25 July–10 September, 2014

After Time

Chung Seoyoung, Erica Lai, Morgan Wong

Hong Kong


“While spatial escape may be possible, temporal escape is not.” —Paul VirilioHong Kong—Pearl Lam Galleries is proud to present After Time, a group exhibition curated byDavid Ho Yeung Chan, featuring works by Chung Seoyoung (Seoul), Erica Lai (Singapore), andMorgan Wong (Hong Kong). In this fast-paced world, we are often slaves to time—trying tokeep up and in need of more, which can be a mind-numbing pursuit. But what if the constraint of time were no longer relevant? How would this alter our perception of an art object? This exhibition explores temporality in art by attempting to stage a temporal arrest with a series of art objects. A state of omnipresence will be simulated in the hope of provoking audiences to contemplate the link between materiality, time, and memory. Audiences are invited to negotiate between following their hearts and their minds when looking at artwork.

Chung’s sculptures, Lai’s photography, and Wong’s performance art all approach time and objecthood from a formal perspective. In his seminal essay “Art and Objecthood”, art historian Michael Fried defines objecthood as the supplementary conditions that entice the viewers to participate in a conscious situation in real time. As such, this show aims to create such an environment through three distinct spaces within the gallery: a theatrical space that questions our perception of time, a space for mapping the changes of a given place, and an artist studio. Chung Seoyoung’s sculpture, installation, and video works utilise manmade and found objects and relate them to the human body, questioning their effects on our psychology. The artist believes that sculpture is an intimate form of expression with its meaning in constant flux; viewers must confront the artwork’s objective nature as it unfolds. Chung’s works disturb the perceptual systems of representation by reinterpreting familiar objects and landscapes. Her large-scale sculpture East West North South amplifies the theatrical quality of the gallery space by demarcating a void territory for imposing spatial control using steel fences. Not corresponding to the exact orientation of the gallery, the artwork distorts our geographic bearings and holds our attention in a contained zone, which causes us to question our own relationship with time.

The flatness of Erica Lai’s photographic prints from The Gardens Series and The Observatory Series conveys the collapse of geographic distance and our subsequent loss of visual memory. She deconstructs the audience’s voyeuristic power with the photograph’s surface becoming a controlled ground for mediating our psychological conflict intrinsic with visual perception. In The Observatory Series, Lai photographs the vantage points of various tourist attractions around the world, focusing on the area where one would typically stand for a good view instead of the actual scenic view, to investigate the extent to which our identification with a place has been predetermined. By stepping back to document the very spot that makes a tourist attraction a spectacle in the first place, Lai subverts the objective of armchair tourism, as the landmarks may not be immediately recognisable in her photos. Focusing on durational performance, Morgan Wong’s collection of past and new works addresses human survival and time, particularly as a reaction against conforming to a social or political norm. He will transform the gallery space into a temporary artist studio, which he will occupy periodically, to examine what is lost during the translation between performance, time, and materiality. The artist’s 2013 video work Frustration of Having More than Two Choices to Make in Life documents his intensive meditative days of isolation, where all Wong did for two days was confine himself to an empty space with a steel bar and hand file with little activity. Initially intended as practice for a later public performance titled Filing Down A Steel Bar Until A Needle Is Made, a reference to a Chinese allegory revolving around one’s will and determination, the experience became a performance video in and of itself.


Selected works