For the 2021 edition of Liste, TKG+ is pleased to present a special project by Hong Kong artist Kong Chun Hei. Born in 1987 in Hong Kong, Kong graduated from the fine arts department at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2009. He currently lives and works in Hong Kong. Conceptualism predominantly shapes Kong's artistic vocabulary, while his practice stretches intuitively across drawing, video, animation, and installation. Kong investigates the structures and operations of seemingly ordinary phenomena, and considers the possible interferences that could be made from/within them.
The grand flurry of online exhibitions serves as a collective antidote of the art world in the face of an incurable pandemic. The works of Kong Chun Hei go above and beyond the surface of this phenomenon to unravel the truth that this seemingly clever and convenient mode of exhibition is materialised at the expense of personal freedom. Ambiguity and intimacy which used to reside in physicality and psychological transference, enabled by the chemistry of encounter between the artworks and the viewer, are now reduced to a flat and suffocating on-screen presentation. The seemingly trans-locational digital imageries strive to contain any excess of sensory responses to lock in imagination. The reflective light of the constantly flashing screen makes every work glow, regardless of their inherent merit and quality. Herded and retarded, our gaze is enclosed by the constructed virtual space, bowing to the digital logic. All becomes involuntary.
Kong asks: Given the artwork can no longer enjoy the luxury of a chance encounter, with what tone and manner should an artwork now bear? Specifically, when it comes to such a forced online presentational model that violently pushes content to a viewer that never leaves the comfort of their house?
Subdivision plays on the display boundary of digital screens to unveil a process of construction. Kong moves the clay-made bricks to and fro until a low walling can fill the screen, eliciting a visual curiosity of wanting to peek behind the wall. But this interest to see through the walling proves to be futile as vision is ultimately blocked and confined by the online display and its digital viewing environment. Kong's approach speaks to an ever-present eagerness to break through the common dilemma by seeking solutions after paring down the context of the problems at hand.
With Highly Transparent, Kong contour-traces the shadow of transparent objects in black ink to highlight the permeability of presence. The work is in contrast with Peeling, where the use of transparent tape points to a see-through context and a voyeuristic impulse. As one sits through the repeated action of peeling off the tapes, the viewer is forced to confront a blank screen and ultimately discover a void of nothingness under the layers.
A hospital screen made of bright triangle party flags, Warm Intervention implies light at the end of the tunnel, while strong will is invoked to shroud anxiety in tumultuous times, and everything comes to a haunting standstill in a state of isolation.
Turn into its own loop fabricates a dynamic labyrinth of traces, doodles, and sketches. The pen lines seek to crystallize new relationships between the interconnected components, yet pinning the gaze back into a self-repeating loop. This visual experience serves as a metaphor of the digital age, where Kong raises the question: How should we view the digital shift? Is it a solution and the brainchild of our collective wisdom? Or rather a repeat of an age-old dilemma that we've never really escaped from?