austin construction zone, covered in undulated shards of blue plastic – at once a hint of the exhibition beyond the gateway and a welcome sign, the curved shape echoing that of a rainbow and alluding to the hopes as well as aspirations of the infrastructural development.

Through the portal, one enters the exhibition space, lit solely by a series of fluorescent beams and the light emanating from a collection of stacked TV screens. As if entering the construction site itself, Ko Sin Tung creates an immersive environment for the examination of the very setting she is herself investigating. The visitor first encounters a sculptural installation displaying moving image sequences; a development on her previous piece ‘Steady ground’ (2014), presenting a set of screens that individually capture roadside footage, shot using an unstable handheld camera. Beyond these, one is lured to a series of gray scale images showing cropped photographs of indistinct sunrises. Aggrandised and pixelated, the counterintuitive scenes appear increasingly blurred upon approach and simulate zones of light at the end of a lengthy tunnel, finely computerised lines emanating from each corner narrowing on the circular spot.

Atypically stripped of colour, each anomalous sunrise is lit by various artificial fluorescent beams, the lighting of the underground coming into conflict with the specifically over-ground and supposedly dreamy settings. Passed this panoramic display, the visitor is faced with a film and setting that ties the lighting and context together. Projected onto the leftmost wall, two hands are shown holding a fluorescent beam – identical to the ones lighting the exhibition space – then letting them go, the immediate release solely being captured allowing your mind to compute the imminent fall; those that survived, now lighting the room.

It is thus revealed that these lights – their properties, continuance and use – are the defining elements of the exhibition and follow from Sin Tung’s previous investigation of light. Here, Sin Tung continues to consider its physical and psychological implications in an industrial setting. More crucially though, she uses light to build a parallel with the characteristics of construction: how a site, non-visible to passersby, provides promises and illusions, whilst at the same time being a very fragile concept, one that can shatter when reality becomes clear. This state of friability is echoed throughout the exhibition via Sin Tung’s systematic methods of destruction and examination, processes that aim to reveal how vulnerable an image/an object, and so an individual, is. Senses of personal dissatisfaction and frustration are ultimately echoed by the term "failed" in the exhibition title, a term that equally refers to the expectations that have failed to be fulfilled for a better society and living environment.



觀者穿越正門,置身於僅由螢光燈束以及一組電視機屏幕照亮的展覽空間。高倩彤在探討一個特定環境的同時,亦讓觀者身臨其境。首先呈現於眼前的是一個由舊作 “穩定的地面”(2014)演化而成的裝置作品,展出以不穩定的手提鏡頭所捕捉的街頭影像。觀者繼而為一系列經裁剪和放大的灰階圖像著迷:藝術家透過電腦滑鼠在圖像上以太陽為軸心,繪畫出幼細線條而成的交叉。仔細觀察之下,被刻意像素化的太陽更顯模糊,如在模擬著隧道盡頭的光芒。


如此一來,這些燈光的特質、連貫性和運用不僅貫切高倩彤以往對光的勘察,亦成了是次展覽的點睛之處。在此,她一如概往著眼於光在工業環境裡的實際及心理意蘊。更重要的是光與工程的特徵在藝術家安排下作出類比:對路人而言,不可見的工程區蘊釀著無限承諾以及幻想,同時亦代表了一個極為脆弱的概念,當現實清晰起來一切想像都會輕易瓦解。這種脆弱的狀態透過藝術家有系統的破壞和實驗在展覽中迴響,揭示由特定圖像或物件延伸至個體的薄弱。展覽標題中的“不合格” 正正呼應了個人的不滿和挫敗感,並暗指種種有負大眾對建構更好的社會環境的冀望。