de Sarthe Gallery is proud to unveil its new gallery space in Wong Chuk Hang. Encompassing 10,000 square feet, and spread across the entire 20th floor in the Global Trade Square building, the expansion will be inaugurated by Reversal Ritual, a group exhibition of 5 emerging mainland Chinese and Hong Kong artists Liang Ban, Mak Ying Tung, Tong Kunniao, Wang Xin, and Xin Yunpeng. The exhibition runs from 23rd March to 13th May, 2017.
Reversal Ritual is a group exhibition organized by gallery directors Willem Molesworth and Vincent de Sarthe to inaugurate the new Hong Kong space. It includes work by Liang Ban, Mak Ying Tung, Tong Kunniao, Wang Xin and Xin Yunpeng. The show addresses the concept of “carnivalesque” developed by 20th century literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin as it pertains to artwork created by an emerging generation of young Chinese artists today. In reference to the comically festive events depicted by 16th century novelist François Rabelais, Bakhtin asserts that the carnival was an expression of an alternative world liberated from the social, political, cultural and religious structures of the time. His concept, often considered as a utopian antidote to repressive forms of power, serves as a celebration of the possibility for change, however transitory in nature. The exhibition aims to highlight how several young Chinese artists have begun to express themselves through similar means in reaction to the newly established order of Chinese society. The show features multiple site specific installations as well as participatory artwork.
In You Better Watch Out by Mak Ying Tung, the artist enclosed small sponge balls inside a large inflatable snow globe. The colorful balls are accompanied by small pieces of paper that are imprinted with QR Codes. The sponge balls and the paper pieces tumble and turn as a fan propels wind into the snow globe to keep the work inflated. Along with viewing the tornado-like spectacle, audiences can interact with the piece by scanning the QR codes on their phones. Once they’ve scanned the QR codes, a video pops up on their phone screens and individuals witness an inception at work. A hidden camera captures the audience’s actions and the video allows audiences to see themselves viewing the artwork. You Better Watch Out crafts an insightful comment on contemporary surveillance states and how colorful and playful tones can easily mask troubling realities.
Mak Ying Tung’s Sound of Music features an elaborate stage quilted with gold drapes and glittering red foam lettering. It is also paired with a dual channel video, audio set, and karaoke system that visitors can partake in. The karaoke videos shown are comprised of various classic pop songs with the artist’s original lyrics, such as “Not everyone can buy art/ Only small group of people can do it”. In the video “art art art”, the artist captures footage from renowned museums, and replaces a famed masterpiece with an image of her own work. Visitors can interact with the artwork by going on stage and singing real karaoke. Karaoke is usually regarded as lowbrow, whereas a work of art is essentially untouchable. Therein, this piece challenges the sacrosanct ideals of art.
When You Do It, Leave Some of the Pig Ass by Tong Kunniao is an interactive installation comprised of tambourines and pig tails made out of silicone. Tambourines and pigtails are assembled on a cutting board, and arranged in a surround-sound formation along the gallery walls. The piece also features a concealed sensor nearby. When viewers walk into the vicinity of the installation, the sensor picks up on the movement. Consequently, the pig tails start to rotate, and begin to hit their tambourines. Tong’s absurdist treatment of the tambourine and silicone pigtails echoes carnivalesque sentiments. The artist’s juxtaposition of a lighthearted instrument with a grotesque silicone pigtail illustrates a literal and allegorical confrontation of ideals.
Click here for more information on Liang Ban
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Click here for more information on Tong Kunniao
Click here for more information on Wang Xin
Click here for more information on Xin Yunpeng