Tina Keng Gallery is pleased to present Ying Hung's latest solo exhibition, Mind and Matter: Derivation, on April 13, 2019. The title of the show is a reference to Liu Xie's The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons, a 5th-century Chinese text in which the author explores chapters of aesthetic creation, describing human interactions and the resonance of emotions and thoughts when artists are drawn to certain issues and occurrences. Mind and Matter responds to its own creative state and spiritual realm. The exhibition is centred on the human landscape, which includes all natural elements (both visible and invisible), the development of human civilisation, and the relationships which arise between the two. Elements of nature—such as mountains, seas, winds, and clouds—that recur in Hung's works do not only allude to strength, transcendence, and eternality, but also provide reflections on the imbalances between nature and civilisation.
Hung uses techniques of repetition, juxtaposition, and re-contextualisation to invoke the everchanging nature of the world. She employs the comic pictorial language of manipulating proportions in order to create a surreal visual experience. For instance, she depicts a cluster of mountains—traditionally a symbol of strength, permanence, and grandeur—diminished to fit in the palm of a human hand, thus satirising the unequal relationship between humans and the natural world. A similar play on proportion can be seen in another work, in which the artist has illustrated a gigantic fly perched atop a tightly clenched fist, posed as if it were a bird preparing to take flight. Here, Hung further evokes the surreal as she compels the viewer to imagine a world where a creature that is regarded as a pest is instead nurtured as a pet. Additionally, she often anthropomorphises inanimate entities in her paintings; a wave and its shadow exude a corporeal energy as they rise up out of the darkness. In several of her paintings, large masses of clouds embody an almost human presence as they interact with the landscapes and other people. While the artist typically plays with the human/non-human binary in a nuanced manner, she occasionally uses the gridlines of a mesh screen to create visible boundaries within the pictorial space and to reflect upon hidden boundaries in the real world.
The works on view in this exhibition are diverse in form. For the first time, Hung's sculptures will be exhibited alongside her paintings and drawings. Each sculpture is composed of multiple components, and what might otherwise be seen as a simple portrait or still life is transformed into a contemplative object that is rich with interpretive possibilities. Mind and Matter also contains over 50 sketches that the artist has accumulated over several years, forming a rich database of original drawings and inspirational objects. She finds inspiration in cultural histories and memories, as well as from the current news topics discussed in the media and her community. By integrating several disparate mediums into one exhibition, Hung locates her works within a new narrative distinct from the singular artwork. In this sense, her works can be viewed as a series of puzzles which are presented for the viewer to contemplate and from which the viewer may derive their own meanings and associations.
The artist's fascination with ambiguity, absurdity, and contradiction forms the essence of her artistic philosophy. These elements drive tension and trigger the extraordinary spiritual power of her work. Through her use of humor and satire as strategies to confront sociopolitical issues, the artist seeks to evoke a complex sensory experience which she describes as 'threatening but witty, beautiful but chaotic, vulgar but mysterious.'
Press release courtesy Tina Keng Gallery.