de Sarthe is pleased to present Hong Kong artist Eugene Lun (b. 1998)’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, The Forbidden Happiness, concluding de Sarthe’s sixth annual artist residency (deSAR). Featuring Augmented Reality (AR)-infused etching prints and paintings in an immersive setting, the artworks are developed during the two-month residency based on the artist’s renewed curiosity and exploration of human psychology on adhering to society’s values and rules. The exhibition illustrates various scenarios where the comedic sausage character [Cheong1] [Cheong4] has differing responses in everyday life circumstances while exploring boundaries and social conventions in modern society. The artist aims to provoke audiences to retrace their instinctive acts and reasoning behind their habitual actions when they encounter the aforesaid scenarios. The Forbidden Happiness opens on 10 September and runs until 30 September 2022.
Eugene Lun’s [Cheong1] [Cheong4] is a representation of everyone, even though it is a non-human or animal character. Similar to sausages, people are the products of today’s mechanical society, their lives are modulated in ways where values and knowledge are inculcated in, emotions and feelings all bottled up, near imploding - much like how meat is squeezed into the sausage casing. Everything spoon-fed and consistently instilled into people’s thoughts and consciousness, their creative and critical natures are otherwise suffocated, resulting in a mundane way of life amongst the population. [Cheong1] [Cheong4] is an actual rule-breaker living boldly its light-hearted carefree life without considering any social components, for constant solemnity does not address all the problems in an ever-changing life. Inspired by the masses, The Forbidden Happiness is the artist’s attempt to challenge the audience’s perception of danger and question their notion and reflexes that binds them to further actions. Through [Cheong1] [Cheong4]’s actions and behaviour, the artist fostered the idea of being your genuine self and embracing to behave unusually is what leads to this purportedly forbidden happiness.
In this new series, Eugene Lun portrayed [Cheong1] [Cheong4] taking certain situations up a notch and does something out of the blue, even bizarre and absurd to the spectators. Visitors may find themselves submerged in a children’s-like playful environment. Why Can’t I Have A Full Cup of Burger Sauce? (2022) depicts the main character sunbathing and chillaxing on the staircase outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Together with The Quickest Way Back Home (2022), both works demonstrated and visualised Eugene Lun’s wacky thoughts, while examining abnormality and oddity through [Cheong1] [Cheong4]’s excessive reactions to inertial situations. The interactive installation, Fun Inside (2022), offers a physical opportunity for the audience to look into a glimpse of [Cheong1] [Cheong4]’s life as a “rebel” or a weirdo in today’s hyperbaric and ossified society.
[Cheong1] [Cheong4], the sausage character, was inspired by the rumour of Eugene Lun’s favourite sausage brand’s bankruptcy back in 2018. Utilising his creativity to cherish his fond memories with the sausage and celebrate the resurrection of the sausages, Valley Chef Chicken Franks On Vacation (2018) marks the very first creation and appearance of [Cheong1] [Cheong4]. Apart from tangible artworks, the protagonist also shines in the virtual world through animations, so the audience can have a better grasp on the idea of “acting outside the box” and enjoy the outlawed happiness gained from going against social conformity and herd mentality, ultimately enabling themselves to express their emotions to the fullest extent.
About Eugene Lun
Eugene Lun was born in 1998 in Hong Kong, where he continues to live and work. He graduated from Hong Kong Baptist University with a B.A. in Visual Arts in 2021.
Eugene Lun’s most recent exhibitions include BOOKED:2021, Tai Kwun, Hong Kong, China (2021); HKFOREWORD 21, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery,Hong Kong, China (2021); Awagami International Miniature Print Exhibition, Awagami Factory, Japan (2021); and AVA Print Club, Hong Kong Baptist University Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong, China (2021).