For those visiting during Art Basel in Hong Kong (29–31 March 2019), the smell of fresh paint may still be in the air at the latest heritage conservation project, The Mills, which opened on 16 March to encompass the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textiles (CHAT), joining the ranks with ex-prison complex Tai Kwun, along with Eaton HK—a retro...
Firenze Lai says that she knows her studio of a few hundred square feet intimately; from the textures of its surfaces to the way the breeze blows into the room. The spaces depicted in her paintings are equally intimate. When curators seem to be at a loss for words to discuss troubled times, fear of containment, and the feeling of being completely...
In Meiro Koizumi's three-channel video installation, The Angels of Testimony (2019), the central frame features an interview with Hajime Kondo about his time as a solider of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The conversation centres on war crimes perpetrated in China, including the beheading of Chinese prisoners for...
Eidolon in ancient Greek referred to a ghostly presence or phantasm, for which one needed to look with rigour and with care. A decent term for an artist then, and particularly apt for Anne Noble who has long worked with patient deliberation on subject matter ranging from the Whanganui River to Antarctica. She has most recently trained her formidable powers of observation upon the humble honey bee.
Eidolon II #3 and #6 are a visual requiem for the worker bee. Following the dark grounds of Noble’s Dead Bee Portraits, Eidolon II is the artist once again working white on white (recollecting the subtle tonal shifts of her Antarctic Whiteout series). She photographs casualties from her own hive, 3-D prints them in white resin, and re-photographs them before a white ground – utterly delicate in death.
The initial Eidolon series are quite different, made entirely in camera and printed big and in colour. Conceived in her Fulbright studio at Columbia University, New York in 2014/15, Noble placed plucked bees wings on the lit screen of her cellphone, stacked lenses on top, added side light and photographed looking down from above. The lenses blur edges which lend the photographs real movement and power. The camera focuses on the handsome veined wing struts and rainbows of light refracted through the wings themselves, each wing etched with a surface pattern almost its own. The images look beautiful but feel slightly haunting at the same time – testament to the poetry of the honeybee which faces a future of swirling difficulty.
The tintypes are the darkest presence in the show, which is a little ironic as Noble has obviously reveled in the rich materiality of this old photographic medium. Working the emulsion (almost floridly) onto aluminium sheet, and enjoying the directness of contact printing, A Bee Wing Morphology #6 and #7 combine the qualities of a naturalist’s slide collection with the photographer’s ability to conjure light out of darkness. They are terrific images. One-offs. And typically Noble, in their gentle insistence that art be informed by humanity and by inquisitive research – a pursuit of knowledge almost akin to science.
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