Exhibition Reviews

A Room of Resistance – Yim Sui Fong

I really forgot how I come across these exhibitions in Hong Kong, but what moved me to find out what this exhibition is about was the question of one of Yim Sui Fong‘s works,

“How distinguished does an individual’s existence has to be before he merits a chronicle of his own? What if it’s merely that of a watchman, looking after something — a rickety hut on a slope, a nondescript warehouse by the sea — that has long been relegated to the margins of history?”

“人要如何偉大才應被記錄下來?如果他的工作只是看管或作一個見證?木屋和倉庫,有人為它記下歷史嗎?”

The exhibition starts with a carefully mounted individual bookshelf that holds the book “the man who attends to the times” for viewers to come in, take it out, and read it on the bench that was placed by the side.

It opens the dialogue of the exhibition on what it is meant by resistance – referring to a kind of tiny resistance, pinches of reverse action in everyday settings – whether these tiny resistance, these seems insignificant reverse actions or moments of uncertainties are worth documenting, and if so, what are they and what can they bring to us.

And then the walk takes one to see the work “Against Step” which is a collection of video recordings of passer-by’s unconscious little movements or mental states. The work is questioning whether active and continuous change of our body movement can avoid “gait identification” which aims to identify people and assign them a score for classifying them into categories. To add layers to this work, Yim also asked a dancer to continuously dance with only 1 instruction, which is to dance against her personal style and achieve the status of “no self”. The dance was filmed and projected on the large white panels against the wall.

Up until here, I get what she wanted to do. The exhibition was interesting and focused. And then, I feel it lost me with the other pieces. There was a piece of work called “Moments” which is hundreds of recorded conflicting moments within the 48 hours around the handover collaged into a one big lightbox panel, with lenticular printing. Quite literally, you can see how one moment moved to the next because of the lenticular printing technique, though I thought the link with the theme is too literal and loose. I wasn’t sure whether the focus of the exhibition wants to discuss more in the political direction, or in the psychology direction – which is what “The Hymn of Disquiet” wants to talk about, and in line with “Against Step”.

“The Hymn of Disquiet” is a visual result / recording of a workshop which invites the public to utilise restless emotions to obtain motivation for creation. The participants spent time in a remote place together and practiced various actions to encounter uncertainties. Personally I feel the content of this performative interaction is very rich, but was slightly disappointed with translated visual executions or works as the richness of the content was gone. And finally there was a sound installation piece which I felt was just something Yim wanted to experiment. It didn’t provide much depth to the exhibition of “resistance”.

Saying that, the most fruitful piece I got from this exhibition and the artist talk was the discussions with Floating Projects, an artist collective based in Hong Kong. The discussion revolves not only around the exhibition itself, but also the dynamics and how to work with curators.

Yim Sui Fong solo exhibition: A Room of Resistance

2019 28th Sept – 18th Oct
LO Gallery, JCCAC ; 11am-8pm

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