Last Friday, the Hausie team was delighted to attend a press luncheon organised by non-profit artist and cultural initiative: Spring Workshop. The event celebrated the return of established Hong Kong artist; Wong Wai Yin, who had taken a 5 year hiatus. The solo show “marks a change in direction” (Spring, 2016) to Wong’s practice. Fear has been central to Wong’s work in the past, and having experienced motherhood, new layers to the artists’ character and thought process was explored in her exhibition at Spring, titled “Without Trying”.
Spring Workshop Entrance | Photography by Hausie
Upon entering the exhibition, you encounter a wide space featuring several works. The most striking perhaps is an acrylic bolt of lightning, glaringly orange, protruding from the gallery ceiling. Aptly titled, “Don’t resist the lightning”, this installation’s length measures perfectly to the top of Wong’s height. To the artist, this imagery alludes to the anxiety disorder to which she had to overcome following the birth of her son.
Wish you were eternal, the most expansive of works in the exhibition, mimics the positioning of the Giza Pyramids in Eygpt. Addressing another state of mentality, Wong stores destroyed previous artworks within the pyramids to represent her transformation as an artist, and potentially the elements within herself to which the artist refuses to part with.
Don’t resist the lightning |Wish you were eternal | Wong Wai Yin| Photography courtesy of Spring Workshop
Arguably the most thought provoking of the pieces presented (at least to the Hausie team), was Everyone’s sick. The digital installation features three friends of Wong, who are also established Hong Kong artists. Recently completing a Spiritual Response Therapy course, Wong utilised her skills to help the three friends to relieve their concerns. The artists carry similar sentiments of feeling a lull within their practices, but within that lies other subconscious obstacles to which Wong deconstructs. The videos are brutally honest, sometimes sad, sometimes cynical. The viewer gains a glimpse into the interviewee’s psyche on a personal level, despite the sound and visual censoring.
Wong Wai Yin, and Everyone’s Sick | Photography by Hausie
The Hausie team had a pleasant exchange with Wong Wai Ying and discovered the contrastingly bright personality behind the pensive work. Speaking about the making of Everyone’s Sick, the artist said upon completing the SRT course, her first thought was to find some friends to “play with”.
“We’re all very close and good friends [the subjects], that’s why they could be so honest, and the outcome turned out well. But before doing it I was a bit worried, incase they joked to protect themselves but they didn’t.”
Everyone’s Sick | Photography by Hausie
Other works which acquired the Hausie team’s attention was Clearing ten thorns – a video installation showing Wong stomping on food representing the societal issues that plagued her mind when she was younger. “Being dead will be our only shared identity” is another thought provoking piece, that some viewers may potentially miss. Two photos are juxtaposed within a Lightbox show the similarities between Wong and her son to a mother and child from WW2.
Clearing Ten Thorns | Photography courtesy of Spring Workshop
The placement of the photographs in Being dead -“ aims to show similarities of motherhood across generations. With comedic airs, Wong expressed how she discovered there was the presumption she would not continue her career due to motherhood – “When we joke about it, it sounds so ridiculous (that these presumptions exist) but reality is ridiculous.” The artist went on to explain despite wanting to subvert the stereotypes of the working mother, reality still stands and there are a shift in priorities to which she must abide by.
Being dead will be our only shared identity | Photography by Hausie
Being dead will be our only shared identity | Photography courtesy of Spring Workshop
Finally, Opening all the world’s doors is worth marvelling not only for it’s symbolic value, but also the sheer effort Wong placed in sourcing 8,000 keys, some vintage, that date back to the 1800s.
Opening all the world’s doors | Photography courtesy of Spring Workshop
With special thanks to Wong Wai Yin (Doris) for her artistic insight and personal comments. Many thanks to Jessica Kong and the Spring Workshop team for their hospitality.
Written by Sonia Wan
Visit “Without Trying” by Wong Wai Yin at Spring Workshop, August 20th – October 16th 2016.
3/F, Remex Centre (enter on Heung Yip Road), 42 Wong Chuk Hang Rd, Aberdeen